Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
At Sea
By John Townsend Trowbridge (1827–1916)
 
THE NIGHT is made for cooling shade,
  For silence, and for sleep;
And when I was a child, I laid
My hands upon my breast, and prayed,
  And sank to slumbers deep:        5
Childlike as then I lie to-night,
And watch my lonely cabin-light.
 
Each movement of the swaying lamp
  Shows how the vessel reels:
As o’er her deck the billows tramp,        10
And all her timbers strain and cramp
  With every shock she feels.
It starts and shudders, while it burns,
And in its hingèd socket turns.
 
Now swinging slow and slanting low,        15
  It almost level lies;
And yet I know, while to and fro
I watch the seeming pendule go
  With restless fall and rise,
The steady shaft is still upright,        20
Poising its little globe of light.
 
O hand of God! O lamp of peace!
  O promise of my soul!
Though weak, and tossed, and ill at ease,
Amid the roar of smiting seas,        25
  The ship’s convulsive roll,
I own with love and tender awe
Yon perfect type of faith and law.
 
A heavenly trust my spirit calms,
  My soul is filled with light:        30
The Ocean sings his solemn psalms,
The wild winds chant: I cross my palms,
  Happy as if to-night
Under the cottage roof again
I heard the soothing summer rain.        35
 
 
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