Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Sea-Weeds
By Annie Chambers Ketchum (1824–1904)
 
[Born in Scott Co., Ky., 1824. Died, 1904. Lotos-Flowers. 1877.]

FRIEND of the thoughtful mind and gentle heart,
      Beneath the citron-tree—
Deep calling to my soul’s profounder deep—
      I hear the Mexique Sea.
 
White through the night rides in the spectral surf        5
      Along the spectral sands,
And all the air vibrates, as if from harps
      Touched by phantasmal hands.
 
Bright in the moon the red pomegranate-flowers
      Lean to the yucca’s bells,        10
While with her chrism of dew sad Midnight fills
      The milk-white asphodels.
 
Watching all night—as I have done before—
      I count the stars that set,
Each writing on my soul some memory deep        15
      Of pleasure or regret;
 
Till, wild with heartbreak, toward the east I turn,
      Waiting for dawn of day;
And chanting sea, and asphodel, and star,
      Are faded, all away.        20
 
Only within my trembling, trembling hands—
      Brought unto me by thee—
I clasp these beautiful and fragile things,
      Bright sea-weeds from the sea.
 
Fair bloom the flowers beneath these northern skies,        25
      Pure shine the stars by night,
And grandly sing the grand Atlantic waves
      In thunder-throated might;
 
Yet, as the sea-shell in her chambers keeps
      The murmur of the sea,        30
So the deep echoing memories of my home
      Will not depart from me.
 
Prone on the page they lie, these gentle things,
      As I have seen them cast
Like a drowned woman’s hair along the sands        35
      When storms were overpast;
 
Prone, like mine own affections, cast ashore
      In battle’s storm and blight.
Would they could die, like sea-weed! Bear with me,
      But I must weep to-night.        40
 
 
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