Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
A Dream of the Ocean
By Charles J. Locke
A MERMAID 1 uprose in a golden dream,
    And cried, “come, follow me”—
We glided away, on a swift moon-beam
    To the brighest cave of the sea.
’T was the festal hall of the waves, and there        5
    Bright gems were cluster’d round;
And glowing shells in the liquid air
    Made melody of sound.
I danced with the spirits o’er diamond sands
    And quaff’d of happiness;        10
And wore a robe which their fairy hands
    Had twined of light and bliss.
I linger’d in ecstacy ’mid the grove
    Of corals glancing bright,
And heard the pure song of the Mermaid’s love        15
    For a star in fields of light.
The water-sprites gather’d around to hear
    The song that seem’d to wail
With the harmony soft, of the shell-tones clear,
    And the surface-sighing gale.        20
“Oh! come” sung the mermaid, “thou beauteous star,
    Come o’er the distant sea;
The bright moon has vanish’d and sail’d afar,
    And thou may’st come to me.
Oh! I have watch’d on the cold, cold rock,        25
    And rode the ocean foam,
And laugh’d at the lightning and thunder-shock
    As they crush’d my sparry home;
And have wish’d I could catch on the lightning-lance
    And guide it back to thee,        30
For the moon-beam wearies and falls askance
    Far e’er it gains thy sea.
I built me a grotto of tinted shells
    All glean’d from ocean’s shores,
And sat there uttering fondest spells        35
    ’Mid howling tempest’s roars;
And I hoped thou would’st come—but I hope not now
    For coldly thou didst smile,
And I gather’d some nightshade to bind my brow,
    And my heart was sad the while.        40
Yet I love, pretty star, on the rock to sing
    And twine in wreaths thy gleam”—
The moon sank down, the dark spread his wing,
    And I woke from this lovely dream.
Note 1. Locke, of Boston, is formerly editor of the Boston Spectator. [back]

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