Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > America
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
America: Vols. XXV–XXIX.  1876–79.
New England: Mattapoisett, Mass.
A Seaside Idyl
Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902)

I WANDERED to the shore, nor knew I then
What my desire,—whether for wild lament,
Or sweet regret, to fill the idle pause
Of twilight, melancholy in my house,
And watch the flowing tide, the passing sails;        5
Or to implore the air and sea and sky
For that eternal passion in their power
Which souls like mine who ponder on their fate
May feel, and be as they,—gods to themselves.
Thither I went, whatever was my mood.        10
The sands, the rocks, the beds of sedge, and waves.
Impelled to leave soft foam, compelled away,—
I saw alone. Between the east and west,
Along the beach no creature moved besides.
High on the eastern point a lighthouse shone;        15
Steered by its lamp a ship stood out to sea,
And vanished from its rays towards the deep,
While in the west, above a wooded isle,
An island-cloud hung in the emerald sky,
Hiding pale Venus in its sombre shade.        20
I wandered up and down the sands, I loitered
Among the rocks, and trampled through the sedge;
But I grew weary of the stocks and stones.
“I will go hence,” I thought; “the Elements
Have lost their charm; my soul is dead to-night.        25
O passive, creeping Sea, and stagnant Air,
Farewell! dull sands, and rocks, and sedge, farewell.”
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