Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
VII. The Sea
Address to the Ocean
Bryan Waller Procter (Barry Cornwall) (1787–1874)
O THOU vast Ocean! ever-sounding Sea!
Thou symbol of a drear immensity!
Thou thing that windest round the solid world
Like a huge animal, which, downward hurled
From the black clouds, lies weltering and alone,        5
Lashing and writhing till its strength be gone!
Thy voice is like the thunder, and thy sleep
Is as a giant’s slumber, loud and deep.
Thou speakest in the east and in the west
At once, and on thy heavily laden breast        10
Fleets come and go, and shapes that have no life
Or motion, yet are moved and meet in strife.
The earth has naught of this: no chance or change
Ruffles its surface, and no spirits dare
Give answer to the tempest-wakened air;        15
But o’er its wastes the weakly tenants range
At will, and wound its bosom as they go:
Ever the same, it hath no ebb, no flow:
But in their stated rounds the seasons come,
And pass like visions to their wonted home;        20
And come again, and vanish; the young Spring
Looks ever bright with leaves and blossoming;
And Winter always winds his sullen horn,
When the wild Autumn, with a look forlorn,
Dies in his stormy manhood; and the skies        25
Weep, and flowers sicken, when the summer flies.
O, wonderful thou art, great element,
And fearful in thy spleeny humors bent,
And lovely in repose! thy summer form
Is beautiful, and when thy silver waves        30
Make music in earth’s dark and winding caves,
I love to wander on thy pebbled beach,
Marking the sunlight at the evening hour,
And hearken to the thoughts thy waters teach,—
Eternity—Eternity—and Power.        35

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