Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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
By James Phinney Baxter (1831–1921)
[Born in Gorham, Me., 1831. Died in Portland, Me., 1921. Idyls of the Year. 1884.]

I STAND at sunset watching
  The ebbing of the sea,
Hooded in sorrow, telling
  The beads of memory.
White wings in the distance flutter        5
  And disappear from sight;
A wreck’s lank ribs, like spectres,
  On the beach stand stark and white.
They move! Nay, ’tis the seaweed
  Just stirred by the evening wind,        10
With which each slimy timber
  Is loathsomely entwined.
Ah, where are the shapes of beauty
  That once entranced my soul,
That sped with favoring breezes        15
  Toward their promised goal?
I strain my vision seaward—
  I see but a misty plain;
And into the heavens above me
  I peer, but all in vain.        20
I stretch my arms in silence—
  I clasp but senseless air;
I shout and get no answer,
  Though I die in my despair.
I list the soft, sweet rustle        25
  Of their silken sails to hear;
They are somewhere, surely somewhere,
  In this universal sphere.
But never a sound comes to me,
  But the moan of the sea on the shore;        30
I have learned its utterance plainly,
  “No more—no more—no more.”
Ah, where are the shapes of beauty
  Which once entranced my soul,
Which sped with favoring breezes        35
  Toward their promised goal?
Shattered on reefs of coral,—
  Ah, treacherous reefs, so fair!—
Scattered on lonely beaches,
  And ledges sharp and bare;        40
Foundered in wastes unsounded,
  Burnt on some unknown sea,—
They are gone with all their treasures,
  Forever lost to me.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.