Invocation To The Echo Of A Sea-Shell

Rating: 2.7

Murmurings from within
Were heard, sonorous cadences, whereby
To his belief the monitor expressed
Mysterious union with its native sea. ~ WORDSWORTH.


Voice of the deep, illimitable sea,
Discarded offspring of the wind and wave!
That, like a captive struggling to be free,
Thus ever moan'st in thy mysterious cave,—
Art thou a syren, by some sea-god's spell,
Prisoned in this smooth shell?
Or, but a spirit of the vasty deep,
Called up to earth by some enchanter's wand?—
Whose was the charm that broke thy long, cold sleep,
And sent thee, murmuring, from thy parent sand?
How wert thou ushered to the realms of day,
Syren or spirit, say?
Yet more,—I would know more! I burn to pierce
The hidden secrets of thine ocean home;—
Where are the victims of its surges fierce,
Who dreamed of calms, to wake amid their foam;
The souls that perished 'neath the stormy wave,
When none were nigh to save?
Where are the stately ship and gallant crew,
Whose hapless fate is sealed to all beside;
The warrior bold a fear that never knew;
The gentler hearts that death could not divide?
Where are the lost and loved so many seek?
Speak, I conjure thee, speak!
How dost thou answer? With a low, sweet dirge,
Sad as the booming of the sullen main,
The far-off warnings of the restless surge,
When storms are growing into strength again!
Perchance a requiem for the glorious dead,
Youth, beauty, valour, fled.
Whate'er thy source and purpose, I rejoice
To list thy mystic murmurings, soft and clear:
To me thou seemest like a still, small voice,
By Conscience whispered in my world-vexed ear,
To lead my soul from groveling things of earth,
To hopes of loftier birth!

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