To A Sea-Gull - Poem by Gerald Griffin
White bird of the tempest! O beautiful thing,
With the bosom of snow, and the motionless wing,
Now sweeping the billow, now floating on high,
Now bathing thy plumes in the light of the sky;
Now posing o'er ocean thy delicate form,
Now breasting the surge with thy bosom so warm;
Now darting aloft, with a heavenly scorn,
Now shooting along like a ray of the morn;
Now lost in the folds of the cloud-curtain'd dome,
Now floating abroad like a flake of the foam;
Now silently poised o'er the war of the main,
Like the spirit of Charity brooding o'er pain;
Now gilding with pinion all silently furl'd,
Like an angel descending to comfort the world!
Thou seem'st to my spirit, as upward I gaze,
And see thee, now cloth'd in mellowest rays,
Now lost in the storm-driven vapours, that fly
Like hosts that are routed across the broad sky,
Like a pure spirit, true to its virtue and faith,
'Mid the tempests of nature, of passion, and death!
Rise! beautiful emblem of purity, rise!
On the sweet winds of heaven, to thine own brilliant skies;
Still higher! still higher! till lost to our sight,
Thou hidest thy wings in a mantle of light;
And I think how a pure spirit gazing on thee,
Must long for that moment - the joyous and free,
When the soul disembodied from nature, shall spring
Unfettered, at once to her Maker and King;
When the bright day of service and suffering past,
Shapes, fairer than thine, shall shine round her at last,
While, the standard of battle triumphantly furl'd,
She smiles like a victor, serene on the world!
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