Poems (Botta)/A Thought by the Sea-Shore

For works with similar titles, see A Thought by the Sea-Shore.


“Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.”

    Bury me by the sea,
When on my heart the hand of Death is press’d.
If the soul lingers ere she join the bless’d,
    And haunts awhile her clay,
Then ’mid the forest shades I would not lie,
For the green leaves, like me, would droop and die.

    Nor ’mid the homes of men,
The haunts of busy life, would I be laid:
There ever was I lone, and my vexed shade
    Would sleep unquiet then:
The surging tide of life might overwhelm
The shadowy boundaries of the silent realm.

    No sculptured marble pile,
To bear my name, be reared upon my breast,—
Beneath its weight my free soul would not rest:
    But let the blue sky smile,
The changeless stars look lovingly on me,
And let me sleep beside this sounding sea—

    This ever-beating heart
Of the great Universe; here would the soul
Plume her soiled pinions for the final goal,
    Ere she should thence depart,—
Here would she fit her for the high abode,—
Here, by the sea, she would be nearer God.

    I feel His presence now,
Thou mightiest of his vassals, as I stand
And watch beside thee on the sparkling sand,
    Thy crested billows bow;
And, as thy solemn chant swells through the air,
My spirit, awed, joins in thy ceaseless prayer.

    Life’s fitful fever o’er,
Here then would I repose, majestic sea;
E’en now faint glimpses of eternity
    Come o’er me on thy shore:
My thoughts from thee to highest themes are given,
As thy deep distant blue is lost in Heaven.