The Poetical Works of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler/The Depths of the Sea
The Depths of the SeaEdit
Depths of the fathomless sea,
What do you hold in your caves?
Motionless hearts that bounded free,
And many a costly argosie,
That gallantly rode on your waves?
Yes! motionless hearts are there,
And many a glassy eye—
And many a gem of price ye bear,
Ingots of gold and spices rare,
That in the salt wave lie.
Oh, if the dead could speak,
What a tale might ye unfold!
Of the roaring surge and the blanching cheek,
Of the crashing mast, and the one wild shriek,
As the waters over them roll'd!
The weary sailor sleeps
In your beautiful coral bowers;
The polar star its night ward keeps,
But he heeds it not—and his loved one weeps,
As she counts the wearisome hours.
The cheek of beauty is there,
But its blush has faded away—
The sea-weed wraps what was once so fair,
And the water-snake twines with her flowing hair,
As though it but mock'd her decay.
The speaking eye is dim,
That flash'd with its glance of light—
The youth drank of life's cup, while joy bathed its brim,
But the long draught of bitterness was not for him,
And the pride-curl'd lip is white!
The young and the old are there,
The coward heart and the brave—
Those to whom life in her morning shone fair,
And those who were wasted with cankering care,
The freeman, the tyrant, the slave.
The infant is there, with the light
Of his innocent smile round his brow;
He laugh'd when the foam on that pitiless night,
Curl'd o'er the rude wave with its sparkles of light—
But his blue eye is slumbering now.
And there is the beautiful bride,
Still entwined in her lover's last grasp;
The warrior rests with his foe by his side,
And the mother yet seems, in her matronly pride,
To enfold that fair boy in her clasp.
Ye depths of the billowy sea!
How many a tale of fear,
Of the plunging corse, and the mutiny,
And the blood-red banner of piracy,
Could ye tell to the shuddering ear!
And of how, at the dead of night,
The captive burst his chain,
And with one glance at the moon's fair light,
Forever he sunk from the tyrant's sight—
And the wave roll'd on again.
Oh, ye are a changeless mystery—
The heavens are wreathed in flame,
And the bark is toss'd on the raging sea,
Or the sunbeam smiles with its breezes free—
But ye are forever the same.