The Sea

The sea, the sea, the rolling sea!
High flung, wide swinging, so wild and free,
The leaping waves with their white-capped crest
The plunge and lunge on the ocean's breast
Like wild, white horses racing free,
With the swing of the rolling, surging sea!
The white sea cloud that drifts like a dream;
The sea-gulls that skim o'er the waves, and scream;
The dolphin's plunge and the petrel's nest,
That is borne to land on the tide-race crest:
And all that goes, from mid-ocean to lea,
To make up the rolling, the surging sea!
Can ye stand on the peaceful, quiet lea,
And gaze on the tumbling, tossing sea,
Out o'er the surge and the white waves' crest,
Nor feel a longing within your breast?
A drawing, a pull, be it day or night,
That tempts ye to dare the ocean's might.
I stood on the deck of a ship offshore
And harked to the awesome and deafening roar
Of the ocean waves when they struck the reefs,
High tossed on the tide like crested chiefs
Whose plumes toss high 'bove the battling hordes,
Where leap the lances and flash the swords.
And the mighty waves rose high and steep
To the hand of the waves that smote the deep.
And my soul leaped wild and my would leaped free,
To the leap and the swing of the rolling sea!
And my soul was freed with that ocean leap,
And it plumed the depths of the mighty deep!
Down, down, down where the mermaids ride,
Down where the things of the deep sea glide.
Down where the ships, long sunken, float,
War-ship and galley and coracle boat;
Down beyond reach of the storms or the tides,
To the coral halls where old Triton hides!
And I saw the mermaids and the mermen play,
The kraken and sea-serpent locked in fray.
And all the ocean-marvels that be,
And the wonderful monsters of the sea.
I wandered 'mongst beautiful sea-flowers,
Where the castle built by the polyp towers,
Where the waters glitter with strange sea-jade,
And the sea-things swim through the deep-sea glade.
And then my soul came back on me,
Back through the surge of the swinging sea.
But still I gaze from the quiet lea,
And long for the swing of the plunging sea.