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Isabella Valancy Crawford

(25 December 1850 – 12 February 1887 / Dublin, Ireland)

Beside The Sea


ONE time he dreamed beside a sea
That laid a mane of mimic stars
In fondling quiet on the knee
Of one tall, pearlèd cliff; the bars
Of golden beaches upward swept;
Pine-scented shadows seaward crept.

The full moon swung her ripened sphere
As from a vine; and clouds, as small
As vine leaves in the opening year,
Kissed the large circle of her ball.
The stars gleamed thro' them as one sees
Thor' vine leaves drift the golden bees.

He dreamed beside this purple sea;
Low sang its trancéd voice, and he-
He knew not if the wordless strain
Made prophecy of joy or pain;
He only knew far stretched that sea,
He knew its name-Eternity.

A shallop with a rainbow sail
On the bright pulses of the tide
Throbbed airily; a fluting gale
Kissed the rich gilding of its side;
By chain of rose and myrtle fast
A light sail touched the slender mast.

'A flower-bright rainbow thing,' he said
To one beside him, 'far too frail
To brave dark storms that lurk ahead,
To dare sharp talons of the gale.
Beloved, thou wouldst not forth with me
In such a bark on such a sea?'

'First tell me of its name.' She bent
Her eyes divine and innocent
On his. He raised his hand above
Its prow and answering swore, ''Tis Love!'
'Now tell,' she asked, 'how is it build-
Of gold, or worthless timber gilt?'

'Of gold,' he said. 'Whence named?' asked she,
The roses of her lips apart;
She paused-a lily by the sea.
Came his swift answer, 'From my heart!'
She laid her light palm in his hand:
'Let loose the shallop from the strand!'

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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