The Dreamer On The Sea-Shore

What are the dreams of him who may sleep

Where the solemn voice of the troubled deep

Steals on the wind with a sullen roar,

And the waters foam along the shore?

Who shelter'd lies in some calm retreat,

And hears the music of waves at his feet?


He sees not the sail that passes on

O'er the sunny fields of the sea, alone,

The farthest point that gleams on the sight,

A vanishing speck of glittering light.


He sees not the spray that, spreading wide,

Throws its lines of snow on the dark green tide;

Or the billows rushing with crests of foam

As they strove which first should reach their home—


Their home! What home has the restless main,

Which only arrives to return again,

Like the wand'rer she bears on her stormy breast,

Who seeks in vain for a place of rest.


Lo! His visions bear him along

To rocks that have heard the mermaid's song:

Or, borne on the surface of some dark surge,

Unharm'd he lies, while they onward urge


Their rapid course, and waft him away

To islands half hid 'midst the shadowy spray,

Where trees wave their boughs in the perfum'd gale,

And bid the wave-borne stranger hail;


Where birds are flitting like gems in the sun,

And streams over emerald meadows run,

That whisper in melody as they glide

To the flowers that blush along their side.


Sorrow ne'er came to that blissful shore,

For no mortal has entered that isle before:

There the Halcyon waits on the sparkling strand

Till the bark of her lover the Nautilus land;


She spreads her purple wings to the air,

And she sees his fragile vessel there—

She sees him float on the summer sea,

Where no breath but the sigh of his love may be.


The dreamer leaps towards that smiling shore—

When, lo! the vision is there no more!

Its trees, its flowers, its birds are gone—

A waste of waters is spread alone.


Plunged in the tide, he struggles amain—

High they pour, and he strives in vain:

He sinks—the billows close over his head,

He shrieks—'tis over—the dream is fled;


Secure he lies in his calm retreat,

And the idle waters still rave at his feet.

by Louisa Stuart Costello

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