“Out of the golden remote wild west where the sea without shore is,
Full of the sunset, and sad, if at all, with the fullness of joy…” Swinburne
“The sea is the consolation of this our day, as it has been the consolation of the centuries.
The sea is the matrix of creation, and we have the memory of it in our blood.
But far more than this is there in the sea.
It presents, upon the greatest scale we mortals can bear, those not mortal powers which brought us into being. It is not only the symbol or the mirror, but especially it is the messenger of the Divine.”
“… All that which concerns the sea is profound and final.”
The sea hath no king but God alone. ~Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The White Ship
Mighty, music-haunted sea.
– Anna Katharine Green
On the Sea John Keats
It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often `tis in such gentle temper found
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from whence it sometime fell
When last the winds of heaven were unbound.
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude
Or fed too much with cloying melody –
Sit ye near some old cavern’s mouth, and brood
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!
Roadways by John Masefield
Leads me, lures me, calls me
To salt green tossing sea;
A road without earth’s road-dust
Is the right road for me.
A wet road heaving, shining,
And wild with seagull’s cries,
A mad salt sea-wind blowing
The salt spray in my eyes.
My road calls me, lures me
West, east, south, and north;
Most roads lead men homewards,
My road leads me forth.
To add more miles to the tally
Of grey miles left behind,
In quest of that one beauty
God put me here to find.
The Edge of the Sea
The scent from the bay
carries something like memories
from the edge of the sea
where the sun goes
at the end of the day.
I inhale the breeze
As I watch the sun retreat
into the edge of the sea,
and I wonder what’s there,
and why the scents
from the edge of the sea
seem to carry memories,
and whether the ships
moored along the harbor
ever get there.
BEAUTIFUL, sublime, and glorious;
Mild, majestic, foaming, free, —
Over time itself victorious,
Image of eternity!
Sun and moon and stars shine o’er thee,
See thy surface ebb and flow,
Yet attempt not to explore thee
In thy soundless depths below.
Whether morning’s splendors steep thee
With the rainbow’s glowing grace,
Tempests rouse, or navies sweep thee,
‘Tis but for a moment’s space.
Earth, — her valleys and her mountains,
Mortal man’s behests obey;
The unfathomable fountains
Scoff his search and scorn his sway.
Such art thou, stupdendous ocean!
But, if overwhelmed by thee,
Can we think, without emotion,
What must thy Creator be?
O’ER the wintry sea,
Mingled with its tone
Comes a voice to me,
That’s not the sea’s own.
Low and soft it is,
Near and far away —
Sad as winds that kiss
The sea beyond the bay.
Soulless, restless, swell,
O what radiant guest,
Hovers o’er thy breast?
Gray rocks and gray sea,
Stretch of barren shore,
Grief and memory
Claim me evermore.
William Stanley Braithwaite
The Sea Limits
CONSIDER the sea’s listless chime:
Time’s self it is, made audible,–
The murmur of the earth’s own shell.
Secret continuance sublime
Is the sea’s end: our sight may pass
No furlong further. Since time was,
This sound hath told the lapse of time.
No quiet, which is death’s,–it hath
The mournfulness of ancient life,
Enduring always at dull strife.
As the world’s heart of rest and wrath,
Its painful pulse is in the sands.
Last utterly, the whole sky stands,
Gray and not known, along its path.
Listen alone beside the sea,
Listen alone among the woods;
Those voices of twin solitudes
Shall have one sound alike to thee:
Hark where the murmurs of thronged men
Surge and sink back and surge again,–
Still the one voice of wave and tree.
Gather a shell from the strown beach
And listen at its lips: they sigh
The same desire and mystery,
The echo of the whole sea’s speech.
And all mankind is thus at heart
Not anything but what thou art:
And Earth, Sea, Man, are all in each.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti