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The Oceanides, Edited by Judith Pascoe

 

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THE SPIRIT OF THE CAPE.

By Mrs. Fletcher.

CHANGE the vision. Now no more
    Gorgeous smile both sea and sky;
Sunset mimics now no shore
    Where bright domes and gardens lie;
Past are Ocean’s gentle forms;
Now he breathes but cold and storms.

Seek no longer that sweet blue
    Mirrored lately in his breast;
Love and peace are gone;—now view
    Death, with terror for his crest;
Briny hills in horrid show,
Heaving, boiling, to and fro.

Look not for the pearl-like spray
    Scattered late with playful hand,
Then, 'twas Ocean’s holiday;
    Now, he wars with trump and brand;
Asking aid but from one other;
The old wind, his strong twin-brother.

Hark the summons! they are greeting;
    Dire their friendship, wind and wave;
Sayst thou, man, but two are meeting?
    Mock them on, and find thy grave;
Mock with mind and fiery will;
They have mightier power and skill.

They are meeting—they are met—
    Where is now the gallant ship?
Down on her side—all bruised her pride—
    Her topmast on the deep—
And her strongest—amplest sail,
Shred in tatters by the gale.

Lo, they grapple! beast and prey;
    Blast and billow; shroud and hull;
Grim destruction hath its way,
    Till the vessel beautiful
As with woman’s nerve and heart,
Downward sinks with groan and start.

Hail to thee, thou surging foam!
    Hail to thee, thou screaming blast!
And hail the drowner’s thought of home,
    His saddest, fondest, last!
And a few more days and leagues a few,
Hail to thee, Ocean, calm and blue!


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Published @ RC

November 2003

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