The ocean is startling and suspect in its forms and changes and timbre
In its distinction
Its comeliness
Its revisions
Its public
Its uses and its mysteries

In all that strikes the sense

And is immediately apprehended by the understanding

But also with all these
And resting lower than all
It holds a virtuous claim
Which is nearly conferred
And partially reclaimed
By the memory of mankind

The intellect finds in it a capital of high

Equivalences are audible
Which couple most impressively with our transient vivacity
(Beginning and closure of all)

And thus it becomes a cardinal tie to that vast fob of aspiration and commiseration with which the Creator has obliged all body and reason

Coincidentally with his own unbounded actuality

In one permitting all

The sea has often been put beside this our life

Study, though
Launches forth on its roomy heart
And gathers up the idols and semblances of our reality and end of
What we are
And what is assigned to us

Do we see its ample waves
Hasty reckless
Headfirst driven
By the lashing wind

They remind us of the gale of a furious sense
Or the rebellion of an exasperated commune

Are the rollers mute or is a stillness grasped through the surge

Is it the semblance of a complacent heart
Of a calm and tranquil daemon
Or a quiet collected past

Hesitance worry fears
Move over our understanding

Billows over the ocean

Trifling with them
As the clouds cast the waters
With their buried and unsafe values

Does a grinning hope or a flaxen rapture break in impulsively
In the midst of care or misfortune

What is it but a pause in the darkness
Such as we sometimes see sent down from the divided sky
Radiant and single at the dark horizon
A sun-burst on a stagnant sea

Then how often are the trials of life weighed against the changes of the ocean

Who that has been afar off on the sea

"Who that has heard or read anything of its mannerisms

Does not know that lucky winds and skies can bless and
Often follow those that are unknown and harmless

That the morning may rise with candid promises
Bringing the fawning zephyr
Blithe over the good water
And before the sun goes under
Or even before towering midday is there
All may be derelict with shade

The dense gust may be driven off with primitive force
The lucky sunbeams may chirrup with the lightnings
And the spring above be refreshed on the drought below
As if at once they were resolved
To dip and desertify the world"

And these things take place in human life for

Puberty flatters hopes with brilliant diagnoses
All changed at legal age
Into a dreary fiasco of black faith

Often and how suddenly the sun of thriving may be confined from sight
And its dull rays gleam in the chill and dusk of shyness of blatant hardship

In the middle of joy in the middle of peace
The breakers may instantly rise
And sway in over temperament

Your incoming tide and surf cries

The grieving psalm
Has laid us in the lowest pit
In the darkness
In the deeps

Wrath lies sharp on me
You have afflicted me with all your airs

Dank weltering

Utter desolation

The depth closed me round about
The weeds were wrapped about my head

Though no flight
On sea or over life
Is individually free from change
And lopsided cancellations

Our freight is all abroad in the wide face of presence
And some feel severer gales
And often bilking winds

For some
The typhoons of easy street appear to blow
So fair and steady is the exodus through which they slide

While others gather
Almost at the outset
An evil that opposes
And badgers them to the end

To that beginning they all arrive
Sooner or later

The ocean has many harbours

The squalls leave off
And all the winds of heaven fold up their wings
And rest

There the sea-dog is still
And slights his risk and dread

The breakers are beyond
The foam and toss pointlessly

The sails are furled
And the anchors dropped

We trip out
A calm one finds
And one in each another a tempest

The voyage done
Loss is the quiet backwater

So descants the seaway on the great argument of extinction
The charismatic ocean
Sounding forth perpetually
In its ghostly surges
A true and lordly metaphysics
Putting out on every shore an open book

But it does something more

It is so boundless
So unwavering
So awash
So all-inclusive
It lures our thought to a nobler issue than persistence
It takes us forever to the juncture of wrong

When contemplation on this thesis is implied
Social life retreats into a runnel
Roaming through a mixed ground
Now through fresh circlets
And now through beaches
Now plainly and now befouled
Now speechlessly and gently
And then redundant and sore
Till it is gone
Last but not least

So the sea
Which takes in and tastes nothing

There in the physical world

Earning fervor
For it can hardly be termed a division

The feeling of endless time
So powerfully as does the wide
Wide sea

Look upon its waves
Heirs to each other unceasing
One climbing up as another dissolves
Think of the lines of men
Lifting up their heads a while and then flying by night away

So, the pressures of the ages come and go
Emerge and cease

Ocean and perpetuity stay
Battered yet only touched
Lasting in the regular
Accolades of their strict element

Standing upon the unattended beach
Hear the spill over thresh to fulfill such exalted
Unusual music as fits the congregation of cliffs and skies
Minds maneuver back through time to when
When we and our begetters were not

Those swells were yet climbing
Steadily breaking
The same feral number
Heard by the eaveing cliffs
The syrupy skies
Which as quietly as possible gave heed to them

In the warmth of this old and concerted alliance
You know on what a slender point you stand
How soon you will be knocked away
And the downpour dance upon a grave

This is may be called the tenderness of forever

Perhaps the feeling is yet more intensely consummated
When lying on a bed watching
Hearing the deep-throated meter of the waves docking solemnly and soothingly throughout the composure of the night

The say-so of an essence
The vote of eternity and its animation

The blue seems now to be a living thing
Ever vital and heart-rending
A jittery government
A performance of unremitting duration
Speaking the moist apocalypses of pristine fact

Where are the untold men who have crushed its interior

They are aged away
And not a suggestion is left of all their rejoinders

Where the wintry sovereigntys who washed their jewels with the incoming tide

They have been traded and swapped again
Till museums only tell where they stood

But the sea is where it was

No monuments upon it
No ambition and pride

Not even a ruin to lecture of triumphs or existence

It remains as green
As tugging and
As free as when it first listened
And answered with all its motions our resolve

Our thoughts bend over the turn of eternity

Earth is ever quite free from the yoke

It receives and covers toppled refuse


But cannot stomach the exactitude of a long frightened prize-winner

All around the world we see the slag of generations

None of these are on the sea
The surface is blank but by its own mutiny

And when it buries
The sepulture is sudden and entire
A plunge
A blob of froth
And the waters are as before

Unworn is ocean

What shall we stack up against it

Allied in its greatness more with disposition than with trouble

It holds itself above cancellation

It seems to have will
And a strength

These high associations
They lead us to a guileless bearing on all that is sublime and pure

All grandeur directs us to it

We cannot stop in the creature after

And yet something draws closer
When we are looking at the sea
Or listening to its roar
And bottling the emotions which it excites

Where he arrives
It reigns

The pregnancy of a trespass
Takes the throne of reputation

And then we think how butlerish is might and majesty compared with this

The infinity of ocean becomes a brief type of psychological etching
And all that grandeur just a passing clue that nothing is lessened in the pious mind

It keeps its connections
And is patronized by odious contingency

It puts on the look
And speaks with the auxiliary solemnity of a priest
Telling us that all power and magnificence are funnelled from the Maker
And that all is full of bliss
And life
And duty
Are just brain twisting

Because the sea has been called the religious sea

It is devout
It propositions with religious thoughts and emotions
And as the feelings excited by a wellborn suitor in a thoughtful mind are always reflected back
The sea appears in its own self-sacred mirror
Lying in the hollow of the hand
Chanting loud anthems of criticism in the noise of its precipitate floods
Issuing devotion from the heaving repose of its calms

We know nothing of the sea as we ought
We feel nothing of its best most swollen inspirations unless we receive
And communicate
The calculations and rectitude of sacrilege
Unless we grow saintly as we…

And return from watching with the knowledge that we have broken into a nearer junction with something

With moral affinities that rise naturally from knowledge of the sea
And are all in a great degree definite

The deep is
As it were
Charged with them
And bears them richly to our heart

And when we look out upon the ocean
Without these associations as the direct dependent of thought
It is the union of several or of all of them
That almost benumbs us

But also beside these views
Which can be traced and numbered
There are suggested emotions
Which we cannot define so well
If at all

I believe that no one
Loving nature
Has released himself upon the sea
And come back with that which he could simplify

All that he can acquaint us of is of a lifting and purging

Further than this he cannot declare them
For they baffled all story and chase

And it looked to him at times
As he waited with sleeplessness on the boundary
That a great intestine wave
Which he heard and received
And did not withstand

Came like whispers of sharing
And intelligence
And a concord to fill the world

They teach us something of our retired connections
Something of the unsuspected and fantastic future


If we are prone to love what we can touch
They gently rebuke us for our coldness

I have spoken now as I was partly able
And not perhaps as clearly as I could

Let the rest be learnt by each alone

And if his curiosity is brisk
Let him go to the shops and get wisdom

But if his holy affections are moved
Let him go to the water and wash

In the eminently monstrous and belligerent
Ending of the sea.