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Lewis Morris (Льюис Моррис)


By the Sea


A LITTLE country churchyard,
On the verge of a cliff by the sea ;
Ah ! the thoughts of the long years past and gone
That the vision brings back to me.

For two ways led from the village,
One, by the rippled sands,
With their pink shells fresh from the ebbing wave ?
For childish little hands.

And one by the breezy cliff-side,
All splendid with purple and gold,
With its terrible humble-bees trumpeting deep,
And butterflies fair to behold.

And the boom of the waves on the shingle,
And hymn of the lark to the sun ;
Made Sabbath sounds of their own, ere the chime
Of the church-going bell had begun.

I remember the churchyard studded
With peasants who loitered and read
The sad little legends, half effaced,
On the moss-grown tombs of the dead.

And the gay graves of little children,
Fashioned like tiny cots ;
With their rosemary and southernwood,
And blue-eyed forget-me-nots.

Till the bell by degrees grew impatient,
Then ceased as the parsonage door
Opened wide for the surpliced vicar,
And we loitered and talked no more.

I remember the cool, dim chancel,
The drowsy hum of the prayers :
And the rude psalms vollied from seafaring throats
As if to take heaven unawares.

Till, when sermon-time came, by permission
We stole out among the graves,
And saw the great ocean a-blaze in the sun,
And heard the deep roar of the waves.

And clung very close together,
As we spelt out with pitying tears,
How a boy lay beneath who was drowned long ago,
And was 'Aged eleven years.'

And heard, with a new-born wonder,
The voice of the infinite Sea,
Whose hither-shore is the shore of Death,
And whose further, the Life to be.

'Did the sea swallow up little children?
Could God see the wickedness done?
Nor spare one swift-winged seraph to save
From the thousands around His throne ?'

'Was he still scarce older than we were,
Still only a boy of eleven ?
Were child-angels children always
In the sorrowless courts of heaven ?'

Ah me ! of those childish dreamers,
One has solved the last riddle since then:
And knows the dread secret which none may know
Who walk in the ways of men.

The other has seen the splendour
And mystery fading away ;
Too wise or too dull to take thought or care
For aught but the needs of the day. 



Lewis Morris's other poems:
  1. To a Child of Fancy
  2. The New Order
  3. Caged
  4. In Regent Street
  5. A Hymn in Time of Idols


Poems of other poets with the same name (Стихотворения других поэтов с таким же названием):

  • George Evans (Джордж Эванс) By the Sea ("Bright skies of summer o’er the deep")

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