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Poem by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning
A Sea-Side Walk
We walked beside the sea, After a day which perished silently Of its own glory---like the Princess weird Who, combating the Genius, scorched and seared, Uttered with burning breath, 'Ho! victory!' And sank adown, an heap of ashes pale; So runs the Arab tale. The sky above us showed An universal and unmoving cloud, On which, the cliffs permitted us to see Only the outline of their majesty, As master-minds, when gazed at by the crowd! And, shining with a gloom, the water grey Swang in its moon-taught way. Nor moon nor stars were out. They did not dare to tread so soon about, Though trembling, in the footsteps of the sun. The light was neither night's nor day's, but one Which, life-like, had a beauty in its doubt; And Silence's impassioned breathings round Seemed wandering into sound. O solemn-beating heart Of nature! I have knowledge that thou art Bound unto man's by cords he cannot sever--- And, what time they are slackened by him ever, So to attest his own supernal part, Still runneth thy vibration fast and strong, The slackened cord along. For though we never spoke Of the grey water anal the shaded rock,--- Dark wave and stone, unconsciously, were fused Into the plaintive speaking that we used, Of absent friends and memories unforsook; And, had we seen each other's face, we had Seen haply, each was sad.
Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's other poems:
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