Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Secret of the Sea

The mystery of the sea

The Secret of the Sea

By Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me

  As I gaze upon the sea!

All the old romantic legends,

  All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,

  Such as gleam in ancient lore;

And the singing of the sailors,

  And the answer from the shore!

[Tell me of] the Spanish ballad…

Of the noble Count Arnaldos…

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,

  Where the sand as silver shines,

With a soft, monotonous cadence,

  Flow its unrhymed lyric lines;--

Tell [me] how the Count Arnaldos,…

Saw a fair and stately galley,…

How he heard the ancient helmsman

  Chant a song so wild and clear,

That the sailing sea-bird slowly

  Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,

  And he cried, with impulse strong,--

"Helmsman! for the love of heaven,

  Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"

"Wouldst thou,"--so the helmsman answered,

  "Learn the secret of the sea?

Only those who brave its dangers

  Comprehend its mystery!"

In each sail that skims the horizon,

  In each landward-blowing breeze,

I behold that stately galley,

  Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing

  For the secret of the sea,

And the heart of the great ocean

  Sends a thrilling pulse through me.

A slightly shortened version, the full version is found here.

my soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea

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