Thursday, June 2, 2011

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Secret of the Sea

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!

Most of all the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where  the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines: --

Telling how the Count Arnaldos
With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley
Steering onward to the land; --

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.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
The Seaside and the Fireside

photo: grethe bachmann


Teresa Evangeline said...

"The heart of the great ocean," is a beautiful line. The image you've chosen has a mystical quality to it and illustrates this poem perfectly.

Gerry Snape said...

One of my favourite poets grethe.
I love this especially as it is my lovely sea!

Thyra said...

Hej Teresa! The English language is so good for poetry. The words are just flowing.......oh yes, I love that sailing boat with the mysterious green sails!

Hej Gerry! Yes it's one of my favorites too, and I had it in my notebook, but I discovered there were more lines, and now it is perfect. The lines are so beautiful.
I love the sea! I could not live in a place far from the sea.

Cheers to both of you and have a nice week-end!