Old Spookses’ Pass, Malcolm’s Katie and Other Poems

by Isabella Valancy Crawford


 

BESIDE THE SEA.


 

One time he dream’d beside a sea,
    That laid a mane of mimic stars;
In fondling quiet on the knee,
    Of one tall, pearl’d, cliff—the bars;
Of golden beaches upward swept,
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Pine-scented shadows seaward crept. [Page 117]

The full moon swung her ripen’d sphere
    As from a vine; and clouds as small
As vine leaves in the opening year
    Kissed the large circle of her ball.
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The stars gleamed thro’ them as one sees
Thro’ vine leaves drift the golden bees.

He dream’d beside this purple sea,
    Low sang its trancèd voice, and he—
He knew not if the wordless strain
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    Made prophecy of joy or pain;
He only knew far stretch’d that sea,
He knew its name—Eternity!

A shallop with a rainbow sail,
    On the bright pulses of the tide,
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Throbb’d airily; a fluting gale
    Kiss’d the rich gilding of its side;
By chain of rose and myrtle fast,
A light sail touch’d the slender mast.

“A flower-bright rainbow thing,” he said
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    To one beside him, “far too frail
“To brave dark storms that lurk ahead,
    “To dare sharp talons of the gale.
“Belov’d, thou woulds’t not forth with me
“In such a bark on such a sea?”
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“First tell me of its name?” she bent
    Her eyes divine and innocent
On his. He raised his hand above
    Its prow, and answ’ring swore, “’Tis Love!” [Page 118]
“Now tell,” she ask’d, “how is it built,
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Of gold or worthless timber gilt?”

“Of gold,” he said. “Whence named?” asked she,
    The roses of her lips apart,
She paus’d—a lily by the sea—
    Came his swift answer, “From my heart!”
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She laid her light palm in his hand.
    “Let loose the shallop from the strand!” [Page 119]