- There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
- There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
- There is society where none intrudes,
- By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
- I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
- From these our interviews, in which I steal
- From all I may be, or have been before,
- To mingle with the Universe, and feel
- What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.
- Roll on, thou deep and dark blue
- Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
- Man marks the earth with ruin—his
- Stops with the shore;—upon the watery
- The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
- A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
- When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
- He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
- Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
- His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy
- Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
- And shake him from thee; the vile strength he
- For earth’s destruction thou dost all
- Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
- And send’st him, shivering in thy
- And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
- His petty hope in some near port or bay,
- And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.
- The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
- Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
- And monarchs tremble in their capitals.
- The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
- Their clay creator the vain title take
- Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war;
- These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
- They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
- Alike the Armada’s pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
- Thy shores are empires, changed in all save
- Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are
- Thy waters washed them power while they were
- And many a tyrant since: their shores obey
- The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
- Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou,
- Unchangeable save to thy wild waves’
- Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure
- Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
- Thou glorious mirror, where the
- Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
- Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or
- Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
- Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and
- The image of Eternity—the throne
- Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
- The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
- Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
- And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
- Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
- Borne like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
- I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me
- Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
- Made them a terror—’twas a
- For I was as it were a child of thee,
- And trusted to thy billows far and near,
- And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.