Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Feb. 27, 1807 - Mar. 24, 1882


The Sea-Diver

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My way is on the bright blue sea,
My sleep upon the rocky tide;
And many an eye has followed me,
Where billows clasp the worn sea-side.

My plumage bears the crimson blush,
When ocean by the sun is kissed!
When fades the evening's purple flush,
My dark wing cleaves the silver mist.

Full many a fathom down beneath
The bright arch of the splendid deep,
My ear has heard the sea-shell breathe
O'er living myriads in their sleep.

They rested by the coral throne,
And by the pearly diadem,
Where the pale sea-grape had o'ergrown
The glorious dwelling made for them.

At night, upon my storm-drenched wing,
I poised above a helmless bark,
And soon I saw the shattered thing
Had passed away and left no mark.

And when the wind and storm had done,
A ship, that had rode out the gale,
Sunk down without a signal-gun,
And none was left to tell the tale.

I saw the pomp of day depart --
The cloud resign its golden crown,
When to the ocean's beating heart
The sailor's wasted corse went down.

Peace be to those whose graves are made
Beneath the bright and silver sea!
Peace that their relics there were laid,
With no vain pride and pageantry.


Longfellow's Poetical Works
Copyright 1893
Henry Frowde, London