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EFORE a midnight breaks in storm,
Or herded sea in wrath,

Ye know what wavering gusts inform
The greater tempest's path;

Till the loosed wind

Drive all from mind,

Except Distress, which, so will prophets cry, O'ercame them, houseless, from the unhinting sky.

Ere rivers league against the land

In piratry of flood,

Ye know what waters slip and stand

Where seldom water stood.

Yet who will note,

Till fields afloat,

And washen carcass and the returning well,
Trumpet what these poor heralds strove to tell?

Ye know who use the Crystal Ball
(To peer by stealth on Doom),
The Shade that, shaping first of all,
Prepares an empty room.

Then doth It pass

Like breath from glass,

But, on the extorted vision bowed intent,

No man considers why It came or went.

Before the years reborn behold
Themselves with stranger eye,
And the sport-making Gods of old,
Like Samson slaying, die,
Many shall hear

The all-pregnant sphere,

Bow to the birth and sweat, but-speech denied― Sit dumb or dealt in part-fall weak and wide.

Yet instant to fore-shadowed need

The eternal balance swings;

That winged men the Fates may breed
So soon as Fate hath wings.
These shall possess

Our littleness,

And in the imperial task (as worthy) lay
Up our lives' all to piece one giant day.




HO hath desired the Sea?-the sight of salt water unbounded

The heave and the halt and the hurl and the

crash of the comber wind-hounded?

The sleek-barrelled swell before storm, gray, foamless, enormous, and growing

Stark calm on the lap of the Line or the crazy-eyed hurricane blowing

His Sea in no showing the same-his Sea and the same 'neath each showing

His Sea as she slackens or thrills?

So and no otherwise-so and no otherwise hillmen desire their Hills!

Who hath desired the Sea?-the immense and contemptuous surges?

The shudder, the stumble, the swerve, as the starstabbing bowsprit emerges?

The orderly clouds of the Trades, and the ridged, roaring sapphire thereunder

Unheralded cliff-haunting flaws and the headsails' lowvolleying thunder

His Sea in no wonder the same-his Sea and the same through each wonder:

His Sea as she rages or stills?

So and no otherwise-so and no otherwise hillmen desire their Hills.

Who hath desired the Sea? Her menaces swift as her mercies?

The in-rolling walls of the fog and the silver-winged breeze that disperses?

The unstable mined berg going South and the calvings and groans that declare it;

White water half-guessed overside and the moon breaking timely to bare it;

His Sea as his fathers have dared-his Sea as his children shall dare it

His Sea as she serves him or kills?

So and no otherwise-so and no otherwise hillmen desire their Hills.

Who hath desired the Sea? Her excellent loneliness rather

Than forecourts of kings, and her outermost pits than the streets where men gather

Inland, among dust, under trees-inland where the slayer may slay him;

Inland, out of reach of her arms, and the bosom whereon he must lay him

His Sea at the first that betrayed-at the last that shall never betray him

His Sea that his being fulfils?

So and no otherwise-so and no otherwise hillmen desire their Hills.




HEY christened my brother of old-
And a saintly name he bears-
They gave him his place to hold

At the head of the belfry-stairs,

Where the minster-towers stand

And the breeding kestrels cry.

Would I change with my brother a league inland? ('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not I!

In the flush of the hot June prime,
O'er smooth flood-tides afire,

I hear him hurry the chime

To the bidding of checked Desire,

Till the sweated ringers tire

And the wild bob-majors die.

Could I wait for my turn in the godly choir?

('Shoal! 'Ware shoal!') Not I!

When the smoking scud is blown,

When the greasy wind-rack lowers,

Apart and at peace and alone,
He counts the changeless hours.
He wars with darkling Powers

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