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Musings in Maoriland

At Sunset

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At Sunset.

Out on the beach when night was creeping—
 Robed in shadows—across the dome,
We watched the waves as, shoreward leaping,
 They fringed the sands with streaks of foam.

Ocean's heart, with its ceaseless throbbing,
  Beat 'gainst billows that rose and fell;
Sometimes singing, and sometimes sobbing,
  Sea-ghosts came on each foamy swell.

I stood dreaming of some old story,
  Picturing forms on each white crest,
'Tranced in thought, till a flash of glory
  Limn'd the skirts of the distant west.

"Look!" you cried, and we gazed, in wonder,
  Over the deep where sea and sky
Met and kissed, as the sun danced under
  Beams of gold in the archway high.

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Oh! the splendour that tipp'd the mountains;
  Oh! the beauty that rimm'd the lea;
Streams of brilliants, from rainbow fountains,
  Sparkling fell on the purple sea.

Calmness stole o'er the deep, and lowly
  Whispers floated upon the breeze:
"Hail to Thee, Holy, holy, holy!
  Painter of shores and skies and seas!'

Not by us were the pure words spoken;
  Not by us were the pure words said;
We were mute till the spell was broken;
  We but gazed at the Heaven ahead.

Gazed, and worshipped, and prayed, and wondered
  If that glory would gild the way
When life's sun sets, and friends are sunder'd,
  And spirits 'scape from their shells of clay.