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The Spike: or, Victoria College Review October 1907

The Enchantment of the Sea

The Enchantment of the Sea.

Have you heard the enchantment of the sea
When you leaned over your berippled boat,
And saw the clouds float in the water free,
And far below each seaweed on its cote,
Like bronze sheep pasturing upon the sand ?
The gurnard, mullet, barracouta, slid
Like zephyr on the reds and you were fanned
By thoughts that toil disdainfully had hid.
Was there a soul shut in the liquid shelves
Leaped to you in momentary wave,
Part of the dead, a replica of ourselves
Replenishing our spirit from the grave?
If air may hold the dead, shall not the sea
Carry within her bosom what has thrown
A glory on the past ? Oh, it may be
The billow lapsing to your eye has known
The last proud smile of mariner who probed
Far beyond knowledge. Fainter grew the sail
Nor ever rose again where sea is globed,
And visionary lies beyond the pale.
Yes, you shall find an exaltation here,
Borne from the slope of dark, sea-foundered ooze
Heroic leaping of the hearts by fear
Unclouded — shades of Falconer, Perouse,
page 59 Hast thou heard the enchantment of the sea ?
Forgetting all for her divine despair,
And bending so her sorrow is to thee
Like thy own mother's when her heart is bare.
Ah, lean unto the waters; they shall hold
One thought, one word, one secrecy devout;
That unto there never shall be told,
Which thou hast not thy kingdom full without.
Earth hath too many coves for one ear;
Some music still may sound for thee alone,
And thou that listens when the tide is clear
Beneath thy keel a listens when the tide is clear
Beneath thy keel a chanting may have known
That never moral heard. Thy soul may leap
Through harmony to mighty beings dead
The very moment the unhearing creep
Unconscious of thy music It is fled
A moment leather ! Thou hast this for prize,
Through all the dull, poor years that do remain;
The Time unveiling scrolled before thine eyes
The magic chancel where the dead were fain
To ope the font of their bright stream, to pour
Its crystal pureness unalloyed for thee.
Though it hath ceased for ever, evermore
Thou hast heard the enchantment of the sea!

Hubert Church.