All night the thirsty beach has listening lain,
With patience dumb,
Counting the slow, sad moments of her pain;
Now morn has come,
And with the morn the punctual tide again.
I hear the white battalions down the bay
Charge with a cheer;
The sun's gold lances prick them on their way,--
They plunge, they rear,--
Foam-plumed and snowy-pennoned, they are here!
The roused shore, her bright hair backward blown,
Stands on the verge
And waves a smiling welcome, beckoning on
The flying surge,
While round her feet, like doves, the billows crowd and urge.
Her glad lips quaff the salt, familiar wine;
Her spent urns fill;
All hungering creatures know the sound, the sign,--
Quiver and thrill,
With glad expectance crowd and banquet at their will.
I, too, the rapt contentment join and share;
My tide is full;
There is new happiness in earth, in air:
And fresh the world but now so bare and dull.
But while we raise the cup of bliss so high,
Another shore beneath a sad, far sky
Waiteth her tide,
And thirsts with sad complainings still denied.
On earth's remotest bound she sits and waits
In doubt and pain;
Our joy is signal for her sad estates;
Like dull refrain
Marring our song, her sighings rise in vain.
To each his turn--the ebb-tide and the flood,
The less, the more--
God metes his portions justly out, I know;
But still before
My mind forever floats that pale and grieving shore.