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The Sea
Barry Cornwall


The sea! the sea! the open sea!
The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
Without a mark, without a bound,
It runneth the earth’s wide regions round;
It plays with the clouds; it mocks the skies;
Or like a cradled creature lies.

I’m on the sea! I’m on the sea!
I am where I would ever be;
With the blue above, and the blue below,
And silence wheresoe’er I go;
If a storm should come and awake the deep,
What matter? I shall ride and sleep.

I love, O, how I love to ride
On the fierce, foaming, bursting tide,
When every mad wave drowns the moon
Or whistles aloft his tempest tune,
And tells how goeth the world below,
And why the sou’west blasts do blow.

I never was on the dull, tame shore,
But I lov’d the great sea more and more,
And backwards flew to her billowy breast,
Like a bird that seeketh its mother's nest;
And a mother she was, and is, to me;
For I was born on the open sea!
The waves were white, and red the morn,

In the noisy hour when I was born;
And the whale it whistled, the porpoise roll’d,
And the dolphins bared their backs of gold;
And never was heard such an outcry wild
As welcom’d to life the ocean-child!

I’ve liv’d since then, in calm and strife,
Full fifty summers, a sailor’s life,
With wealth to spend and a power to range,
But never have sought nor sighed for change;
And Death, whenever he comes to me,
Shall come on the wild, unbounded sea!


This poem is in the public domain.


Barry Cornwall (1787 - 1874) was a pseudonym for Bryan Waller Procter, an English writer whose plays, songs, and poems were quite popular during his lifetime. Though his professional career was actually law, he was widely known and regarded for his writing and included several noted Victorian authors in his circle of friends. William Thackeray's novel, Vanity Fair is, in fact, dedicated to Mr. Procter.



Post New Comment:
Very reflective and imaginative, on the rolling sea, planning to die with it. Lovely.
Posted 10/01/2013 04:13 PM
Donna Pflueger:
...And the whale it whistled /the porpoise roll'd... and the dolphins bared their backs of gold...that stanza gave me goosebumps. What a salty ride on this rainy Sunday morn. Thanks for posting this poem, Jayne. ItS A KEEPER!!!
Posted 08/25/2013 10:10 AM

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