Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PRAYER TO THE OCEAN, by GEORGE SANTAYANA



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PRAYER TO THE OCEAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What wilt thou yield, great ocean, to thy lover
Last Line: Wilt thou yield up to me?
Subject(s): God; Sea; Ocean


What wilt thou yield, great Ocean, to thy lover
Who yields the treasure of his grief to thee?
Which of the wrecks of hope thy billows cover
Wilt thou yield up, O Sea?

From all men thou hast taken, but my giving
Is priceless will and love without control:
Thou art our dead lives' sepulchre, and living
I offer thee my soul.

I feel thee close about: my blood is oozing,
My limbs are numbed in a mortal sleep,
Wound in thy folds, O Shroud of my soul's choosing,
O Infinite, O Deep!

I leave the dream of glory to the nations,
I shun the love of children and of wives,
I scorn the joys of all men's generations,
And loathe their lying lives.

Mine ears are closed to all their noise and groaning,
Their beauty is a torment to my sight;
I hearken to the music of thy moaning:
I look upon thy might.

I love thee, Flood eternal! that would'st fill me
With drowsy wine no worldling ever sips;
Choke me with tightening of thine arms, and kill me
With poison of thy lips.

The things that I have loved and thou hast taken
I will not find by searching of thy waves:
For thy love's sake by faith and hope forsaken,
I will desert their graves.

Some for their country or for heaven die
And some for honour, or a monarch's nod,
And all in death have comfort: -- only I
For looking upon God.

To me alone, great Father, be not cruel,
And to my weakness grant this grace supreme:
That of my promised crown I see one jewel
And of my youth one dream.

Before I drain thy bitter healing potion
That from the agony of life can free,
What buried joy, my Grave, my God, my Ocean,
Wilt thou yield up to me?





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