Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A SEA-SIDE WALK, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A SEA-SIDE WALK, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We walked beside the sea
Last Line: Seen haply each was sad.
Subject(s): Walking; Silence; Togetherness


WE walked beside the sea
After a day which perished silently
Of its own glory -- like the princess weird
Who, combating the Genius, scorched and seared,
Uttered with burning breath, 'Ho! victory!'
And sank adown, a heap of ashes pale:
So runs the Arab tale.


The sky above us showed
A universal and unmoving cloud
On which the cliffs permitted us to see
Only the outline of their majesty,
As master-minds when gazed at by the crowd:
And shining with a gloom, the water gray
Swang in its moon-taught way.


Nor moon, nor stars were out;
They did not dare to tread so soon about,
Though trembling, in the footsteps of the sun:
The light was neither night's nor day's, but one
Which, life-like, had a beauty in its doubt.
And silence's impassioned breathings round
Seemed wandering into sound.


O solemn-beating heart
Of nature! I have knowledge that thou art
Bound unto man's by cords he cannot sever;
And, what time they are slackened by him ever,
So to attest his own supernal part,
Still runneth thy vibration fast and strong
The slackened cord along:


For though we never spoke
Of the gray water and the shaded rock,
Dark wave and stone unconsciously were fused
Into the plaintive speaking that we used
Of absent friends and memories unforsook;
And, had we seen each other's face, we had
Seen haply each was sad.

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