Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 5. IN HOLLAND: THE SHORE, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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THE WANDERER: 5. IN HOLLAND: THE SHORE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Can it be women that walk in the sea-mist under the cliffs there?
Last Line: The sorrow whose sound is the wind, and the roar of the limitless sea.
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Netherlands; Seashore; Travel; Holland; Dutch People; Beach; Coast; Shore; Journeys; Trips


CAN it be women that walk in the sea-mist under the cliffs there?
Where, 'neath a briny bow, creaming, advances the lip
Of the foam, and out from the sand-choked anchors, on to the skiffs there,
The long ropes swing through the surge, as it tumbles; and glitter, and drip.

All the place in a lurid, glimmering, emerald glory,
Glares like a Titan world come back under heaven again:
Yonder, up there, are the steeps of the sea-kings, famous in story;
But who are they on the beach? They are neither women, nor men.

Who knows, are they the land's, or the water's, living creatures?
Born of the boiling sea? nurst in the seething storms?
With their woman's hair dishevelled over their stern male features,
Striding, bare to the knee; magnified maritime forms!

They may be the mothers and wives, they may be the sisters and daughters
Of men on the dark mid-seas, alone in those black-coiled hulls,
That toil 'neath you white cloud, whence the moon will rise o'er the waters
To-night, with her face on fire, if the wind in the evening lulls.

But they may be merely visions, such as only sick men witness
(Sitting as I sit here, filled with a wild regret),
Framed from the sea's misshapen spume with a horrible fitness
To the winds in which they walk, and the surges by which they are wet: --

Salamanders, sea-wolves, witches, warlocks; marine monsters,
Which the dying seaman beholds, when the rats are swimming away,
And an Indian wind 'gins hiss from an unknown isle, and alone stirs
The broken cloud which burns on the verge of the dead, red day,

I know not. All in my mind is confused; nor can I dissever
The mould of the visible world from the shape of my thoughts in me.
The Inward and Outward are fused: and, through them, murmur forever
The sorrow whose sound is the wind, and the roar of the limitless sea.





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