Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CALAIS BEACON, by AGNES MARY F. ROBINSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

CALAIS BEACON, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: For long before we came upon the coast and the line of the surge
Last Line: And know not of your light!
Alternate Author Name(s): Duclaux, Madame Emile; Darmesteter, Mary; Robinson, A. Mary F.
Subject(s): Calais, France; Lighthouses

(TO E. S.)

FOR long before we came upon the coast and the line of the surge,
Pale on the uttermost verge,
We saw the great white rays that lay along the air on high
Between us and the sky.

So soft they lay, so pure and still: "Those are the ways," you said,
"Only the angels tread;"
And long we watched them tremble past the hurrying rush of the train
Over the starlit plain.

Until at last we saw the strange, pallid electrical star
Burning wanly afar:
The lighthouse beacon sending out its rays on either hand,
Over the sea and the land.

Those pale and filmy rays that reach to mariners, lost in the night,
A hope of dawn and a light --
How soft and vague they lie along the darkness shrouding o'er,
The dim sea and the shore.

And many fall in vain across the untenanted marshes to die,
And few where sailors cry;
Yet, though the moon go out in clouds, and all of the stars grow wan,
Their paleness shineth on.

O souls, that save a world by night, ye too are no rays of the noon,
No glory and flood of the moon;
But pale and tender-shining things as yon faint beacon atar,
Whiter than any star.

No planet names that all may tell, no meteor radiance and glow,
For a wondering world to know.
You shine as pale and soft as that, you pierce the stormy night,
And know not of your light!

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