XXXVI. The Sea
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 ; 2
It plays with the
clouds; it mocks the skies;3
Or like a cradled creature 4 lies.
I'm on the sea ! I'm on the sea !
I am where I would ever be ; s
With the blue above, and the blue below,
And silence wheresoe'er
g I go :
If a storm should come and awake the deep,
What matter?7 I shall
ride and sleep.
I never was on the dull, tame 8 shore,
But I loved the great sea more and more,9
And backwards 10 flew to her billowy 11 breast,12
Like a bird that seeketh its mother's nest:
nd a mother she was
and is to me ;
For I was born on the open sca !
I've lived since then, in calm and strife,13
Full fifty summers 14 a sailor's life,
With wealth to spend, and a power to range,15
But never have sought
nor sighed for change;
And Death, whenever he comes to me,
come on the wild unbounded l sea!
1 Or: unbounded ; there seems to be no end to it. 2 It runs round
the wide regions (countries, parts) of the world. 3 When the
sea is calm, it shows a picture of the sky; it seems to take
the appearance of the sky, to mock it. 4 A creature in a cradle.
Babies sleep in cradles. 5 I should always like to be.
6 Or : wherever. 7 What is that to me 1 What do I care ? 8 Quiet;
opp. wild, fierce. y Whenever I go on land, it makes me love
the sea more. 10 Or : back. 11 s. billow (wave). 12 The front
of the body, between the shoulders. 13 Here : storm. (Strife
also means quarrelling.) 14 Quite fifty years. 15 Or: travel,
go from land to land.