IN the wan sunlight, when the day was ending,
The chilly autumn day,
I walkt where waves dasht white and lonely, wending
Mine unforgotten way
Across the long, low sands that hem the sea,
Where in the summer days one walkt with me.
Dark clouds blew up from eastward, and the loud land
Rang with the calling wind;
The last red rays lagg'd in a desert cloudland
Of desert west behind;
And on the dull sea-line a single sail
Shone red, far-off, and faded, faint and pale.
The twilight follow'd hard the trailing sunlight
Across the yellow sands;
I walkt and was in darkness, lacking one light,
And empty were my hands.
Yet ever from the wailing sea there came
Voices that echoed one remember'd name!
The sea's face only, veil'd in desolation,
And sad with foam like tears!
A face all wrinkled from its prime creation
With burdens of the years, -
With grievous burdens; and for their distress,
The gray lips part in sighs of bitterness.
O sea, thou knowest only what hath vanisht,
Not what is yet to be;
From thy wan face hath time the last smile banisht -
Thou hast no hope, O sea!
Thy waysare dark; and on the darkening shore
Thy wet white feet stumble forevermore!