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Ebb-Tide
by [?]


Long reaches of wet grasses sway
Where ran the sea but yesterday,
And white-winged boats at sunset drew
To anchor in the crimsoning blue.
The boats lie on the grassy plain,
Nor tug nor fret at anchor chain;
Their errand done, their impulse spent,
Chained by an alien element,
With sails unset they idly lie,
Though morning beckons brave and nigh;
Like wounded birds, their flight denied,
They lie, and long and wait the tide.

About their keels, within the net
Of tough grass fibres green and wet,
A myriad thirsty creatures, pent
In sorrowful imprisonment,
Await the beat, distinct and sweet,
Of the white waves’ returning feet.
My soul their vigil joins, and shares
A nobler discontent than theirs;
Athirst like them, I patiently
Sit listening beside the sea,
And still the waters outward glide:
When is the turning of the tide?

Come, pulse of God; come, heavenly thrill!
We wait thy coming,–and we will.
The world is vast, and very far
Its utmost verge and boundaries are;
But thou hast kept thy word to-day
In India and in dim Cathay,
And the same mighty care shall reach
Each humblest rock-pool of this beach.
The gasping fish, the stranded keel,
This dull dry soul of mine, shall feel
Thy freshening touch, and, satisfied,
Shall drink the fulness of the tide.