The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood, by Thomas Hood

The Sea of Death.

A Fragment.

—— Methought I saw

Life swiftly treading over endless space;

And, at her foot-print, but a bygone pace,

The ocean-past, which, with increasing wave,

Swallow’d her steps like a pursuing grave.

Sad were my thoughts that anchor’d silently

On the dead waters of that passionless sea,

Unstirr’d by any touch of living breath:

Silence hung over it, and drowsy Death,

Like a gorged sea-bird, slept with folded wings

On crowded carcases — sad passive things

That wore the thin gray surface, like a veil

Over the calmness of their features pale.

And there were spring-faced cherubs that did sleep

Like water-lilies on that motionless deep,

How beautiful! with bright unruffled hair

On sleek unfretted brows, and eyes that were

Buried in marble tombs, a pale eclipse!

And smile-bedimpled cheeks, and pleasant lips,

Meekly apart, as if the soul intense

Spake out in dreams of its own innocence:

And so they lay in loveliness, and kept

The birth-night of their peace, that Life e’en wept

With very envy of their happy fronts;

For there were neighbor brows scarr’d by the brunts

Of strife and sorrowing — where Care had set

His crooked autograph, and marr’d the jet

Of glassy locks, with hollow eyes forlorn,

And lips that curl’d in bitterness and scorn —

Wretched — as they had breathed of this world’s pain,

And so bequeathed it to the world again,

Through the beholder’s heart in heavy sighs.

So lay they garmented in torpid light,

Under the pall of a transparent night,

Like solemn apparitions lull’d sublime

To everlasting rest — and with them Time

Slept, as he sleeps upon the silent face

Of a dark dial in a sunless place.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:51