The low sandy beach and the thin scrub pine,
The wide reach of bay and the long sky line, —
O, I am sick for home!
The salt, salt smell of the thick sea air,
And the smooth round stones that the ebbtides wear, —
When will the good ship come?
The wretched stumps all charred and burned,
And the deep soft rut where the cartwheel turned, —
Why is the world so old?
As in the midst of battle there is room
For thoughts of love, and in foul sin for mirth;
As gossips whisper of a trinket’ s worth
Spied by the death-bed’ s flickering candle-gloom;
As in the crevices of Caesar’ s tomb
The sweet herbs flourish on a little earth:
So in this great disaster of our birth
We can be happy, and forget our doom.
For morning, with a ray of tenderest joy
Gilding the iron heaven, hides the truth,
And evening gently woos us to employ
Our grief in idle catches. Such is youth;
There may be chaos still around the world,
This little world that in my thinking lies;
For mine own bosom is the paradise
Where all my life’ s fair visions are unfurled.
Within my nature’ s shell I slumber curled,
Unmindful of the changing outer skies,
Where now, perchance, some new-born Eros flies,
Or some old Cronos from his throne is hurled.
I heed them not; or if the subtle night
Haunt me with deities I never saw,
I soon mine eyelid’ s drowsy curtain draw
To hide their myriad faces from my sight.