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By the Sea

  I walked with her I love by the sea,
    The deep came up with its chanting waves,
  Making a music so great and free
    That the will and the faith, which were dead in me,
          Awoke and rose from their graves.

  Chanting, and with a regal sweep
    Of their 'broidered garments up and down
  The strand, came the mighty waves of the deep,
    Dragging the wave-worn drift from its sleep
          Along the sea-sands bare and brown.

  "O my soul, make the song of the sea!" I cried.
    "How it comes, with its stately tread,
  And its dreadful voice, and the splendid pride
    Of its regal garments flowing wide
          Over the land!" to my soul I said.

  My soul was still; the deep went down.
    "What hast thou, my soul," I cried,
  "In thy song?" "The sea-sands bare and brown,
    With broken shells and sea-weed strown,
          And stranded drift," my soul replied.


William Dean Howells