Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works
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MEMORIALS OF A TOUR ON THE CONTINENT, 1820

I. FISH-WOMEN--ON LANDING AT CALAIS

          'Tis said, fantastic ocean doth enfold
          The likeness of whate'er on land is seen;
          But, if the Nereid Sisters and their Queen,
          Above whose heads the tide so long hath rolled,
          The Dames resemble whom we here behold,
          How fearful were it down through opening waves
          To sink, and meet them in their fretted caves,
          Withered grotesque, immeasurably old,
          And shrill and fierce in accent!--Fear it not:
          For they Earth's fairest daughters do excel;                10
          Pure undecaying beauty is their lot;
          Their voices into liquid music swell,
          Thrilling each pearly cleft and sparry grot,
          The undisturbed abodes where Sea-nymphs dwell!


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