Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
Light
By John James Procter (1838–1909?)
 
BREAK o’er the sea! Break on the night!
Ever blessèd and holy light;
Shed but one ray, but one joyous beam,
Wherever the eastern waters gleam—
But one small ray, for the night is dark,        5
And the ocean waits for the first bright spark;
Others are longing too for thee:
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!
 
O dawn! O rosy-fingered dawn!
Come up and herald another morn;        10
Come, till the dark mists fly away;
Come, till the night gives place to day;
Come, where the deep black waters boom;
Come, through the veil of the sullen gloom;
All things are longing, O light, for thee:        15
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!
 
O day! O happy, happy day!
Chase the gloomy shadows away.
Though Nature’s slumbers seem calm and deep,
There are those on earth who cannot sleep—        20
Those who in toil alone are blest—
Those who in labour alone find rest.
Hearts that are breaking have need of thee:
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!
 
O light! O tender, tender light!        25
There came a cry through the livelong night;
Wherever a mortal foot has trod,
A cry of woe to a loving God,
From those who would drink of the fabled wave
That gives forgetfulness long as the grave:        30
Sorrowing souls have need of thee:
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!
 
O waves that were moaning all night long,
Break out, and join in the angels’ song;
Thunder it out with shock on shock        35
Into the ears of the dull hard rock:
Whisper it low to the far-off strand
Where the riplets lazily laugh on the sand,
Till earth shall echo from flower to tree,
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!        40
 
O type of the Everlasting Day!
Come from the East land far away—
The land whence once came a holy voice
Bidding all mourning hearts rejoice;
Come, and recall its echoes now,        45
Flash on the darkened and sullen brow,
Bid all doubts and all sorrows flee:
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!
 
O Sun, rise up from thy watery bed!
Rise, till the shades of night have fled!        50
Sweep on, on thy mission, and linger not,
With rays of love, on each sacred spot,
Where he, the Pure One, for sinners bled,
Where earth once covered her Maker’s head—
He that made thee is calling to thee,        55
    Break o’er the sea! Break o’er the sea!
 
 
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