Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
VII. The Sea
The Sea
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
 
                    BEHOLD the Sea,
The opaline, the plentiful and strong,
Yet beautiful as is the rose in June,
Fresh as the trickling rainbow of July:
Sea full of food, the nourisher of kinds,        5
Purger of earth, and medicine of men;
Creating a sweet climate by my breath,
Washing out harms and griefs from memory,
And, in my mathematic ebb and flow,
Giving a hint of that which changes not.        10
Rich are the sea-gods:—who gives gifts but they?
They grope the sea for pearls, but more than pearls:
They pluck Force thence, and give it to the wise.
For every wave is wealth to Dædalus,
Wealth to the cunning artist who can work        15
This matchless strength. Where shall he find, O waves!
A load your Atlas shoulders cannot lift?
  I with my hammer pounding evermore
The rocky coast, smite Andes into dust,
Strewing my bed, and, in another age,        20
Rebuild a continent of better men.
Then I unbar the doors: my paths lead out
The exodus of nations: I disperse
Men to all shores that front the hoary main.
 
 
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