John Bannister Tabb

The Petrel

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A wanderer o'er the sea-graves ever green,
Whereon the foam-flowers blossom day by day,
Thou flittest as a doomful shadow gray
That from the wave no sundering light can wean.
What wouldst thou from the deep unfathomed glean,
Frail voyager? and whither leads thy way?
Or art thou, as the sailor legends say,
An exile from the spirit-world unseen?

Lo! desolate, above a colder tide,
Pale Memory, a sea-bird like to thee,
Flits outward where the whitening billows hide
What seemed of Life the one reality,--
A mist whereon the morning bloom hath died,
Returning, ghost-like, to the restless sea.

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