Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

What The Sea Says To The Shore: Flood-Tide

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O Sweet!
I kiss thy feet.
It is permitted me
So much to keep of thee,
So much to give to thee.
Reverently
I touch thy dusky garments' hem.
Thy dazzling feet lie bare;
But now the moonlit air,
In hurrying by, did gaze at them.
Who can guess
The temper of a love denied?
See! to my lips I press,--
I press and hide
Thy sweet
Sad feet,
And cover them from sight of all the world.


Till thou and I were riven apart,
Never was it known
By any one
That storms could tear an ocean's heart.
Nor shall it be again
That storms can cause an ocean pain.
But when He said:
"No farther, thus far, shalt thou go;
And here,
In fear,
Shall thy proud waves be stayed,"--
Raging, rebel, and afraid,
What could shore or ocean do?


Fling down thy long loose hair
For a little share
Of the little kiss I still may bring to thee.
O Love! turn unto me!
The hours are short that I may be
Rich though so scantily,
Blest although so broken-hearted.
Sweet my Love! when we are parted,
When unheard orders bid me go
Obedient to an unknown Will,
The pain of pains selects me so,
That I must go, and thou lie still.
While yet my lips may hunger near thy feet,
Turn to me, Sweet!

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