Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

What The Shore Says To The Sea: Ebb-Tide

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Old, old,
Centuries old,
How old a love is, who can say?
It is an ancient day
Since thou and I wert wed.
The orb├ęd sky bent down,
A fiery, scornful crown,
Not craven pale as now,
Live-red to bind thy brow,
Crested red and lonely
Only
To coronet thy head.


Thou, I,
Beneath His eye,
Existed solitary, grand.
O only life! the life of sea and land!
All puny heritage
Of puny love and loss.
Came mimic after us;
Our mighty wedlock meant
More than their supplement.
Ere these, we perfect were,
And are,
In pain and privilege.


My own true-hearted!
Since first He parted
Thee from me,
Behold and see
How dreary, mute,
Bound hand and foot,
Stretched, starved, I lie!
I hear thee stepping by,
And weep to see
Thee yearn to me.
Bound by an awful Will
Forever and forever thou dost move
An awful errand on.
O Love!
Steal up and say,--is there below, above;
In height or depth, or choice or unison,
Of woes a woe like mine,--
To lie so near to thine,
And yet forever and forever to lie still!

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Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward