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It is dead low tide, and the wasted sea beats far;
Up from the caves of the underworld slowly climb
Night and her shadows unconquered from eldest time!
The cry of the sea-bird is hushed on the glimmering bar,
And the beach, with its strewing of dulse, is lonely and wide:
It is dead low tide.


The rocks are divulged, that hidden and cruel lie,
Under the waves in wait, as the beast in its lair!
Huge and harmless they shoulder the dusk night air;
A lighthouse gleams--they are charmed by its sorcerous eye!
The rocks are uncovered, and many a wreck beside:
It is dead low tide.


Not now shall the willing keel slip down to the sea,
Not now shall the home-desiring bark come home;
The rocking surge is a dream, and the flying foam,
And the sails that over the windy billows roam--
A dream! for the sea is gone, and the wind has died:
It is dead low tide.


There is rest from motion, from toil; yet it is not rest!
The sounds of the land and the sea-sounds falter and cease;
The wave is at peace with the shore; yet it is not peace!
As the soldier at truce, as the pilgrim detained on his quest,
Baffled and silent, yet watchful, all things abide
The turn of the tide.


I too abide. To the spirit within responds
The baffled yet watchful spirit of all things without.
"Shall I rest forever, beleaguered by sloth and doubt?"
"Not so; thou shalt rise and break the enchanted bonds,
And the limit that mocked thee with laughter shalt override
At turn of the tide!"


Still higher the Night ascends, and star upon star
Arises by low-lying isle, and by headland steep,
And fathoms with silver-light the slumbering deep....
Hark! was it a lapsing ripple along the bar?
Hark! was it the wind that awoke, remembered, and sighed?
Is it turn of the tide?