Encircled by the sea, a stony ledge
Lies at the breaker's edge.
The ebbing and the flowing of the tide
Disclose the rock, and hide.
Now like a granite lion crouching there
Its head is black in air,
And now the whelming waters in a night
Have stolen it from sight.
Still to the nether deep its rocky root
And stone foundations shoot;
Far down, far down, its granite pillar goes
Where tide nor ebbs nor flows,
Unseen or seen, beneath the surges' roar,
Based on earth's central core.
What cares the rock, though now its head is high,
Now hidden from the sky,—
A little more, perchance a little less,
For human eyes to guess?
What matter where the fickle waters run?
The rock and Earth are one!
And thus, poor friends, who mourn, uncomforted,
Your loved, untimely dead.
What though the murky and relentless sea
And that dear form your life were given to save
Lies underneath the wave?
Look with the leaping eye of conquering faith
The gloomy flood beneath;
Well do you know to what unending ends
That vanished life extends;
Well do you know what vast Foundation Stone
Its hope was fixed upon,
Based on the quiet, peaceful, ocean floor,—
The life for evermore!
Death's tide some day will let its captives free:
There shall be no more sea!