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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Beside the Winter Sea

By Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts (1860–1943)

From ‘Book of the Native’

AS one who sleeps and hears across his dream

The cry of battles ended long ago,

Inland I hear the calling of the sea.

I hear its hollow voices, though between

My wind-worn dwelling and thy wave-worn strand

How many miles, how many mountains are!

And thou beside the winter sea alone

Art walking with thy cloak about thy face.

Bleak, bleak the tide, and evening coming on;

And gray the pale, pale light that wans thy face.

Solemnly breaks the long wave at thy feet;

And sullenly in patches clings the snow

Upon the low, red rocks worn round with years.

I see thine eyes, I see their grave desire,

Unsatisfied and lonely as the sea’s,—

Yet how unlike the wintry sea’s despair!

For could my feet but follow thine, my hands

But reach for thy warm hands beneath thy cloak,

What summer joy would lighten in thy face,

What sunshine warm thy eyes, and thy sad mouth

Break to a dewy rose and laugh on mine!