May 28, 2009

The Secret of the Sea

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May the charming words of this lovely poem inspire you today.



--Description: 19th C, Longfellow H., Nature--


Ah! what pleasant visions haunt me
As I gaze upon the sea!
All the old romantic legends,
All my dreams, come back to me.

Sails of silk and ropes of sandal,
Such as gleam in ancient lore;
And the singing of the sailors,
And the answer from the shore!

Most of all, the Spanish ballad
Haunts me oft, and tarries long,
Of the noble Count Arnaldos
And the sailor's mystic song.

Like the long waves on a sea-beach,
Where the sand as silver shines,
With a soft, monotonous cadence,
Flow its unrhymed lyric lines:--

Telling how the Count Arnaldos,
With his hawk upon his hand,
Saw a fair and stately galley,
Steering onward to the land;--

How he heard the ancient helmsman
Chant a song so wild and clear,
That the sailing sea-bird slowly
Poised upon the mast to hear,

Till his soul was full of longing,
And he cried, with impulse strong,--
"Helmsman! for the love of heaven,
Teach me, too, that wondrous song!"

"Wouldst thou,"--so the helmsman answered,
"Learn the secret of the sea?
Only those who brave its dangers
Comprehend its mystery!"

In each sail that skims the horizon,
In each landward-blowing breeze,
I behold that stately galley,
Hear those mournful melodies;

Till my soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


--Did You Know: After graduating in 1825, he was offered a job as professor of modern languages at his alma mater. The story, possibly apocryphal, is that an influential trustee, Benjamin Orr, had been so impressed by Longfellow's translation of Horace that he was hired under the condition that he travel to Europe to study French, Spanish, and Italian.

--Word of the Day: sagacious \suh-GAY-shus\, adjective:
Meaning: Having or showing keen discernment, sound judgment, and farsightedness.
Example: Edward's uncle, a sagacious scholar equally at home with Celtic myth and Eastern wisdom, declines his nephew's request to tell the story of Hamlet (it would come too close to home).
(John Gross, New York Times, December 3, 1984)

--Quote of the Day: "I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

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