Seaweed

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807–1882 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When descends on the Atlantic
      The gigantic
Storm-wind of the equinox,
Landward in his wrath he scourges
      The toiling surges,
Laden with seaweed from the rocks:

From Bermuda's reefs; from edges
      Of sunken ledges,
In some far-off, bright Azore;
From Bahama, and the dashing,
      Silver-flashing
Surges of San Salvador;

From the tumbling surf, that buries
      The Orkneyan skerries,
Answering the hoarse Hebrides;
And from wrecks of ships, and drifting
      Spars, uplifting
On the desolate, rainy seas; —

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
      On the shifting
Currents of the restless main;
Till in sheltered coves, and reaches
      Of sandy beaches,
All have found repose again.

So when storms of wild emotion
      Strike the ocean
Of the poet's soul, erelong
From each cave and rocky fastness,
      In its vastness,
Floats some fragment of a song:

From the far-off isles enchanted,
      Heaven has planted
With the golden fruit of Truth;
From the flashing surf, whose vision
      Gleams Elysian
In the tropic clime of Youth;

From the strong Will, and the Endeavor
      That forever
Wrestle with the tides of Fate;
From the wreck of Hopes far-scattered,
      Tempest-shattered,
Floating waste and desolate; —

Ever drifting, drifting, drifting
      On the shifting
Currents of the restless heart;
Till at length in books recorded,
      They, like hoarded
Household words, no more depart.

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Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807–1882

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Henry Wadsworth  Longfellow

Biography

By far the most widely known and best-loved American poet of his time, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow achieved a level of national and international prominence possibly unequaled in the literary history of the United States. Poems such as "Paul Revere's Ride," Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie (1847), and "A Psalm of Life" became mainstays of national culture, long remembered by generations of readers who studied them in school. . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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