A thought by the sea shore

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        "Even in our ashes live their wonted fires."
                        Bury me by the sea,
        When on my heart the hand of Death is press'd.
        If the soul lingers ere she join the bless'd,
                        And haunts awhile her clay,
        Then 'mid the forest shades I would not lie,
        For the green leaves, like me, would droop and die.
                        Nor 'mid the homes of men,
        The haunts of busy life, would I be laid:
        There ever was I lone, and my vexed shade
                        Would sleep unquiet then:
        The surging tide of life might overwhelm
        The shadowy boundaries of the silent realm.
                        No sculptured marble pile,
        To bear my name, be reared upon my breast, --
        Beneath its weight my free soul would not rest;
                        But let the blue sky smile,
        The changeless stars look lovingly on me,
        And let me sleep beside this sounding sea --
                        This ever-beating heart
        Of the great Universe; here would the soul
        Plume her soiled pinions for the final goal,
                        Ere she should thence depart, --
        Here would she fit her for the high abode, --
        Here, by the sea, she would be nearer God.
                        I feel His presence now,
        Thou mightiest of his vassals, as I stand
        And watch beside thee on the sparkling sand,
                        Thy crested billows bow;
        And, as thy solemn chant swells through the air,
        My spirit, awed, joins in thy ceaseless prayer.
                        Life's fitful fever o'er,
        Here then would I repose, majestic sea;
        E'en now faint glimpses of eternity
                        Come o'er me on thy shore:
        My thoughts from thee to highest themes are given,
        As thy deep distant blue is lost in Heaven.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.