An Anthology of Modern Bohemian Poetry/By the Ocean

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Růzena Jesenská (b. 1863).




The night is deep and dark, with starry skies,
Before me lies the ocean's vast domain;
Its organ's psalm in storm to heaven doth rise,
In mystic distance vanishing again.
And on their crests the billows are aglow
With azure eyes that haunt the depths below;
The shadows quiver, full of phantom sprites. . . .
Some black-hued ship, long sunken to its doom,
Unheard was swimming in the veils of gloom,
Where blinks the golden eye of beacon lights. . . .

Here is the ocean—with a heavenly maze
Of unplumbed secrets, dread, alluring ocean,
With clouds and worlds, with gloom of hidden ways,
Like to a ruthless law, a dream in motion,
And comforting as Death . . . .

Alone I pass,

Before me is the ocean—mighty glass,

Wherein Eternity may send a glance
On restless passion, majesty of rest!

The ship draws nigh from far away perchance. . . .
Does it behold me, in my glowing zest?
Does it not stray ? And founders not the skiff,
Which decked with garlands should for me be sent?

O dismal shores, with many a barren cliff,
By boundless ocean!
Night and gloom are blent. . . .


"When the Hour is Late" (1910).