Sunday, May 18, 2008

Time #16, The Sea #7

Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee—
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wash’d them power while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts:—not so thou;—
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play—
Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow
Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,—
Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime,
Dark-heaving—boundless, endless, and sublime,
The image of eternity, the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.

Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto IV, Stanzas 182-183