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Poem by Eliza Cook

The Sea-Child

HE crawls to the cliff and plays on a brink
Where every eye but his own would shrink;
No music he hears but the billows noise,
And shells and weeds are his only toys.
No lullaby can the mother find
To sing him to rest like the moaning wind;
And the louder it wails and the fiercer it sweeps,
The deeper he breathes and the sounder he sleeps.

And now his wandering feet can reach
The rugged tracks of the desolate beach;
Creeping about like a Triton imp,
To find the haunts of the crab and shrimp.
He clings, with none to guide or help,
To the furthest ridge of slippery kelp;
And his bold heart glows while he stands and mocks
The seamews cry on the jutting rocks.

Few years have wandand now he stands
Bareheaded on the shelving sands.
A boat is moord, but his young hands cope
Right well with the twisted cable rope;
He frees the craft, she kisses the tide;
The boy has climbd her beaten side:
She driftsshe floatshe shouts with glee;
His soul hath claimd its right on the sea.

T is vain to tell him the howling breath
Rides over the waters with wreck and death:
He ll say there s more of fear and pain
On the plague-ridden earth than the storm-lashd main.
T would be as wise to spend thy power
In trying to lure the bee from the flower,
The lark from the sky, or the worm from the grave,
As in weaning the Sea-Child from the wave. 

Eliza Cook

Eliza Cook's other poems:
  1. St. Patricks Day
  2. The Thames
  3. Teddy O'Neale
  4. Song of the Sailor Boy
  5. Grey-Eyed Mabel

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Katherine Mansfield The Sea-Child ("Into the world you sent her, mother")

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