by Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836 - 1907)

Language: English 
See where she stands, on the wet sea-sands,
Looking across the water:
Wild is the night, but wilder still
The face of the fisher's daughter.

What does she there, in the lightning's glare,
What does she there, I wonder?
What dread demon drags her forth
In the night and wind and thunder?

Is it the ghost that haunts this coast? --
The cruel waves mount higher,
And the beacon pierces the stormy dark
With its javelin of fire.

Beyond the light of the beacon bright
A merchantman is tacking;
The hoarse wind whistling through the shrouds,
And the brittle topmasts cracking.

The sea it moans over dead men's bones,
The sea it foams in anger;
The curlews swoop through the resonant air
With a warning cry of danger.

The star-fish clings to the sea-weed's rings
In a vague, dumb sense of peril;
And the spray, with its phantom-fingers, grasps
At the mullein dry and sterile.

O, who is she that stands by the sea,
In the lightning's glare, undaunted? --
Seems this now like the coast of hell
By one white spirit haunted!

The night drags by; and the breakers die
Along the ragged ledges;
The robin stirs in his drenchéd nest,
The hawthorn blooms on the hedges.

In shimmering lines, through the dripping pines,
The stealthy morn advances;
And the heavy sea-fog straggles back
Before those bristling lances.

Still she stands on the wet sea-sands;
The morning breaks above her,
And the corpse of a sailor gleams on the rocks --
What if it were her lover?


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-06-16
Line count: 40
Word count: 255