A Midsummer Holiday and Other Poems
Algernon Charles Swinburne
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The sea is at ebb, and the sound of her utmost word Is soft as the least wave's lapse in a still small reach. From bay into bay, on quest of a goal deferred, From headland ever to headland and breach to breach Where earth gives ear to the message that all days preach With changes of gladness and sadness that cheer and chide, The lone way lures me along by a chance untried That haply, if hope dissolve not and faith be whole, Not all for nought shall I seek, with a dream for guide. The goal that is not, and ever again the goal. The trackless ways are untravelled of sail or bird; The hoar wave hardly recedes from the soundless beach. The silence of instant noon goes nigh to be heard, The viewless void to be visible: all and each, A closure of calm no clamour of storm can breach Concludes and confines and absorbs them on either side, All forces of light and of life and the live world's pride. Sands hardly ruffled of ripples that hardly roll Seem ever to show as in reach of a swift brief stride The goal that is not, and ever again the goal.