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GeorgeGordon Byron : from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage — Canto IV

				CLXXIX
	Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean— roll!
	Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
	Man marks the earth with ruin—his control
	Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain
	The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
	A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
	When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
	He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and
 	unknown. 

				CLXXX
	His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
	Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
	And shake him from thee; the vile strength he
		wields
	For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
	Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
	And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
	And howling, to his Gods, where haply lies
	His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.

				CLXXXI
	The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
	Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
	And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
	The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
	Their clay creator the vain title take
	Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war—
	These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
	They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride or spoils of Trafalgar1.

				CLXXXII
	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.

				CLXXXIII
	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. 

				CLXXXIV
	And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
	Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
	Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
	I wanton’d with thy breakers—they to me
	Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
	Made them a terror—‘twas a pleasing fear,
	For I was as it were a child of thee,
	And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here. 

GeorgeGordon Byron (1788-1824)	1817

 
FOOTNOTES
1 many ships of the Spanish armada were lost through storms at sea towards the end of the sixteenth century during an attack against England; similarly during the battle of Trafalgar against Napoleon, much of the French fleet was shipwrecked due to bad weather
 

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