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A HEAP of bare and splintery crags
Tumbled about by lightning and frost,
With rifts and chasms and storm-bleached jags,
That wait and growl for a ship to be lost ;
No island, but rather the skeleton
Of a wrecked and vengeance-smitten one,
Where, æons ago, with half-shut eye,
The sluggish saurian crawled to die,
Gasping under titanic ferns;
Ribs of rock that seaward jut,
Granite shoulders and boulders and snags,
Round which, though the winds in heaven be shut,
The nightmared ocean murmurs and yearns,
Welters, and swashes, and tosses, and turns,
And the dreary black sea-weed lolls and wags;
Only rock from shore to shore,
Only a moan through the bleak clefts blown,
With sobs in the rists where the coarse kelp shifts,
Falling and lifting, tossing and drifting,
And under all a deep, dull roar,
Dying and swelling, for evermore, —

and moan and roar alone,
And the dread of some nameless thing unknown,
These make Appledore.
These make Appledore by night ;
Then there are monsters left and right;
Every rock is a different monster;
All you have read of, fancied, dreamed,
When you waked at night because you screamed,
There they lie for half a mile,
Jumbled together in a pile,
And (though you know they never once stir),
If you look long, they seem to be moving
Just as plainly as plain can be,
Crushing and crowding, wading and shoving
Out into the awful sea,
Where you can hear them snort and spout
With pauses between, as if they were listening,
Then tumult anon when the surf breaks glistening
In the blackness where they wallow about.

II. All this you would scarcely comprehend, Should you see the isle on a sunny day; Then it is simple enough in its way, Two rocky bulgas, one at each end, With a smaller bulge and a hollow between ; Patches of whortleberry and bay; Accidents of open green, Sprinkled with loose slabs square and gray, Like graveyards for ages deserted : a few Unsocial thistles; an elder or two, Foamed over with blossoms white as spray ; And on the whole island never a tree Save a score of sumachs, high as your knee, That crouch in hollows where they may, (The cellars where once stood a village, men say,) Huddling for warmth, and never grew Tall enough for a peep at the sea ; A general dazzle of open blue ; A breeze always blowing and playing rat-tat With the bow of the ribbon round your hat ; A score of sheep that do nothing but stare Up or down at you everywhere; Three or four cattle that chew the cud Lying about in a listless despair ; A medrick that makes you look overhead With short, sharp scream, as he sights his prey, And, dropping straight and swift as lead, Splits the water with sudden thud ;This is Appledore by day. A common island, you will say ; But stay a inoment : only climb Up to the highest rock of the isle, Stand there alone for a little while, And with gentle approaches it grows sublime, Dilating slowly as you win A sense from the silence to take it in. So wide the loneness, so lucid the air, The granite beneath you so savagely bare, You well might think you were looking down From some sky-silenced mountain's crown, Whose far-down pines are wont to tear Locks of wool from the topmost cloud. Only be sure you go alone, For Grandeur is inaccessibly proud, And never yet has backward thrown


Her veil to feed the stare of a crowd ;
To more than one was never shown
That awsul front, nor is it fit
That she, Cothurnus-shod, stand bowed
Until the self-approving pit
Enjoy the gust of its own wit
In babbling plaudits cheaply loud ;
She hides her mountains and her sea
From the harriers of scenery,
Who hunt down sunsets, and huddle and bay,
Mouthing and mumbling the dying day.
Trust me, 'tis something to be cast
Face to face with one's Self at last,
To be taken out of the fuss and strife,
The endless clatter of plate and knise,
The bore of books and the bores of the street,
From the singular mess we agree to call Life.
Where that is best which the most fools vote is,
And to be set down on one's own two feet
So nigh to the great warm heart of God,
You almost seem to feel it beat
Down from the sunshine and up from the sod;
To be compelled, as it were, to notice
All the beautiful changes and chances
Through which the landscape Aits and glances,
And to see how the face of common day
Is written all over with tender histories,
When you study it that intenser way
In which a lover looks at his mistress.

Till now you dreamed not what could be done
With a bit of rock and a ray of sun ;
But look, how farle the lights and shades
Of keen bare edge and crevice deep !
How doubtfully it fades and sades,
And glows again, yon craggy steep,
O'er which, through colour's dreamiest grades,
The yellow sunbeams pause and creep !
Now pink it blooms, now glimmers gray,
Now shadows to a filmy blue,
Tries one, tries all, and will not stay,
But fits from opal hue to hue,
And runs through every tenderest range
Of change that seems not to be change,
So rare the sweep, so nice the art,
That lays no stress on any part,

But shifts and lingers and persuades ;
So soft that sun-brush in the west,
That asks no costlier pigment’s aids,
But mingling knobs, flaws, angles, dints,
Indifferent of worst or best,
Enchants the cliffs with wraiths and hints
And gracious preludings of tints,
Where all seems fixed, yet all evades,
And indefinably pervades
Perpetual movement with perpetual rest !

Away northeast is Boone Island light ;
You might mistake it for a ship,
Only it stands too plumb upright,
And like the others does not slip
Behind the sea's unsteady brink;
Though, if a cloud-shade chance to dip
Upon it a moment, 'twill suddenly sink,
Levelled and lost in the darkened main,
Till the sun builds it suddenly up again,
As if with a rub of Aladdin's lamp.
On the main-land you see a misty camp
Of mountains pitched tumultuously:
That one looming so long and large
Is Saddleback, and that point you see
Over yon low and rounded marge,
Like the boss of a sleeping giant's targe
Laid over his breast, is Ossipee ;
That shadow there may be Kearsarge ;
That must be Great Haystack ; I love these names,
Wherewith the lonely farmer tames
Nature to mute companionship
With his own mind's domestic mood,
And strives the surly world to clip
In the arms of familiar habitude
'Tis well he could not contrive to make
A Saxon of Agamenticus :
He glowers there to the north of us,
Wrapt in his blanket of blue haze,
Unconvertibly savage, and scorns to take
The white man's baptism or his ways.
Him first on shore the coaster divines
Through the early gray, and sees him shake
The morning mist from his scalp-lock of pines ;
Him first the skipper makes out in the west,
Ere the earliest sunstreak shoots tremulous,

Plashing with orange the palpitant lines
Of mutable billow, crest after crest,
And murmurs Agamenticus !
As if it were the name of a saint.
But is that a mountain playing cloud,
Or a cloud playing mountain, just there, so faint ?
Look along over the low right shoulder
Of Agamenticus into that crowd
Of brassy thunderheads behind it;
Now you have caught it, but, ere you are older
By half an hour, you will lose it and find it
A score of times ; 'while you look 'tis gone,
And, just as you've given it up, anon
It is there again, till your weary eyes
Fancy they see it waver and rise,
With its brother clouds ; it is Agiochook,
There if you seek not, and gone if you look,
Ninety miles off as the eagle flies.
But mountains make not all the shore
The main-land shows to Appledore ;
Eight miles the heaving water spreads
To a long low coast with beaches and heads
That run through unimagined mazes,
As the lights and shades and magical hazes
Put them away or bring them near,
Shimmering, sketched out for thirty miles
Between two capes that waver like threads,
And sink in the ocean, and reappear,
Crumbled and melted to little isles,
With filmy trees, that seem the mere
Half-fancies of drowsy atmosphere;
And see the beach there, where it is
Flat as a threshing-floor, beaten and packed
With the flashing flails of weariless seas,
How it lifts and looms to a precipice,
O’er whose square front, a dream, no more,
The steepened sand-stripes seem to pour,
A murmurless vision of cataract :
You almost fancy you hear a roar,
Fitful and faint from the distance wandering ;
But 'tis only the blind old oeean maundering,
Raking the shingle to and fro,
Aimlessly clutching and letting go
The kelp-haired sedges of Appledore,
Slipping down with a sleepy forgetting,
And anon his ponderous shoulder setting,
With a deep, hoarse pant against Appledore.

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