They say that yonder rock once towered
Upon a wide and grassy plain,
Lord of the land, until the sea
Usurped his green domain:
Yet now remembering the fair scene
Where once he reigned without endeavor,
The great rock in the ocean stands
And battles with the waves for ever.
How oft, O rock, must visit thee
Sweet visions of the ancient calm.
All amorous with birds and bees,
And odorous with balm!
Ah me, the terrors of the time
When the grim, wrinkled sea advances,
And winds and waves with direful cries
Arouse thee from thy happy trances!
To no soft tryst they waken thee,
No sunny scene of perfect rest,
But to the raging sea's vanguard
Thundering against thy breast:
No singing birds are round thee now,
But the wild wind, the roaring surges,
And gladly would they hurl thee down
And mock thee in eternal dirges.
But be it thine to conquer them;
And may thy firm enduring form
Still frown upon the hurricane,
Still grandly front the storm:
And while the tall ships come and go,
And come and go the generations,
May thy proud presence yet remain
A wonder unto all the nations.
Sometime, perchance, O lonely rock,
Thou may'st regain thine ancient seat,
May'st see once more the meadow shine,
And hear the pasture bleat:
But ah, methinks even then thy breast
Would stir and yearn with fond emotion,
To meet once more in glorious war
The roaring cohorts of the ocean.