The sun was swimming in the purple tide,
His golden locks far floating on the sea,
When thou and I stole beachward, side by side,
To say adieu and dream of joys to be.
The ebbing waves were whispering to the strand
Amid the rocks a tender, sweet good-bye-
Ah! Well that night could we two understand
What bitter grief was in their ceaseless cry.

The salt wind blew across the rank marsh grass,
And laid its chilling, fingers on our pulse.
Sea nettles lay in many a shapeless mass,
Half hidden, in the garnet hills of dulse.
The awkward crabs ran sideways from our path,
And starfish sprawled face downward in the mud;
While, token of some bleak December's wrath,
A wreck lay stranded high above the flood.

Few were our words. Love speaks from heart to heart,
Nor needs that rude interpreter the tongue.
A few short hours and fate would bid us part,
No more to stray the weedy rocks among.
We dared not trust our bitter thoughts to speech.
For speech had raised the floodgates of our tears;
And so we walked in silence on the beach
With the wild billows wailing in our ears.

How beautiful thou wast! Thy snowy gown,
Whose rustle made sweet music, part revealed
Thy perfect form. Thy thoughtful eyes and brown,
Beneath their drooping lashes half concealed,
Swam in a sea of tears. Thy tresses played
Wild wanton with the wind, and kissed each cheek,
That flushed and paled, till one had well nigh said.
Thy very blood did think and love and speak.

We sat within the shelter of the boat.
That, buried in the sand for half its length,
Before the black-browed storm no more would float
Nor like a gull defy the tempest's strength.
We spoke of pleasures past, of joys to be
When we should meet again nor ever part.
I faltered forth my deathless love for thee,
And in thy tearful silence read thy heart.

We looked upon the setting of the sun;
We marked the summer twilight fade away;
We saw the star-worlds rising, one by one,
And, stooping, kiss the surface of the bay.
Then sitting in the moonlight, each by each,
I bent and kissed away thy lingering tears;
While ever plunged the billows on the beach
And sent their dreary cadence to our ears.

The sun was swimming in the purple tide,
His golden locks far floating on the sea,
When I stole forth yestre'en and sat beside
The stranded wreck to dream again of thee.
Across my cheek I felt the marsh wind sweep,
Still called the sea along the darkening shore,
Again the changeless stars began to peep;
Naught save thyself had changed since days of yore.

O! happy period of my early youth!
When Love was master, Reason but a slave,
When friends seemed heroes, woman crystal truth,
Success the certain portion of the brave:
Come back, come back and give me ere I die
The pure ideal of my life again!
In vain I plead. Time's snowy ashes lie
Cold on the hearth-stone of my aged brain.