But see! . . . the body does not sink;
It rides upon the tide
(A starbeam on the dagger's haft),
With staring eyes and wide . . .
And now, up from the darkling sea,
Down from the failing moon,
Are come strange shapes to mock at me . . .
All pallid from the star-pale sea,
White from the paling moon . . .

Or whirling fast or wheeling slow
Around, around the corpse they go,
All bloodless o'er the sickened sea
Beneath the ailing moon!

And are they only wisps of fog
That dance along the waves?
Only shapes of mist the wind
Drives along the waves?
Or are they spirits that the sea
Has cheated of their graves?
The ghosts of them that died at sea,
Of murdered men flung in the sea,
Whose bodies had no graves?-
Lost souls that haunt for evermore
The sobbing reef and hollowed shore
And always-murmuring caves?

Ah, surely something more than fog,
More than starlit mist!
For starlight never makes a sound
And fogs are ever whist-
But hearken, hearken, hearken, now,
For these sing as they dance!

As airily, as eerily,
They wheel about and whirl,
They jeer at me, they fleer at me,
They flout me as they swirl!
As whirling fast or swaying slow,
Reeling, wheeling, to and fro,
Around, around the corpse they go,
They chill me with their chants!
These be neither men nor mists-
Hearken to their chants:

Ever, ever, ever,
Drifting like a blossom
Seaward, with the starlight
Wan upon her bosom-
Ever when the quickened
Heart of night is throbbing,
Ever when the trembling
Tide sets seaward, sobbing,
Shall you see this burden
Borne upon its ebbing:
See her drifting seaward
Like a broken blossom,

Ever see the starlight
Kiss her bruised bosom.

Flight availeth nothing . . .
Still the subtle beaches
Draw you back where Horror
Walks their shingled reaches . . .
Ever shall your spirit
Hear the surf resounding,
Evermore the ocean
Thwarting you and bounding;
Vainly struggle inland!
Lashing you and hounding,
Still the vision hales you
From the upland reaches,
Goading you and gripping,
Binds you to the beaches!

Ever, ever, ever,
Ever shall her laughter,
Hunting you and haunting,
Mock and follow after;
Rising where the buoy-bell
Clangs across the shallows,

Leaping where the spindrift
Hurtles o'er the hollows,
Ringing where the moonlight
Gleams along the billows,
Ever, ever, ever,
Ever shall her laughter,
Hounding you and haunting,
Whip and follow after!