As the clouds swept rapidly across the sky they brought some short-lived sunny intervals between the fierce blasts of snow and hail, and for brief moments the world took on some colour again. Algy perched alone on the rocks beside the sea, feeling distinctly windswept and battered by the storm, and listened attentively to the endless sound of the waves. It reminded him of a poem:
Consider the sea’s listless chime:
Time’s self it is, made audible, –
The murmur of the earth’s own shell.
Secret continuance sublime
Is the sea’s end: our sight may pass
No furlong further. Since time was,
This sound hath told the lapse of time.
No quiet, which is death’s,– it hath
The mournfulness of ancient life,
Enduring always at dull strife.
As the world’s heart of rest and wrath,
Its painful pulse is in the sands.
Lost utterly, the whole sky stands,
Grey and not known, along its path.
Listen, alone beside the sea,
Listen alone among the woods;
Those voices of twin solitudes
Shall have one sound alike to thee:
Hark where the murmurs of thronged men
Surge and sink back and surge again, –
Still the one voice of wave and tree.
Gather a shell from the strewn beach
And listen at its lips: they sigh
The same desire and mystery,
The echo of the whole sea’s speech.
And all mankind is thus at heart
Not anything but what thou art:
And Earth, Sea, Man, are all in each.
[ Algy is quoting the poem The Sea Limits by the 19th century English Pre-Raphaelite poet and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. ]