Ebb and Flow

I walked beside the evening sea,
And dreamed a dream that could not be;
The waves that plunged along the shore
Said only—“Dreamer, dream no more.”

But still the legions charged the beach;
Loud rang their battle-cry, like speech;
But changed was the imperial strain:
It murmured—“Dreamer, dream again!”

I homeward turned from out the gloom,—
That sound I heard not in my room;
But suddenly a sound, that stirred
Within my very breast, I heard.

It was my heart, that like a sea
Within my breast beat ceaselessly;
But like the waves along the shore,
It said—“Dream on!” and “Dream no more!”

– George William Curtis, 19th century


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