Sir Lewis Morris

1833 - 1907 / Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire


ONLY eighteen winters old !
Lay her with a tender hand
On the delicate, ribbed sea-sand :
Stiff and cold ; ay, stiff and cold.

What she has been, who shall care ?
Looking on her as she lies
With those stony, sightless eyes,
And the sea-weed in her hair.

Think, O mothers ! how the deep
All the dreary night did rave ;
Thundering foam and crested wave,
While your darlings lay asleep.

How she cleft the midnight air;
And the idiot surge beneath
Whirled her sea-ward to her death,
Angry that she was so fair.

Tossed her, beat her, till no more
Rage could do, through all the night ;
Then with morning's ghastly light,
Flung her down upon the shore.

Mother ! when brief years ago
You were happy in your child,
Smiling on her as she smiled,
Thought you she would perish so ?

Man ! who made her what she is ;
What, if when you falsely swore
You would love her more and more,
You had seen her lie like this.

And, O Infinite Cause ! didst Thou,
When Thou mad'st this hapless child,
Dowered with passions, fierce and wild,
See her lie as she lies now ?

Filled with wild revolt and rage,
All I feel I may not speak ;
Fate so strong, and we so weak,
Like rats in a cage,—like rats in a cage.
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