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Poem of the week: The Tides by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Awash with syntactical and structural fluctuations that embody its central theme, Longfellow’s restless Petrarchan sonnet ranges far beyond technical virtuosity

The Tides

I saw the long line of the vacant shore,
The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,
As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.
Then heard I, more distinctly than before,
The ocean breathe and its great breast expand,
And hurrying came on the defenceless land
The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song
Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o’er me
They swept again from their deep ocean bed,
And in a tumult of delight, and strong
As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.

Related: Poem of the week: From Longfellow's translation of the Divine Comedy

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