The City And The Sea


    The panting City cried to the Sea,
    "I am faint with heat,--O breathe on me!"

    And the Sea said, "Lo, I breathe! but my breath
    To some will be life, to others death!"

    As to Prometheus, bringing ease
    In pain, come the Oceanides,

    So to the City, hot with the flame
    Of the pitiless sun, the east wind came.

    It came from the heaving breast of the deep,
    Silent as dreams are, and sudden as sleep.

    Life-giving, death-giving, which will it be;
    O breath of the merciful, merciless Sea?


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Return to the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; The Courtship of Miles Standish

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