Pale ocean rock! that, like a phantom shape,
Or some mysterious spirit’s tenement,
Risest amid this weltering waste of waves,
Lonely and desolate, thy spreading base
Is planted in the sea’s unmeasured depths,
Where rolls the huge leviathan o’er sands
Glistening with shipwrecked treasures. The strong wind
Flings up thy sides a veil of feathery spray
With sunbeams interwoven, and the hues
Which mingle in the rainbow. From thy top
The sea-birds rise, and sweep with sidelong flight
Downward upon their prey; or, with poised wings,
Skim to the horizon o’er the glittering deep.
Our bark, careening to the welcome breeze,
With white sails filled and streamers all afloat,
Shakes from her dripping prow the foam, while we
Gaze on thy outline mingling in the void,
And draw our breath like men who see, amazed,
Some mighty pageant passing. What had been
Our fate last night, if, when the aspiring waves
Were toppling o’er our mainmast, and the stars
Were shrouded in black vapors, we had struck
Full on thy sea-bound pinnacles…

The Grey Veil