Oh, you who read some song that I have sung –
What know you of the soul from whence it sprung?
Dost dream the poet ever speaks aloud
His secret thought unto the listening crowd?
Go take the murmuring sea-shell from the shore-
You have its shape, its colour – and no more.
It tells not one of those vast mysteries
That lie beneath the surface of the seas.
Our songs are shells, cast out by waves of thought;
Here, take them at your pleasure; but think not
You’ve seen the beneath the surface of the waves,
Where lie our shipwrecks, and our coral caves.