Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter IV >> Page 31

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription CHAPTER IV.

" With song and story make the long way short."

THE sea never fails to furnish noble studies to those who, by
frequent travel, have succeeded in overcoming its annoyances.
But the number is few who feel reconciled to calm thought and
patient meditation while roaming, at large and lone, on its wil-
derness of bosom. Those only who have completely undergone
that sea change, of which Shakspere tells us in the Tempest,"
can yield themselves fairly up to the fancies which it inspires and
the subliming thought which it awakens. Unhappily, to the
greater number of those the subject has lost all its freshness.
When we have so frequently boxed the compass, that we can
" Lay hands upon old ocean's mane,
And play familiar with his hoary locks,"
he forfeits all his mysteries.
It is surprising to note how little there is really visible in the
great deeps to those who go down frequently upon the waters.
To such eyes they even lose their vastness, their vagueness, the
immensity which baffles vision, and fills the mind with its most
impressive ideas of eternity. Your " Old Salt" is a notorious
skeptic. He wears his forefinger perpetually upon the side of
his nose. He is not to be amused with fancies and chimeras.
He has outgrown wholly his sense of wonder, and his thought
of the sea is somewhat allied with the contemptuous, as was that
of the Mississippian for the brown bear whom he had whipped
in single combat. As for marvels and mysteries in the creature
´┐Żbeauties of splendor or grandeur these wholly elude his
thoughts and eyes. If be appreciates the sea at all, it is solely
because of its sharpening effect upon his appetite !
Most of those wayfarers whom you meet often upon the route
belong to this order. You will find them at all times peering
into the larder. In their sleep, they dream of it, and you will