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 In their cruel hearts, as they homeward sped,
‘The sea and the rocks are dumb,’ they said:
‘There'll be no reckoning with the dead.’
But the year went round, and when once more
Along their foam-white curves of shore
They heard the line-storm rave and roar,
Behold! again, with shimmer and shine,
Over the rocks and the seething brine,
The flaming wreck of the Palatine!
So, haply in fitter words than these,
Mending their nets on their patient knees
They tell the legend of Manisees.
Nor looks nor tones a doubt betray;
‘It is known to us all,’ they quietly say;
‘We too have seen it in our day.’
Is there, then, no death for a word once spoken?
Was never a deed but left its token
Written on tables never broken?
Do the elements subtle reflections give?
Do pictures of all the ages live
On Nature's infinite negative,
Which, half in sport, in malice half,
She shows at times, with shudder or laugh,
Phantom and shadow in photograph?
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