Remorse

By George Sterling

At the sea's verge, near Cypress Point, in Monterey County,
the rain, wind, sun and sea have shaped a crag of the Santa
Lucian granite into the form of a cowled or crowned figure,
bent above the surf.

Prelate or king (the twilight tells not which),
Thou crouchest, silent, by the bitter sea.
Immovable, immortal and alone,
Abidest thou, and I thy stony ears,
The changeless moaning of the ancient deep
Is less than prayer to Fate.  The flaming noon
Warms, and the spectral mists of evening chill:
Thou heedest not, lapt in granitic dreams,
Nor hast a glance for setting moon or star.
What was thy crime? How long thy bleak remorse?
For never venial sin had strength to bind
In trance so grim despair so terrible.
Gaze! but the stainless wave shall not assoil!
Listen! But ever in thy soul must ring
The ghostly death-cry of a Cause betrayed,—
An empire lost, a people cast to doom!
So might the Spirit of our tragic orb
Behold, aghast with years, its fell result,
And, blinded with the vision he had wrought,
And dumb with clamors frozen at his heart,
Ponder, unpitied by Eternity,
Above the rising sea of human tears.

Bibliography Entry