Saw the toppling and smouldering of cloud-worlds after the enormous conflagration of sunsets,--incandescence ruining into darkness; and after it a moving and climbing of stars among the blacknesses,--like searching lamps;--
Saw the deep kindle countless ghostly candles as for mysterious night-festival,--and a luminous billowing under a black sky, and effervescences of fire, and the twirling and crawling of phosphoric foam;--
Saw the mesmerism of the Moon;--saw the enchanted tides self-heaped in muttering obeisance before her.
Often she heard the Music of the Marsh through the night: an infinity of flutings and tinklings made by tiny amphibia,--like the low blowing of numberless little tin horns, the clanking of billions of little bells;--and, at intervals, profound tones, vibrant and heavy, as of a bass viol--the orchestra of the great frogs! And interweaving with it all, one continuous shrilling,--keen as the steel speech of a saw,--the stridulous telegraphy of crickets.
But always,--always, dreaming or awake, she heard the huge blind Sea chanting that mystic and eternal hymn, which none may hear without awe, which no musician can learn,--
Heard the hoary Preacher,--El Pregonador,--preaching the ancient Word, the word "as a fire, and as a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces,"--the Elohim--Word of the Sea! ...
Unknowingly she came to know the immemorial sympathy of the mind with the Soul of the World,--the melancholy wrought by its moods of gray, the reverie responsive to its vagaries of mist, the exhilaration of its vast exultings--days of windy joy, hours of transfigured light.
She felt,--even without knowing it,--the weight of the Silences, the solemnities of sky and sea in these low regions where all things seem to dream--waters and grasses with their momentary wavings,--woods gray-webbed with mosses that drip and drool,--horizons with their delusions of vapor,--cranes meditating in their marshes,--kites floating in the high blue.... Even the children were singularly quiet; and their play less noisy--though she could not have learned the difference--than the play of city children. Hour after hour, the women sewed or wove in silence. And the brown men,--always barefooted, always wearing rough blue shirts,--seemed, when they lounged about the wharf on idle days, as if they had told each other long ago all they knew or could ever know, and had nothing more to say. They would stare at the flickering of the current, at the drifting of clouds and buzzard:--seldom looking at each other, and always turning their black eyes again, in a weary way, to sky or sea. Even thus one sees the horses and the cattle of the coast, seeking the beach to escape the whizzing flies;--all watch the long waves rolling in, and sometimes turn their heads a moment to look at one another, but always look back to the waves again, as if wondering at a mystery....