The Storm

Robert Stephen Hawker

War 'mid the ocean and the land!
The battle-field Morwenna's strand,
Where rock and ridge the bulwark keep,
The giant warders of the deep.

They come! and shall they not prevail,—
The seething surge, the gathering gale?
They fling their wild flag to the breeze,
The banner of a thousand seas.

They come, they mount, they charge in vain,
Thus far, incalculable main!
No more! thine hosts have not o'erthrown
The lichen on the barrier stone.

Have the rocks faith, that thus they stand,
Unmoved, a grim and stately band,
And look, like warriors tried and brave,
Stern, silent, reckless, o'er the wave?

Have the proud billows thought and life,
To feel the glory of the strife,
And trust, one day, in battle bold,
To win the foeman's haughty hold?

Mark where they writhe with pride and shame,
Fierce valour, and the zeal of fame!
Hear how their din of madness raves,
The baffled army of the waves!

Thy way, O God, is in the sea;
Thy paths where awful waters be;
Thy spirit thrills the conscious stone:
O Lord, thy footsteps are not known!

The poet Robert Stephen Hawker was the vicar of Morwenstow, which sits on rocky cliffs above the sea. Hawker had a hut built on the cliff where he would smoke opium and write poetry.

Morwenna was a 6th century saint.