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Written near a Port on a Dark Evening

 Huge vapours brood above the clifted shore, 
Night on the ocean settles dark and mute, 
Save where is heard the repercussive roar 
Of drowsy billows on the rugged foot 
Of rocks remote; or still more distant tone 
Of seamen in the anchored bark that tell 
The watch relieved; or one deep voice alone 
Singing the hour, and bidding "Strike the bell!" 

All is black shadow but the lucid line 
Marked by the light surf on the level sand, 
Or where afar the ship-lights faintly shine 
Like wandering fairy fires, that oft on land 
Misled the pilgrim--such the dubious ray 
That wavering reason lends in life's long darkling way.

Poem by Charlotte Turner Smith
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