Crowns wrought of purest crystal, or woven of burning stains
As deep as ever kindled in old cathedral panes.
Well might the Tyrian's cunning draw forth, of ocean-birth,
A beam whose flaming lustre should pale the tints of earth !
Nor life nor motion lacketh that vision wondrous rare ;
Moss, vine and wreath are swinging, as rocked by vernal air.
Forth from the coral copses the glossy fishes dart
In armor sheen enamelled beyond all power of art ;
Now through the subtle fluid a single silvery flash
Shoots silent as a moonbeam, and now with muffled plash
In dazzling shoals they're flying, like flocks of timid doves,
That scared by stranger footsteps in clouds forsake the
Medusas float in myriads, as light as mists of morn,
Which melting in the sunrise are up the valley borne ;
Now stainless as the dew-drops that gem the grassy spires,
Now dyed with hues that rival the opal's changeful fires.
Aye, bring your brightest jewels, your stones of clearest ray
Before these ocean-glories their light will fade away !*
* See Quatrefage's Souvenirs d'un Naturaliste.