Drops on his prey ; in the still pool
Dips the sea-swallow swift and light,
Then nestward takes his happy flight.
The rain-bird, pressed with hunger fell,
Tears the poor muscle from its shell,
And still new flocks are hurrying there.
The transitory spoil to share.
Far to the west, the eye may mark
Where, leaning low upon its side,
Lieth the fisher's helpless bark,
And passive waits the coming tide.*
Full oft the zealous man of God
That wild and wasting shore has trod,
And well he knows each changing phase
That home of poverty displays.
Yet doth it seem as strange to-night,
As on the well-remembered day.
When first before his straining sight
* Staring, De Bodem van Nederland, I. 231, gives a very picturesque
description of the flats at low-tide.