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I STOOD on the bridge at midnight,
As the clocks were striking the hour, And the moon rose o'er the city,
Behind the dark church-tower.
I saw her bright reflection
In the waters under me, Like a golden goblet falling
And sinking into the sea.
And far in the hazy distance
Of that lovely night in June, The blaze of the flaming furnace
Gleamed redder than the moon.
Among the long, black rafters
The wavering shadows lay, And the current that came from the ocean
Seemed to lift and bear them away ;
As, sweeping and eddying through them,
Rose the belated tide,
The seaweed floated wide.
And like those waters rushing
Among the wooden piers,
That filled my eyes with tears.
How often, O, how often,
In the days that had gone by, I had stood on that bridge at midnight
And gazed on that wave and sky !
How often, o, how often,
I had wished that the ebbing tide Would bear me away on its bosom
O'er the ocean wild and wide !
For my heart was hot and restless,
And my life was full of care, And the burden laid upon me
Seemed greater than I could bear.
But now it has fallen from me,
It is buried in the sea ;
Throws its shadow over me.
Yet whenever I cross the river
On its bridge with wooden piers, Like the odor of brine from the ocean
Comes the thought of other years.
And I think how many thousands
Of care-encumbered men,
Have crossed the bridge since then.
I see the long procession
Still passing to and fro,
And the old subdued and slow !
And forever and forever,
As long as the river flows,
As long as life has woes ;