CELT document E890000-015

Thalassa! O Thalassa!

Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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    Thalassa! O Thalassa!1

  1. Can you see the spine of yonder crest
    Curved o'er the hillside lea?
    Well, there the sun halts as he creeps to rest;
    And beyond is the sea.
    And beyond is the sea! Have you seen the sea?
    Never! Dear Lord, you were never born, —
    Never seen the sea, and its mystery,
    And the gates of the Night and the Morn!
  2. Ay, I have seen it, and memory
    (For I was not always blind)
    Paints on my darkened eyes the sea;
    Here hath my God been kind.
    Here hath my God been kind, for a wish
    Summons the magic view,
    And my ears lean down to the thunder and swish,
    And the scream of the wild sea-mew.
  3. Over the breakers that curl and toss
    Their manes as they sweep along,
    Till the foam of their crests is a silken floss
    Green valleys among;
    Green valleys among the white gull flits,
    And his strong grey pinion dips,
    And rocked on the breakers the diver sits,
    The spume of the sea on his lips.
  4. Do I dream, or is that the music of life
    That bids me look up and rejoice?
    For Nature's at best is a silent strife.
    Yet she needs a voice.
    She needs a voice, else why does she draw
    The bolts of the caverned wind.
    And let him sweep on, without leash or law,
    Trailing her seas behind?
  5.  p.189
  6. Hark! to the thunder that shakes the ground,
    Where the speckled sand-larks flee;
    Were I dead, my heart would leap at the sound
    And the scents of the sea.
    And the scents of the sea, borne inland afar
    Over the gorse and the heath.
    My soul would leap through the gates ajar,
    And the grey, grim portals of death.
  7. Can you see aught yet? “Nought yet!” Look afar,
    For the sea is alive and strong;
    'Nought but the spray of one bright star
    Its peers among.
    Its peers among, and set in the curve
    Where the sun sinks to rest;
    And a long, long line with never a swerve
    From the East to the West.'
  8. You must be deceived, for the sounds and the scents
    Of the great baptismal wave,
    Poured from the Godhead's affluence,
    My senses lave.
    My senses lave. If mine eyes are blind,
    My veins are filled as with wine,
    My hair is teased by the salt sea wind.
    And my lips are kissed with his brine.
  9. Look again and long, for I feel as a friend
    Hath his hand locked in mine;
    Look long, where the shadows gather and blend
    At the day's decline.
    'At the day's decline, vast meadows are green,
    White swallows over them flee;'
    Child, O my Child, thine eyes are keen!
    Meadows? Why, that's the sea.
  10. P. A. SHEEHAN

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Title (uniform): Thalassa! O Thalassa!

Author: Patrick Augustine Sheehan

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Electronic edition compiled by: Benjamin Hazard

Funded by: School of History, University College, Cork and Private donation

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1. First draft

Extent: 1007 words

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Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland — http://www.ucc.ie/celt

Date: 2014

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: E890000-015

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT programme for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

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  • [Details to follow].

Canon Sheehan on the Internet

  • http://www.canonsheehanremembered.com


  1. Canon P.A. Sheehan, 'Thalassa! O Thalassa!,' The Irish Monthly, 27/310 (April 1899) 188–189.
  2. Canon P.A. Sheehan, 'Thalassa! O Thalassa!,' in Cithara Mea; Poems (Boston 1900) 205–207.


  1. Herman Joseph Heuser, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: the story of an Irish parish priest as told chiefly by himself in books, personal memoirs, and letters (New York 1917).
  2. Arthur Coussens. P. A. Sheehan, zijn leven en zijn werken (Brugge/Bruges 1923).
  3. Michael P. Linehan, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile: Priest, Novelist, Man of Letters (Dublin 1952).
  4. James O'Brien (ed.), The Collected Letters of Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, 1883–1913 (Wells 2013).
  5. James O'Brien, Canon Sheehan of Doneraile 1852–1913: Outlines for a Literary Biography (Wells 2013). [Bibliographical references 205-11.]

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Thalassa! O Thalassa!’ In: The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature‍. Ed. by Matthew Russell SJ, pp. 188–189.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {},
  title 	 = {Thalassa! O Thalassa!},
  journal 	 = {The Irish Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature},
  editor 	 = {Matthew Russell SJ},
  address 	 = {Dublin},
  publisher 	 = {Irish Jesuit Province},
  date 	 = {April 1899},
  pages 	 = {188–189}


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Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

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Creation: By Patrick Augustine Sheehan (1852–1913)

Date: 1899

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  • The text is in English. (en)
  • Two words are in Greek. (gr)

Keywords: poetry; 19c; religious

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(Most recent first)

  1. 2014-02-07: File parsed and validated; TEI Header updated, wordcount made; SGML and HTML versions created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2014-01-31: Header created; structural mark-up added; file proofed. (ed. Benjamin Hazard)
  3. 2014-01-27: Text scanned. (file capture Benjamin Hazard)

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  1. Thalassa was ancient Greek goddess of the sea. 🢀


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