The Shell and the World

THE world was like a shell to me, —
Its voice with distant song was low:
But now its mysteries I know ;
I hear the turmoil of the sea.
The whirling, soft, and tender sound
That meant I knew not what of lore, —
I dream its mystery now no more ;
Its reckless meaning I have found.
O shell, I held thee to my ears
When I was young, and smiled with pride
To stand aglow at marvel’s side!
O world, thy voice is wild with tears!
Rose Hawthorne Lathrop.