The Old Ghost

Over the water an old ghost strode
   To a churchyard on the shore,
And over him the waters had flowed
   A thousand years or more,
And pale and wan and weary
   Looked never a sprite as he;
For it’s lonely and it’s dreary
   The ghost of a body to be
   That has mouldered away in the sea.

Over the billows the old ghost stepped,
   And the winds in mockery sung;
For the bodiless ghost would fain have wept
   Over the maiden that lay so young
‘Mong the thistles and toadstools so hoary.
   And he begged of the waves a tear,
But they shook upwards their moonlight glory,
   And the shark looked on with a sneer
   At his yearning desire and agony.

[Gosse, 1890]