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Commander of HMS Nonsuch, Brandon is a man of duty. Over the past twenty years, he has known little but war against the French. His life is a struggle not only against the Emperor Napoleon and his attempt to rule Europe but also against the sea itself.

Here by the sea this quiet night
I see the moon through misted light.
The water laps the rocks below.
I hear it lap and swash and go.
The pine-trees, dense and earthward-bent,
Suffuse the air with resin-scent.
A landward breeze combs through my hair
And cools the earth with salted air.

Here all attempt in life appears
Irrelevant. The erosive years
That build the moon and the rock and tree
Speak of a sweet futility
And say that we who are from birth
Caressed by unimpulsive earth
Should yield our fever to the trees,
The seaward light and the resined breeze.

Here by the sea this quiet night
Where my still spirit could take flight
And nullify the heart's distress
Into the peace of wordlessness,
I see the light, I breathe the scent,
I touch the insight, but a bent
Of heart exacts its old designs
And draws my hands to write these lines.

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