What does the speaker wish for in the second stanza of the poem "Break, Break, Break"?

In the second stanza of "Break, Break, Break," the speaker wishes for the joy and innocence of childhood that he sees in the fisherman's boy and the sailor lad.

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In his poem "Break, Break, Break," the speaker looks out over the sea and listens as it crashes against the rocks. He wishes that he could give voice to the thoughts that fill him.

In the poem's second stanza, the speaker remembers the innocence and joy of childhood. He thinks that it is very good to be a "fisherman's boy" who plays with his sister, shouting in his games. It is also very good to be a "sailor lad," singing on his boat. These young people are happy, joyful even, and they enjoy life to its fullest in the present moment. They are not plagued by memories and loss, as the speaker seems to be. The speaker implies that he wishes he could be like these children in their careless freedom.

Yet the speaker is not a child, and he longs for "the touch of a vanish'd hand" and "the sound of a voice that is still." He has been touched by death, and he mourns for someone he has lost as he stands and looks out at the sea, reflecting on "the tender grace of a day" that has passed and will not return. The speaker has been touched by melancholy, and he feels that there is no going back to the innocent joy of the fisherman's boy and the sailor lad.

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