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The "Mighty look" of the sea is tempered by its apparent conformity with social niceties represented in its "bowing" upon departure. Again, an image from poem #328, "A Bird came down the Walk --," provides a useful intertext. In that work, the perception of the seemingly incompatible and contradictory actions of the bird, who in one moment eats a worm raw only to hop out of the way to allow a beetle to pass in the next, puzzles and almost paralyzes the onlooker. The sea's power and rapacity in "I started Early -- Took my Dog --" exists simultaneously with its courtesy and conformity with the ritual codes of the speaker's culture.