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. Poems of Jean Ingelow



/ Jean Ingelow; 17 1820 20 1897) .


A Cottage In A Chine

We reached the place by night,
And heard the waves breaking:
They came to meet us with candles alight
To show the path we were taking.
A myrtle, trained on the gate, was white
With tufted flowers down shaking.

With head beneath her wing,
A little wren was sleeping
So near, I had found it an easy thing
To steal her for my keeping
From the myrtle bough that with easy swing
Across the path was sweeping.

Down rocky steps rough-hewed,
Where cup-mosses flowered,
And under the trees, all twisted and rude,
Wherewith the dell was dowered,
They led us, where deep in its solitude
Lay the cottage, leaf-embowered.

The thatch was all bespread
With climbing passion flowers;
They were wet, and glistened with raindrops,
That day in genial showers.
'Was never a sweeter nest,' we said,
'Than this little nest of ours.'

We laid us down to sleep:
But as for mewaking,
I marked the plunge of the muffled deep
On its sandy reaches breaking;
For heart joyance doth sometimes keep
From slumber, like heart-aching.

And I was glad that night,
With no reason ready,
To give my own heart for its deep delight,
That flowed like some tidal eddy,
Or shone like a star that was rising bright
With comforting radiance steady.

But on a suddenhark!
Music struck asunder
Those meshes of bliss, and I wept in the dark,
So sweet was the unseen wonder;
So swiftly it touched, as if struck at a mark
The trouble that joy kept under.

I rosethe moon outshone:
I saw the sea heaving,
And a little vessel sailing alone,
The small crisp wavelet cleaving;
'T was she as she sailed to her port unknown
Was that track of sweetness leaving.

We know they music made
In heaven, ere man's creation;
But when God threw it down to us that strayed,
It dropt with lamentation,
And ever since cloth its sweetness shade
With sighs for its first station.

Its joy suggests regret
Its most for more is yearning;
And it brings to the soul that its voice hath met,
No rest that cadence learning,
But a conscious part in the sighs that fret
Its nature for returning.

O Eve, sweet Eve! methought
When sometimes comfort winning,
As she watched the first children's tender sport,
Sole joy born since her sinning,
If a bird anear them sang, it brought
The pang as at beginning.

While swam the unshed tear,
Her prattlers little heeding,
Would murmur, 'This bird, with its carol clear,
When the red clay was kneaden,
And God made Adam our father dear,
Sang to him thus in Eden.'

The moon went inthe sky
And earth and sea hiding,
I laid me down, with the yearning sigh
Of that strain in my heart abiding;
I slept, and the barque that had sailed so nigh
In my dream was ever gliding.

I slept, but waked amazed,
With sudden noise frighted,
And voices without, and a flash that dazed
My eyes from candles lighted.
'Ah! surely,' methought, 'by these shouts
Some travellers are benighted.'

A voice was at my side'
Waken, madam, waken!
The long prayed-for ship at her anchor doth
Let the child from its rest be taken,
For the captain doth weary for babe and for
Waken, madam, waken!

'The home you left but late,
He speeds to it light-hearted;
By the wires he sent this news, and straight
To you with it they started.'
O joy for a yearning heart too great,
O union for the parted!

We rose up in the night,
The morning star was shining;
We carried the child in its slumber light
Out by the myrtles twining:
Orion over the sea hung bright,
And glorious in declining.

Mother, to meet her son,
Smiled first, then wept the rather;
And wile, to bind up those links undone,
And cherished words to gather,
And to show the face of her little one,
That had never seen its father.

That cottage in a chine,
We were not to behold it;
But there may the purest of sunbeams shine,
May freshest flowers enfold it,
For sake of the news which our hearts must
With the bower where we were told it.

Now oft, left lone again,
Sit mother and sit daughter,
And bless the good ship that sailed over the
And the favouring winds that brought her;
While still some new beauty they fable and
For the cottage by the water.


A Dead Year

I took a year out of my life and story
A dead year, and said, 'I will hew thee a tomb!
'All the kings of the nations lie in glory;'
Cased in cedar, and shut in a sacred gloom;
Swathed in linen, and precious unguents old;
Fainted with cinnabar, and rich with gold.

'Silent they rest, in solemn salvatory,
Sealed from the moth and the owl and the
Each with his name on his brow.
'All the kings of the nations lie in glory,
Every one in his own house:'
Then why not thou?

'Year,' I said, 'thou shalt not lack
Bribes to bar thy coming back;
Doth old Egypt wear her best
In the chambers of her rest?
Doth she take to her last bed
Beaten gold, and glorious red?
Envy not! for thou wilt wear
In the dark a shroud as fair;
Golden with the sunny ray
Thou withdrawest from my day;
Wrought upon with colours fine
Stolen from this life of mine:
Like the dusty Libyan kings,
Lie with two wide-open wings
On thy breast, as if to say,
On these wings hope flew away;
And so housed, and thus adorned,
Not forgotten, but not scorned,
Let the dark for evermore
Close thee when I close the door;
And the dust for ages fall
In the creases of thy pall;
And no voice nor visit rude
Break thy sealed solitude.'

I took the year out of my life and story?
The dead year, and said, 'I have hewed thee a tomb!
'All the kings of the nations lie in glory,'
Cased in cedar, and shut in a sacred gloom;
But for the sword, and the sceptre, and diadem,
Sure thou didst reign like them.'
So I laid her with those tyrants old and hoary,
According to my vow;
For I said, 'The kings of the nations lie in glory,
And so shalt thou!'

'Rock,' I said, 'thy ribs are strong,
That I bring thee guard it long;
Hide the light from buried eyes
Hide it, lest the dead arise.'
'Year,' I said, and turned away,
'I am free of thee this day;
All that we two only know,
I forgive and I forego,
So thy face no more I meet
In the field or in the street.'

Thus we parted, she and I;
Life hid death, and put it by;
Life hid death, and said, 'Be free!
I have no more need of thee.'
No more need! O mad mistake,
With repentance in its wake!
Ignorant, and rash, and blind,
Life had left the grave behind;
But had locked within its hold
With the spices and the gold,
All she had to keep her warm
In the raging of the storm.

Scarce the sunset bloom was gone,
And the little stars outshone,
Ere the dead year, stiff and stark,
Drew me to her in the dark;
Death drew life to come to her,
Beating at her sepulchre,
Crying out, 'How can I part'
With the best share of my heart?
Lo, it lies upon the bier,
Captive, with the buried year.
O my heart!' And I fell prone,
Weeping at the sealed stone;
'Year among the shades,' I said,
'Since I live, and then art dead,
Let my captive heart be free
Like a bird to fly to me.'
And I stayed some voice to win,
But none answered from within;
And I kissed the doorand night
Deepened till the stars waxed bright;
And I saw them set and wane.
And the world turned green again.

'So,' I whispered, 'open door,
I must tread this palace floor
Sealed palace, rich and dim.
Let a narrow sunbeam swim
After me, and on me spread
While I look upon my dead;
Let a little warmth be free
To come after; let me see
Through the doorway, when I sit
Looking out, the swallows flit,
Settling not till daylight goes;
Let me smell the wild white rose,
Smell the woodbine and the may;
Mark, upon a sunny day,
Sated from their blossoms rise
Honey-bees and butterflies.
Let me hear, O! let me hear,
Sitting by my buried year,
Finches chirping to their young,
And the little noises flung
Out of clefts where rabbits play,
Or from falling water-spray;
And the gracious echoes woke
By man's work: the woodman's stroke,
Shout of shepherd, whistlings blithe,
And the whetting of the scythe;
Let this be, lest, shut and furled
From the well-beloved world,
I forget her yearnings old,
And her troubles manifold,
Strivings sore, submissions meet,
And my pulse no longer beat,
Keeping time and bearing part
With the pulse of her great heart.

So! swing open door, and shade
Take me, I am not afraid,
For the time will not be long;
Soon I shall have waxen strong
Strong enough my own to win
From the grave it lies within.'

And I entered. On her bier
Quiet lay the buried year;
I sat down where I could see
Life without and sunshine free,
Death within. And I between,
Waited my own heart to wean
From the shroud that shaded her
In the rock-hewn sepulchre
Waited till the dead should say,
'Heart, be free of me this day'
Waited with a patient will
And I wait between them still

I take the year back to my life and story
The dead year, and say, 'I will share in thy tomb.
'All the kings of the nations lie in glory;'
Cased in cedar, and shut in a sacred gloom!
They reigned in their lifetime with sceptre and
But then excellest them;
For life doth make thy grave her oratory,
And the crown is still on thy brow;
'All the kings of the nations lie in glory'
And so dost thou.


A Sea Song

Old Albion sat on a crag of late,
And sung out'Ahoy! ahoy!
Long life to the captain, good luck to the mate,
And this to my sailor boy!
Come over, come home,
Through the salt sea foam,
My sailor, my sailor boy.

'Here's a crown to be given away, I ween,
A crown for my sailor's head,
And all for the worth of a widowed queen,
And the love of the noble dead,
And the fear and fame
Of the island's name
Where my boy was born and bred.

'Content thee, content thee, let it alone,
Thou marked for a choice so rare;
Though treaties be treaties, never a throne
Was proffered for cause as fair.
Yet come to me home,
Through the salt sea foam,
For the Greek must ask elsewhere.

' 'T is pity, my sailor, but who can tell?
Many lands they look to me;
One of these might be wanting a Prince as well,
But that's as hereafter may be.
She raised her white head
And laughed; and she said
'That's as hereafter may be.'


A Wedding Song

Come up the broad river, the Thames, my Dane,
My Dane with the beautiful eyes!
Thousands and thousands await thee full fain,
And talk of the wind and the skies.
Fear not from folk and from country to part,
O, I swear it is wisely done:
For (I said) I will bear me by thee, sweetheart,
As becometh my father's son.

Great London was shouting as I went down.
'She is worthy,' I said, 'of this;
What shall I give who have promised a crown?
O, first I will give her a kiss.'
So I kissed her and brought her, my Dane, my Dane,
Through the waving wonderful crowd:
Thousands and thousands, they shouted amain,
Like mighty thunders and loud.

And they said, 'He is young, the lad we love,
The heir of the Isles is young:
How we deem of his mother, and one gone above,
Can neither be said nor sung.

He brings us a pledgehe will do his part
With the best of his race and name;'
And I will, for I look to live, sweetheart,
As may suit with my mother's fame.


An Ancient Chess Set

Haply some Rajah first in ages gone
Amid his languid ladies finger'd thee,
While a black nightingale, sun-swart as he,
Sang his one wife, love's passionate orison:
Haply thou mayst have pleased old Prester John
Among his pastures, when full royally
He sat in tent--grave shepherds at his knee--
While lamps of balsam winked and glimmered on.

What dost thou here? Thy masters are all dead.
My heart is full of ruth and yearning pain
At sight of thee, O king that hast a crown
Outlasting theirs, and tells of greatness fled
Through cloud-hung nights of unabated rain
And murmur of the dark majestic town.


Grand Is The Leisure Of The Earth

Grand is the leisure of the earth;
She gives her happy myriads birth,
And after harvest fears not dearth,
But goes to sleep in snow-wreaths dim.
Dread is the leisure up above
The while He sits whose name is Love,
And waits, as Noah did, for the dove,
To wit if she would fly to him.

He waits for us, while, houseless things,
We beat about with bruised wings
On the dark floods and water-springs,
The ruined world, the desolate sea;
With open windows from the prime
All night, all day, He waits sublime,
Until the fullness of the time
Decreed from His eternity.

Where is OUR leisure?--Give us rest.
Where is the quiet we possessed?
We must have had it once--were blest
With peace whose phantoms yet entice.
Sorely the mother of mankind
Longed for the garden left behind;
For we still prove some yearnings blind
Inherited from Paradise.

Hold, heart! I cried; for trouble sleeps,
I hear no sound of aught that weeps;
I will not look into thy deeps--
I am afraid, I am afraid!
Afraid! she saith; and yet tis true
That what man dreads he still should view--
Should do the thing he fears to do,
And storm the ghosts in ambuscade!

What good! I sigh. Was reason meant
To straighten branches that are bent,
Or soothe an ancient discontent,
The instinct of a race dethroned?
Ah! doubly should that instinct go,
Must the four rivers cease to flow,
Nor yield those rumours sweet and low
Wherewith mans life is undertoned.

Yet had I but the past, she cries,
And it was lost, I would arise
And comfort me some other wise.
But more than loss about me clings.
I am but restless with my race;
The whispers from a heavenly place,
Once dropped among us, seem to chase
Rest with their prophet-visitings.

The race is like a child, as yet
Too young for all things to be set
Plainly before him, with no let
Or hindrance meet for his degree;
But neertheless by much too old
Not to perceive that men withhold
More of the story than is told,
And so infer a mystery.

If the Celestials daily fly
With messages on missions high,
And float, our nests and turrets nigh,
Conversing on Heavens great intents,
What wonder hints of coming things,
Whereto mens hope and yearning clings,
Should drop like feathers from their wings
And give us vague presentiments.

And as the waxing moon can take
The tidal waters in her wake,
And lead them round and round, to break
Obedient to her drawings dim;
So may the movements of His mind,
The first Great Father of mankind,
Affect with answering movements blind,
And draw the souls that breathe by Him.

We had a message long ago
That like a river peace should flow,
And Eden bloom again below.
We heard, and we began to wait:
Full soon that message men forgot;
Yet waiting is their destined lot,
And, waiting for they know not what,
They strive with yearnings passionate.


Like a Laverock in the Lift

It's we two, it's we two, it's we two for aye,
All the world, and we two, and Heaven be our stay!
Like a laverock in the lift, sing, O bonny bride!
All the world was Adam once, with Eve by his side.

What's the world, my lass, my love! - what can it do?
I am thine, and thou art mine; life is sweet and new.
If the world have missed the mark, let it stand by;
For we two have gotten leave, and once more we'll try.

Like a laverock in the lift, sing, O bonny bride!
It's we two, it's we two, happy side by side.
Take a kiss from me, thy man; now the song begins:
'All is made afresh for us, and the brave heart wins.'

When the darker days come, and no sun will shine,
Thou shalt dry my tears, lass, and I'll dry thine.
It's we two, it's we two, while the world's away,
Sitting by the golden sheaves on our wedding-day.


One Morning, Oh! So Early

One morning, oh! so early, my beloved, my beloved,
All the birds were singing blithely, as if never they would cease;
'Twas a thrush sang in my garden, 'Hear the story, hear the story!'
And the lark sang, 'Give us glory!'
And the dove said, 'Give us peace!'

Then I hearkened, oh! so early, my beloved, my beloved,
To that murmur from the woodland of the dove, my dear, the dove;
When the nightingale came after, 'Give us fame to sweeten duty!'
When the wren sang, 'Give us beauty!'
She made answer, 'Give us love!'

Sweet is spring, and sweet the morning, my beloved, my beloved;
Now for us doth spring, doth morning, wait upon the year's increase,
And my prayer goes up, 'Oh, give us, crowned in youth with marriage glory,
Give for all our life's dear story,
Give us love, and give us peace!'



Subject given'Light and Shade.'

She stepped upon Sicilian grass,
Demeter's daughter fresh and fair,
A child of light, a radiant lass,
And gamesome as the morning air.
The daffodils were fair to see,
They nodded lightly on the lea,

Lo! one she marked of rarer growth
Than orchis or anemone;
For it the maiden left them both,
And parted from her company.
Drawn nigh she deemed it fairer still,
And stooped to gather by the rill
The daffodil, the daffodil.

What ailed the meadow that it shook?
What ailed the air of Sicily?
She wondered by the brattling brook,
And trembled with the trembling lea.
The coal-black horses risethey rise:
'O mother, mother!' low she cries

'O light, light, light!' she cries, 'farewell:
The coal-black horses wait for me.
O shade of shades, where I must dwell,
Demeter, mother, far from thee!
Ah, fated doom that I fulfill!
Ah, fateful flower beside the rill!
The daffodil, the daffodil!'

What ails her that she comes not home?
Demeter seeks her far and wide,
And gloomy-browed doth ceaseless roam
From many a morn till eventide.
'My life, immortal though it be,
Is nought,' she cries, 'for want of thee,

'Meadows of Enna, let the rain
No longer drop to feed your rills,
Nor dew refresh the fields again,
With all their nodding daffodils'
Fade, fade and droop, O lilied lea,
Where thou, dear heart, wert reft from me

She reigns upon her dusky throne,
'Mid shades of heroes dread to see;
Among the dead she breathes alone,
Or seated on the Elysian hill
She dreams of earthly daylight still,
And murmurs of the daffodil.

A voice in Hades soundeth clear,
The shadows mourn and flit below;
It cries'Thou Lord of Hades, hear,
And let Demeter's daughter go.
The tender corn upon the lea
Droops in her goddess gloom when she
Cries for her lost Persephone.

'From land to land she raging flies,
The green fruit falleth in her wake,
And harvest fields beneath her eyes
To earth the grain unripened shake.
Arise, and set the maiden free;
Why should the world such sorrow dree
By reason of Persephone?'

He takes the cleft pomegranate seeds:
'Love, eat with me this parting day;
Then bids them fetch the coal-black steeds
'Demeter's daughter, wouldst away?'
The gates of Hades set her free;
She will return full soon,' saith he
'My wife, my wife Persephone.'

Low laughs the dark king on his throne
'I gave her of pomegranate seeds.'
Demeter's daughter stands alone
Upon the fair Eleusian meads.
Her mother meets her. 'Hail!' saith she;
'And doth our daylight dazzle thee,
My love, my child Persephone?

'What moved thee, daughter, to forsake
Thy fellow-maids that fatal morn,
And give thy dark lord power to take
Thee living to his realm forlorn?'
Her lips reply without her will,
As one addressed who slumbereth still
'The daffodil, the daffodil!'

Her eyelids droop with light oppressed,
And sunny wafts that round her stir,
Her cheek upon her mother's breast
Demeter's kisses comfort her.
Calm Queen of Hades, art thou she
Who stepped so lightly on the lea
Persephone, Persephone?

When, in her destined course, the moon
Meets the deep shadow of this world.
And labouring on doth seem to swoon
Through awful wastes of dimness whirled
Emerged at length, no trace hath she
Of that dark hour of destiny,
Still silvery sweetPersephone.

The greater world may near the less,
And draw it through her weltering shade,
But not one biding trace impress
Of all the darkness that she made;
The greater soul that draweth thee
Hath left his shadow plain to see
On thy fair face, Persephone!

Demeter sighs, but sure 't is well
The wife should love her destiny:
They part, and yet, as legends tell,
She, mourns her lost Persephone;
While chant the maids of Enna still
'O fateful flower beside the rill
The daffodil, the daffodil!'



Looking over a Gate at a Pool in a Field.

What change has made the pastures sweet
And reached the daisies at my feet,
And cloud that wears a golden hem?
This lovely world, the hills, the sward
They all look fresh, as if our Lord
But yesterday had finished them.

And here's the field with light aglow;
How fresh its boundary lime-trees show,
And how its wet leaves trembling shine!
Between their trunks come through to me
The morning sparkles of the sea
Below the level browsing line.

I see the pool more clear by half
Than pools where other waters laugh
Up at the breasts of coot and rail.
There, as she passed it on her way,
I saw reflected yesterday
A maiden with a milking-pail.

There, neither slowly nor in haste,
One hand upon her slender waist,
The other lifted to her pail,
She rosy in the morning light,
Among the water-daisies white,
Like some fair sloop appeared to sail.

Against her ankles as she trod,
The lucky buttercups did nod.
I leaned upon the gate to see:
The sweet thing looked, but did not speak;
A dimple came in either cheek,
And all my heart was gone from me.

Then, as I lingered on the gate,
And she came up like coming fate,
I saw my picture in her eyes
Clear dancing eyes, more black than sloes,
Cheeks like the mountain pink, that grows
Among white-headed majesties.

I said, 'A tale was made of old
That I would fain to thee unfold;
Ah! let melet me tell the tale.'
But high she held her comely head;
'I cannot heed it now,' she said,
'For carrying of the milking-pail.'

She laughed. What good to make ado?
I held the gate, and she came through,
And took her homeward path anon.
From the clear pool her face had fled;
It rested on my heart instead,
Reflected when the maid was gone.

With happy youth, and work content,
So sweet and stately on she went,
Right careless of the untold tale.
Each step she took I loved her more,
And followed to her dairy door
The maiden with the milking-pail.


For hearts where wakened love doth lurk,
How fine, how blest a thing is work!
For work does good when reasons fail
Good; yet the axe at every stroke
The echo of a name awoke
Her name is Mary Martindale.

I'm glad that echo was not heard
Aright by other men: a bird
Knows doubtless what his own notes tell;
And I know not, but I can say
I felt as shame-faced all that day
As if folks heard her name right well.

And when the west began to glow
I wentI could not choose but go
To that same dairy on the hill;
And while sweet Mary moved about
Within, I came to her without,
And leaned upon the window-sill.

The garden border where I stood
Was sweet with pinks and southernwood
I spokeher answer seemed to fail:
I smelt the pinksI could not see;
The dusk came down and sheltered me,
And in the dusk she heard my tale.

And what is left that I should tell?
I begged a kiss, I pleaded well:
The rosebud lips did long decline;
But yet I think, I think 't is true,
That, leaned at last into the dew
One little instant they were mine.

O life! how dear thou hast become:
She laughed at dawn, and I was dumb,
But evening counsels best prevail.
Fair shine the blue that o'er her spreads,
Green be the pastures where she treads,
The maiden with the milking-pail!


Song of the Old Love

When sparrows build, and the leaves break forth,
My old sorrow wakes and cries,
For I know there is dawn in the far, far north,
And a scarlet sun doth rise;
Like a scarlet fleece the snow-field spreads,
And the icy founts run free,
And the bergs begin to bow their heads,
And plunge, and sail in the sea.

O my lost love, and my own, own love,
And my love that loved me so!
Is there never a chink in the world above
Where they listen for words from below?
Nay, I spoke once, and I grieved thee sore,
I remember all that I said,
And now thou wilt hear me no more - no more
Till the sea gives up her dead.

Thou didst set thy foot on the ship, and sail
To the ice-fields and the snow;
Thou wert sad, for thy love did naught avail,
And the end I could not know;
How could I tell I should love thee to-day,
Whom that day I held not dear?
How could I know I should love thee away
When I did not love thee anear?

We shall walk no more through the sodden plain
With the faded bents o'erspread,
We shall stand no more by the seething main
While the dark wrack drives o'erhead;
We shall part no more in the wind and the rain,
Where thy last farewell was said;
But perhaps I shall meet thee and know thee again
When the sea gives up her dead.


Strife And Peace

The yellow poplar leaves came down
And like a carpet lay,
No waftings were in the sunny air
To flutter them away;
And he stepped on blithe and debonair
That warm October day.

'The boy,' saith he, 'hath got his own,
But sore has been the fight,
For ere his life began the strife
That ceased but yesternight;
For the will,' he said, 'the kinsfolk read,
And read it not aright.

'His cause was argued in the court
Before his christening day,
And counsel was heard, and judge demurred,
And bitter waxed the fray;
Brother with brother spake no word
When they met in the way.

'Against each one did each contend,
And all against the heir.
I would not bend, for I knew the end
I have it for my share,
And nought repent, though my first friend
From henceforth I must spare.

'Manor and moor and farm and weld
Their greed begrudged him sore,
And parchments old with passionate hold
They guarded heretofore;
And they carped at signature and seal,
But they may carp no more.

'An old affront will stir the heart
Through years of rankling pain,
And I feel the fret that urged me yet
That warfare to maintain;
For an enemy's loss may well be set
Above an infant's gain.

'An enemy's loss I go to prove;
Laugh out, thou little heir!
Laugh in his face who vowed to chase
Thee from thy birthright fair;
For I come to set thee in thy place:
Laugh out, and do not spare.'

A man of strife, in wrathful mood
He neared the nurse's door;
With poplar leaves the roof and eaves
Were thickly scattered o'er,
And yellow as they a sunbeam lay
Along the cottage floor.

'Sleep on, thou pretty, pretty lamb,
He hears the fond nurse say;
'And if angels stand at thy right hand,
As now belike they may,
And if angels meet at thy bed's feet,
I fear them not this day.

'Come wealth, come want to thee, dear heart,
It was all one to me,
For thy pretty tongue far sweeter rung
Than coined gold and fee;
And ever the while thy waking smile
It was right fair to see.

'Sleep, pretty bairn, and never know
Who grudged and who transgressed;
Thee to retain I was full fain,
But God, He knoweth best!
And His peace upon thy brow lies plain:
As the sunshine on thy breast!'

The man of strife, he enters in,
Looks, and his pride doth cease;
Anger and sorrow shall be to-morrow
Trouble, and no release;
But the babe whose life awoke the strife
Hath entered into peace.


The Long White Seam

As I came round the harbor buoy,
The lights began to gleam,
No wave the land-locked water stirred,
The crags were white as cream;
And I marked my love by candlelight
Sewing her long white seam.
It's aye sewing ashore, my dear,
Watch and steer at sea,
It's reef and furl, and haul the line,
Set sail and think of thee.

I climbed to reach her cottage door;
O sweetly my love sings!
Like a shaft of light her voice breaks forth,
My soul to meet it springs
As the shining water leaped of old,
When stirred by angel wings.
Aye longing to list anew,
Awake and in my dream,
But never a song she sang like this,
Sewing her long white seam.

Fair fall the lights, the harbor lights,
That brought me in to thee,
And peace drop down on that low roof
For the sight that I did see,
And the voice, my dear, that rang so clear
All for the love of me.
For O, for O, with brows bent low
By the candle's flickering gleam,
Her wedding-gown it was she wrought.
Sewing the long white seam.



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