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THE HIGH TIDE ON THE COAST OF LINCOLNSHIRE. 237
And sweeter woman ne'er drew breath
I shall never hear her more
I shall never see her more
THE SANDS OF DEE,
THE SANDS OF DEE.
“OH, Mary, go and call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And all alone went she.
The western tide crept up along the sand,
And o’er and o'er the sand,
And round and round the sand,
And never home came she.
“Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair
A tress of golden hair,
A drowned maiden's hair,
Among the stakes of Dee!
They rowed her in across the rolling foam,
The cruel crawling foam,
The cruel hungry foam,
THREE fishers went sailing out into the west,
Out into the west, as the sun went down;
And the children stood watching them out of the town.
Though the harbour-bar be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down; They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown; But men must work, and women must weep, Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
And the harbour-bar be moaning.
Three corpses lay out on the shining sands,
In the morning gleam, as the tide went down;
For those who will never come back to the town.
Save all poor souls at sea!
Their cheeks are wan wi' fear;
For wha could hear?
The wind cries loud;
On tattered sail and shroud!
The hissing waters slip;
Round him that steers the ship,-
And he knows not where they run.
Whistle back Thy wind,
... And as she prayed she knelt not on her knee, But, standing on the threshold, looked to Sea,
Where all was blackness and a watery roar, Save when the dead light, flickering far away,
Flash'd on the line of foam upon the shore, And showed the ribs of reef and surging bay!
There was no sign of life across the dark,
No piteous light from fishing-boat or bark, Albeit for such she hush'd her heart to pray.
With tattered plaid wrapt tight around her form,
She stood a space, spat on by wind and rain, Then, sighing deep, and turning from the Storm,
She crept into her lonely hut again.
'Twas but a wooden hut under the height,
Shielded in the black shadow of the crag: One blow of such a wind as blew that night
Could rend so rude a dwelling like a rag.
So that the old roof and the rafters thin
Splash'd momently on the mud-floor within.
And shining in the chamber's wretchedness,
A miserable den wherein to dwell,
“O Mither, are ye there?” A deep voice filled the dark; she thrill'd to hear;
With hard hand she pushed back her wild wet hair, And kissed him. “Whisht, my bairn, for Mither's near.” Then on the shuttle bed a figure thin
Sat rubbing sleepy eyes:
And on his face a light not over-wise.