Poems, 1840-1867
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THE FORSAKEN MERMAN 81
She will not come though you call all day.
Come away, come away.
Children dear, was it yesterday 30
We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
In the caverns where we lay,
Through the surf and through the swell,
The far-off sound of a silver bell ?
Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,
Where the winds are all asleep ;
Where the spent lights quiver and gleam ;
Where the salt weed sways in the stream ;
Where the sea-beasts rang ' d all round
Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground ; 40
Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
Dry their mail and bask in the brine ;
Where great whales come sailing by,
Sail and sail, with unshut eye,
Round the world for ever and aye ?
When did music come this way ?
Children dear, was it yesterday ?
Children dear, was it yesterday
(Call yet once) that she went away ?
Once she sate with you and me, 50
On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
And the youngest sate on her knee.
She comb ' d its bright hair, and she tended it well,
When down swung the sound of the far-off bell.
She sigh ' d, she look ' d up through the clear green sea.
She said ; ' I must go, for my kinsfolk pray
In the little grey church on the shore to-day.
' Twill be Easter-time in the world ah me 1
And I lose my poor soul, Merman, here with thee.
I said ; ' Go up, dear heart, through the waves ; 60
Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves. '
She smil ' d, she went up through the surf in the bay.
Children dear, was it yesterday ?
Children dear, were we long alone ?
' The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan.
Long prayers, ' I said, ' in the world they say.
Come, ' I said, and we rose through the surf in the bay.
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