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And every still star overhead

Seemed an eye that knew we were but dead.

And the hours passed; till the noble's son
Sighed, "God be thy help! my strength's foredone!

"O farewell, friend, for I can no more!" "Christ take thee!" I moaned; and his life was o'er.

Three hundred souls were all lost but one,
And I drifted over the sea alone.

At last the morning rose on the sea
Like an angel's wing that beat tow'rds me.

Sore numbed I was in my sheepskin coat;
Half dead I hung, and might nothing note,
Till I woke sun-warmed in a fisher-boat.

The sun was high o'er the eastern brim
As I praised God and gave thanks to Him.

That day I told my tale to a priest,
Who charged me, till the shrift were releas'd,
That I should keep it in mine own breast.

And with the priest I thence did fare
To King Henry's court at Winchester.

We spoke with the King's high chamberlain,
And he wept and mourned again and again,
As if his own son had been slain:

And round us ever there crowded fast
Great men with faces all aghast:

And who so bold that might tell the thing
Which now they knew to their lord the King?
Much woe I learnt in their communing.

The King had watched with a heart sore stirred
For two whole days, and this was the third:

And still to all his court would he say, "What keeps my son so long away?"

And they said: "The ports lie far and wide
That skirt the swell of the English tide;

"And England's cliffs are not more white Than her women are, and scarce so light Her skies as their eyes are blue and bright;

"And in some port that he reached from France The Prince has lingered for his pleasaùnce."

But once the King asked: "What distant cry
Was that we heard 'twixt the sea and sky?”

And one said: "With suchlike shouts, pardie!
Do the fishers fling their nets at sea.'


And one: "Who knows not the shrieking quest When the sea-mew misses its young from the nest?"

'Twas thus till now they had soothed his dread, Albeit they knew not what they said:

But who should speak to-day of the thing
That all knew there except the King?

Then pondering much they found a way,
And met round the King's high seat that day:

And the King sat with a heart sore stirred,
And seldom he spoke and seldom heard.

'Twas then through the hall the King was 'ware Of a little boy with golden hair,

As bright as the golden poppy is

That the beach breeds for the surf to kiss:

Yet pale his cheek as the thorn in Spring,
And his garb black like the raven's wing.

Nothing heard but his foot through the hall,
For now the lords were silent all.

And the King wondered, and said, “Alack!
Who sends me a fair boy dressed in black?

"Why, sweet heart, do you pace through the hall As though my court were a funeral?"

Then lowly knelt the child at the dais,
And looked up weeping in the King's face.

"O wherefore black, O King, ye may say, For white is the hue of death to-day.

"Your son and all his fellowship
Lie low in the sea with the White Ship."

King Henry fell as a man struck dead;
And speechless still he stared from his bed
When to him next day my rede I read.

There's many an hour must needs beguile
A King's high heart that he should smile,--

Full many a lordly hour, full fain
Of his realm's rule and pride of his reign:-

But this King never smiled again.

Jiriczek, Englische Dichter.


By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.

(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)


[Poems, an Offering to Lancashire 1863.]

I HAVE been here before,

But when or how I cannot tell:

I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,

The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.

You have been mine before,

How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow's soar
Your neck turned so,

Some veil did fall,-I knew it all of yore.

Has this been thus before?

And shall not thus time's eddying flight Still with our lives our love restore

In death's despite,

And day and night yield one delight once more?


[Poems 1870.]

A LITTLE While a little love

The hour yet bears for thee and me
Who have not drawn the veil to see

If still our heaven be lit above.

Thou merely, at the day's last sigh,
Hast felt thy soul prolong the tone;
And I have heard the night-wind cry

And deemed its speech mine own.

A little while a little love

The scattering autumn hoards for us
Whose bower is not yet ruinous
Nor quite unleaved our songless grove.
Only across the shaken boughs

We hear the flood-tides seek the sea,
And deep in both our hearts they rouse
One wail for thee and me.

A little while a little love

May yet be ours who have not said
The word it makes our eyes afraid
To know that each is thinking of.
Not yet the end: be our lips dumb
In smiles a little season yet:
I'll tell thee, when the end is come,
How we may best forget.

[Ballads and Sonnets 1881.]

LEAVES and rain and the days of the year, (Water-willow and wellaway,)

All these fall, and my soul gives ear, And she is hence who once was here. (With a wind blown night and day.)

Ah! but now, for a secret sign,

(The willow's wan and the water white,) In the held breath of the day's decline Her very face seemed pressed to mine. (With a wind blown day and night.)

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