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 Grim and silent stood the captains; and when again he cried,
‘Speak out, my worthy seamen!’ —no voice, no sign replied;
But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind words met my ear,—
‘God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl and dear!’
A weight seemed lifted from my heart, a pitying friend was nigh,—
I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his eye;
And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so kind to me,
Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring of the sea,—
“Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins of Spanish gold,
From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of her hold,
By the living God who made me!—I would sooner in your bay
Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child away!”
‘Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their cruel laws!’
Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people's just applause.
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