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[394] The shrill-tongued mistress her house forbade,
     And solemn warning was sternly said
By the black-robed priest, whose word
     As law the hamlet heard.

But half by voice and half by signs
     The skipper said, “A warm sun shines
On the green-banked Merrimac;
     Wait, watch, till I come back.

And when you see, from my mast head,
     The signal fly of a kerchief red,
My boat on the shore shall wait;
     Come, when the night is late. “

Ah! weighed with childhood's haunts and friends,
     And all that the home sky overbends,
Did ever young love fail
     To turn the trembling scale?

Under the night, on the wet sea sands,
     Slowly unclasped their plighted hands:
One to the cottage hearth,
     And one to his sailor's berth.

What was it the parting lovers heard?
     Nor leaf, nor ripple, nor wing of bird,
But a listener's stealthy tread
     On the rock-moss, crisp and dead.

He weighed his anchor, and fished once more
     By the black coast-line of Labrador;
And by love and the north wind driven,
     Sailed back to the Islands Seven.

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