I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales.

    ’O what are ‘ee seekin’, you seven fair maids,
      All under the leaves o life;
    Come tell, come tell, what seek ye
      All under the leaves o’ life?’

    ‘We’re seekin’ for no leaves, Thomas,
      But for a friend o’ thine,
     We’re seekin’ for sweet Jesus Christ
      To be our guide an’ thine.’

    ’Go down, go down, to yonder town
      An’ sit in the gallery,
     An there you’ll see sweet Jesus Christ
      Nailed to a big yew-tree.’

     So down they went to yonder town
      As fast as foot could fall,
     An’ many a grievous bitter tear
      From the Virgin’s eye did fall.

    ’O peace, Mother—­O peace, Mother,
      Your weepin’ doth me grieve;
     I must suffer this,’ he said,
     ‘For Adam an’ for Eve.

    ’O Mother, take John Evangelist
      All for to be your son,
     An’ he will comfort you sometimes
      Mother, as I’ve a-done.’

    ’O come, thou John Evangelist,
      Thou’rt welcome unto me,
     But more welcome my own dear Son
      Whom I nursed on my knee.’

     Then he laid his head ’pon his right shoulder
      Seein death it struck him nigh;
    ’The holy Mother be with your soul—­
      I die, Mother, I die.’

     O the rose, the gentle rose,
      An the fennel that grows so green! 
     God gi’e us grace in every place
      To pray for our king an’ queen.

     Furthermore, for our enemies all
      Our prayers they should be strong;
     Amen, good Lord; your charity
      Is the endin’ of my song!

In the midst of this carol Ruby, with a light pull on Zeb’s arm, brought him to a halt.

“How lovely it all is, Zeb!” She looked upwards at the flying moon, then dropped her gaze over the frosty sea, and sighed gently.  “Just now I feel as if I’d been tossin’ out yonder through many fierce days an’ nights an’ were bein’ taken at last to a safe haven.  You’ll have to make a good wife of me, Zeb.  I wonder if you’ll do ’t.”

Zeb followed the direction of her eyes, and seemed to discern off Bradden Point a dot of white, as of a ship in sail.  He pressed her arm to his side, but said nothing.

“Clear your throats, friends,” shouted his father, up the road, “an’ let fly—­”

     As I sat on a sunny bank,
      —­A sunny bank, a sunny bank,
     As I sat on a sunny bank
      On Chris’mas day i’ the mornin,

     I saw dree ships come sailin’ by,
      —­A-sailin’ by, a-sailin’ by,
     I saw dree ships come sailin’ by
      On Chris’mas day i’ the mornin’.

     Now who shud be i’ these dree ships—­

And to this measure Zeb and Ruby stepped home.

At the cottage door Zeb thanked the singers, who went their way and flung back shouts and joyful wishes as they went.  Before making all fast for the night, he stood a minute or so, listening to their voices as they died away down the road.  As he barred the door, he turned and saw that Ruby had lit the lamp, and was already engaged in setting the kitchen to rights; for, of course, no such home-coming had been dreamt of in the morning, and all was in disorder.  He stood and watched her for a while, then turned to the window.

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I Saw Three Ships and Other Winter Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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