And where away’s the Snowflake, she’s so long overdue?”
Then, as the gloaming settles, the hilltop stars emerge
And watch that plaintive figure patrol the dark sea verge.
She follows the marsh fire; her heart laughs and is glad;
She knows that light to seaward is her own sailor lad!
What are these tales they tell her of wreckage on the shore?
Delay but makes his coming the nearer than before!
Surely her eyes have sighted his schooner in the lift!
But the great tide he homes on sets with an outward drift.
So will-o’-the-wisp deludes her till dawn, and she turns home
In unperturbed assurance, “To-morrow he will come.”
This is the tale of Malyn, whom sudden grief so marred.
And still each lovely summer resumes that sweet regard,—
The old unvexed eternal indifference to pain;
The sea sings in the marshes, and June comes back again.
All night the lapsing rivers lisp in the long dike grass,
And many memories whisper the sea-winds as they pass;
The tides disturb the silence; but not a hindrance bars
The wash of time, where founder even the galleon stars.
And all night long wherever the moving waters gleam,
The little hills hearken, hearken, the great hills hear and dream.
On the long slow heave of
a lazy sea,
To the flap of an idle sail,
The Nancy’s Pride went out on the tide;
And the skipper stood by the rail.
All down, all down by the
With the hollyhocks a-row
In the little poppy gardens,
The sea had her in tow.
They let her slip by the breathing
Where the bell is never still,
And over the sounding harbor bar,
And under the harbor hill.
She melted into the dreaming
Out of the drowsy land,
In sight of a flag of goldy hair,
To the kiss of a girlish hand.
For the lass who hailed the
lad who sailed,
Was—who but his April bride?
And of all the fleet of Grand Latite,
Her pride was the Nancy’s Pride.
So the little vessel faded
With her creaking boom a-swing,
Till a wind from the deep came up with a creep,
And caught her wing and wing.
She made for the lost horizon
Where the clouds a-castled lay,
While the boil and seethe of the open sea
Hung on her frothing way.
She lifted her hull like a
Where the rolling valleys be,
And dipped where the shining porpoises
Put ploughshares through the sea.
A fading sail on the far sea-line,
About the turn of the tide,
As she made for the Banks on her maiden cruise,
Was the last of the Nancy’s Pride.