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I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day;
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair;
And still as I combed I would sing and say,
"Who is it loves me? who loves not me?"
I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall,
Low adown, low adown,

From under my starry sea-bud crown

Low adown and around,

And I should look like a fountain of gold
Springing alone

With a shrill inner sound

Over the throne

In the midst of the hall;

Till that great sea-snake under the sea

From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps

Would slowly trail himself sevenfold

Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate
With his large calm eyes for the love of me.

377

And all the mermen under the sea
Would feel their immortality
Die in their hearts for the love of me.

But at night I would wander away, away,

I would fling on each side my low-flowing locks, And lightly vault from the throne and play

With the mermen in and out of the rocks;
We would run to and fro, and hide and seek,

On the broad sea-wolds i' the crimson shells,
Whose silvery spikes are nighest the sea.
But if any came near, I would call and shriek,
And adown the steep like a wave I would leap

From the diamond ledges that jut from the dells,
For I would not be kissed by all who would list,
Of the bold merry mermen under the sea;
They would sue me, and woo me, and flatter me,
In the purple twilights under the sea;

But the king of them all would carry me,
Woo me, and win me, and marry me,
In the branching jaspers under the sea;
Then all the dry pied things that be
In the hueless mosses under the sea
Would curl round my silver feet silently,
All looking up for the love of me.

And if I should carol aloud, from aloft

All things that are forked, and horned, and soft, Would lean out from the hollow sphere of the sea, All looking down for the love of me.

THE SISTERS.

THE SISTERS.

WE

were two daughters of one race: She was the fairest in the face: The wind is blowing in turret and tree. They were together, and she fell; Therefore revenge became me well.

O the Earl was fair to see!

She died she went to burning flame:
She mixed her ancient blood with shame.

The wind is howling in turret and tree. Whole weeks and months, and early and late, To win his love I lay in wait.

O the Earl was fair to see!

I made a feast; I bade him come :

I won his love, I brought him home.

The wind is roaring in turret and tree.
And after supper, on a bed,
Upon my lap he laid his head:

O the Earl was so fair to see!

I kissed his eyelids into rest:
His ruddy cheek upon my breast.

The wind is raging in turret and tree.

I hated him with the hate of hell,
But I loved his beauty passing well.
O the Earl was fair to see!

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I rose up in the silent night:
I made my dagger sharp and bright.
The wind is raving in turret and tree.
As half-asleep his breath he drew,

Three times I stabbed him through and through.
O the Earl was fair to see!

I curled and combed his comely head,

He looked so grand when he was dead.

The wind is blowing in turret and tree. I wrapt his body in the sheet,

And laid him at his mother's feet.

O the Earl was fair to see!

LOVE THAT HATH US IN THE NET.

L

OVE that hath us in the net,
Can he pass, and we forget?
Many suns arise and set.
Many a chance the years beget.
Love the gift is Love the debt.
Even so.
Love is hurt with jar and fret.
Love is made a vague regret.
Eyes with idle tears are wet.
Idle habit links us yet.
What is love? for we forget:
Ah, no! no!

AS THRO THE LAND AT EVE WE WENT. 41

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AS THRO' THE LAND AT EVE WE WENT.

AS

S thro' the land at eve we went,
And pluck'd the ripen'd ears,
We fell out, my wife and I,
We fell out, I know not why,

And kiss'd again with tears.

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