Her fingers shame the ivory keys
They dance so light along;
The bloom upon her parted lips
Is sweeter than the song.
O perfumed suitor, spare thy smiles!
Her thoughts are not of thee;
She better loves the salted wind,
The voices of the sea.
Her heart is like an outbound ship
That at its anchor swings;
The murmur of the stranded shell
Is in the song she sings.
She sings, and, smiling, hears her praise,
But dreams the while of one
Who watches from his sea-blown deck
The icebergs in the sun.
She questions all the winds that blow,
And every fog-wreath dim,
And bids the sea-birds flying north
Bear messages to him.
She speeds them with the thanks of men
He perilled life to save,
And grateful prayers like holy oil
To smooth for him the wave.
Brown Viking of the fishing-smack!
Fair toast of all the town!—
The skipper’s jerkin ill beseems
The lady’s silken gown!
But ne’er shall Amy Wentworth wear
For him the blush of shame
Who dares to set his manly gifts
Against her ancient name.
The stream is brightest at its spring,
And blood is not like wine;
Nor honored less than he who heirs
Is he who founds a line.
Full lightly shall the prize be won,
If love be Fortune’s spur;
And never maiden stoops to him
Who lifts himself to her.
Her home is brave in Jaffrey Street,
With stately stair-ways worn
By feet of old Colonial knights
And ladies gentle-born.
Still green about its ample porch
The English ivy twines,
Trained back to show in English oak
The herald’s carven signs.
And on her, from the wainscot old,
Ancestral faces frown, —
And this has worn the soldier’s sword,
And that the judge’s gown.
But, strong of will and proud as they,
She walks the gallery-floor
As if she trod her sailor’s deck
By stormy Labrador!
The sweet-brier blooms on Kittery-side,
And green are Elliot’s bowers;
Her garden is the pebbled beach,
The mosses are her flowers.
She looks across the harbor-bar
To see the white gulls fly,
His greeting from the Northern sea
Is in their clanging cry.
She hums a song, and dreams that he,
As in its romance old,
Shall homeward ride with silken sails
And masts of beaten gold!
Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair,
And high and low mate ill;
But love has never known a law
Beyond its own sweet will!
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