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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Jean Ingelow 1820–97

The Long White Seam


AS I came round the harbor buoy,

The lights began to gleam,

No wave the land-lock’d water stirr’d,

The crags were white as cream;

And I mark’d my love by candle-light

Sewing her long white seam.

It ’s aye sewing ashore, my dear,

Watch and steer at sea,

It ’s reef and furl, and haul the line,

Set sail and think of thee.

I climb’d to reach her cottage door;

O sweetly my love sings!

Like a shaft of light her voice breaks forth,

My soul to meet it springs

As the shining water leap’d of old,

When stirr’d by angel wings.

Aye longing to list anew,

Awake and in my dream,

But never a song she sang like this,

Sewing her long white seam.

Fair fall the lights, the harbor lights,

That brought me in to thee,

And peace drop down on that low roof

For the sight that I did see,

And the voice, my dear, that rang so clear

All for the love of me.

For O, for O, with brows bent low

By the candle’s flickering gleam,

Her wedding gown it was she wrought,

Sewing the long white seam.