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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

From ‘What D’ye Call It?’

By John Gay (1685–1732)

A Ballad

’TWAS when the seas were roaring

With hollow blasts of wind,

A damsel lay deploring,

All on a rock reclined.

Wide o’er the foaming billows

She cast a wistful look;

Her head was crowned with willows,

That tremble o’er the brook.

“Twelve months are gone and over,

And nine long tedious days;

Why didst thou, venturous lover,

Why didst thou trust the seas?

Cease, cease, thou cruel ocean,

And let my lover rest:

Ah! what’s thy troubled motion

To that within my breast?

“The merchant robbed of pleasure

Sees tempests in despair;

But what’s the loss of treasure,

To losing of my dear?

Should you some coast be laid on,

Where gold and diamonds grow,

You’ll find a richer maiden,

But none that loves you so.

“How can they say that nature

Has nothing made in vain;

Why then, beneath the water,

Should hideous rocks remain?

No eyes the rocks discover

That lurk beneath the deep,

To wreck the wandering lover,

And leave the maid to weep.”

All melancholy lying,

Thus wailed she for her dear!

Repaid each blast with sighing,

Each billow with a tear.

When o’er the white wave stooping,

His floating corpse she spied,—

Then, like a lily drooping,

She bowed her head and died.