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


By Eugene Field (1850–1895)

From ‘A Second Book of Verse’

IN Ipswich, nights are cool and fair,

And the voice that comes from the yonder sea

Sings to the quaint old mansions there

Of “the time, the time that used to be”;

And the quaint old mansions rock and groan,

And they seem to say in an undertone,

With half a sigh and with half a moan:—

“It was, but it never again will be.”

In Ipswich, witches weave at night

Their magic spells with impish glee;

They shriek and laugh in their demon flight

From the old Main House to the frightened sea.

And ghosts of eld come out to weep

Over the town that is fast asleep;

And they sob and they wail, as on they creep:—

“It was, but it never again will be.”

In Ipswich riseth Heart-Break Hill,

Over against the calling sea;

And through the nights so deep and chill

Watcheth a maiden constantly,—

Watcheth alone, nor seems to hear

Over the roar of the waves anear

The pitiful cry of a far-off year:—

“It was, but it never again will be.”

In Ipswich once a witch I knew,—

An artless Saxon witch was she;

By that flaxen hair and those eyes of blue,

Sweet was the spell she cast on me.

Alas! but the years have wrought me ill,

And the heart that is old and battered and chill

Seeketh again on Heart-Break Hill

What was, but never again can be.

Dear Anna, I would not conjure down

The ghost that cometh to solace me;

I love to think of old Ipswich town,

Where somewhat better than friends were we;

For with every thought of the dear old place

Cometh again the tender grace

Of a Saxon witch’s pretty face,

As it was, and is, and ever shall be.