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

John Davidson (1857–1909)

A Cinque Port

From ‘Ballads and Songs’

BELOW the down, the stranded town

What may betide forlornly waits;

With memories of smoky skies,

When Gallic navies crossed the straits,

When waves with fire and blood grew bright,

And cannon thundered through the night.

With swinging stride the rhythmic tide

Bore to the harbor barque and sloop;

Across the bar the ship of war,

In castled stern and lanterned poop,

Came up with conquests on her lee,

The stately mistress of the sea.

Where argosies have wooed the breeze,

The simple sheep are feeding now;

And near and far across the bar

The plowman whistles at the plow;

Where once the long waves washed the shore,

Larks from their lowly lodgings soar.

Below the down the stranded town

Hears far away the rollers beat;

About the wall the sea-birds call;

The salt wind murmurs through the street:

Forlorn, the sea’s forsaken bride

Awaits the end that shall betide.