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 The Sussex sailor by Alfred Noyes

The Sussex sailor

O, once, by Cuckmere Haven, 
I heard a sailor sing 
Of shores beyond the sunset, 
And lands of lasting spring, 
Of blue lagoons and palm trees 
And isles where all was young; 
But this was ever the burden 
of ev'ry note he sung: 

"O, have you seen my true love 
A-walking in that land? 
Or have you seen her footprints 
Upon that shining sand? 
Beneath the happy palmtrees, 
By Eden whispers fanned... 
O, have you seen my true love 
A-walking in that land?" 

And, once in San Diego, 
I heard him sing again, 
Of Amberley, Rye, and Bramber, 
And Brede and Fairlight Glen: 
The nestling hills of Sussex, 
The russet-roofed elfin towns, 
And the skylark up in a high wind 
Carolling over the downs. 

"From Warbleton to Wild Brook, 
When May is white as foam, 
O, have you seen my dearling 
on any hills of home? 
Or have you seen her shining, 
Or only touch'd her hand. 
O, have you seen my true love 
A-walking in that land?" 

And, once again, by Cowfold, 
I heard him singing low, 
'Tis not the leagues of ocean 
That hide the hills I know. 
The May that shines before me 
Has made a ghost of May. 
The valleys that I would walk in 
Are twenty years away. 

"Ah, have you seen my true love 
A-walking in that land... 
On hills that I remember, 
In valleys I understand, 
So far beyond the sunset, 
So very close at hand, 
O have you seen my true love 
In that immortal land?"


 

 
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                   page created 08/03/11