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The Doves Post by :liontekk Category :Poems Author :Lydia H. Sigourney Date :November 2011 Read :3459

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The Doves

A Sea-king on the Danish shore,
When the old time went by,
Launch'd his rude ship for reckless deeds,
Beneath a foreign sky.

And oft on Albion's richer coast,
Where Saxon Harold reign'd,
With a fierce foe's marauding hate,
Wild warfare he maintained.

From hamlet-nook, and humble vale,
Their wealth he reft away,
And shamed not with his blood-red steel,
To wake the deadly fray.

But once within an islet's bay,
While summer-twilight spread
A curtain o'er the glorious sun,
Who sank to ocean's bed,

He paus'd amid his savage trade,
And gaz'd on earth and sea,
While o'er his head a nest of doves,
Hung in a linden tree.

They coo'd and murmur'd o'er their young,
A loving, mournful strain.
And still the chirping brood essay'd,
The same soft tones again.

The sea-king on the rocky beach;
Bow'd down his head to hear,
Yet started on his iron brow,
To feel a trickling tear.

He mus'd upon his lonely home,
Beyond the foaming main;
For nature kindled in his breast,
At that fond dovelet's strain.

He listen'd till the lay declin'd,
As slumber o'er them stole:
"Home, home, sweet home!" methought they sang;
It enter'd to his soul.

He linger'd till the moon came forth,
With radiance pure and pale,
And then his hardy crew he rous'd,
"Up! up! and spread the sail."

"Now, whither goest thou, master bold?"
No word the sea-king spake,
But at the helm all night he stood,
Till ruddy morn did break.

"See, captain, yon unguarded isle!
Those cattle are our prey;"
Dark grew their brows, and fierce their speech:
No word he deign'd to say.

Right onward, o'er the swelling wave,
With steady prow he bore,
Nor stay'd until he anchor'd fast,
By Denmark's wave-wash'd shore.

"Farewell, farewell, brave men and true,
Well have you serv'd my need;
Divide the spoils as best ye may,
Rich boon for daring deed."

He shook them by the harden'd hand,
And on his journey sped,
Nor linger'd till through shades he saw,
His long-forsaken shed.

Forth came the babe, that when he left,
Lay on its mother's knee;
She rais'd a stranger's wondering cry:
A fair-hair'd girl was she!

His far-off voice that mother knew,
And shriek'd in speechless joy,
While, proudly, toward his arms she drew
His bashful, stripling boy.

They bade the fire of pine burn bright,
The simple board they spread;
And bless'd and welcom'd him, as one
Returning from the dead.

He cleans'd him of the pirate's sin,
He donn'd the peasant's stole,
And nightly from his labours came,
With music in his soul.

"Father! what mean those words you speak
Oft in your broken sleep?
The doves! the doves! you murmuring cry,
And then in dreams you weep:

"Father, you've told us many a tale,
Of storm, and battle wild;
Tell us the story of the doves,"
The peasant-father smil'd:

"Go, daughter, lure a dove to build
Her nest in yonder tree,
And thou shalt hear the tender tone,
That lured me back to thee."


(The end)
Lydia H. Sigourney's poem: Doves

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