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THE HIGH TIDE ON THE COAST OF LINCOLNSHIRE. (1571.)
The ringers rang by two, by three;
Good ringers, pull your best,' quoth he. “ Play uppe, play uppe, O Boston bells ! Ply all your changes, all your swells,
Play uppe • The Brides of Enderby.'”
Men say it was a stolen tyde
The Lord that sent it, He knows all;
The message that the bells let fall :
By millions crouched on the old sea-wall.
I sat and spun within the doore,
My thread brake off, I raised myne eyes ;
Lay sinking in the barren skies,
“ Cusha! Cusha! Cusha !" calling,
“ Cusha! Cusha! Cusha !" calling,
Quit your cowslips, cowslips yellow;
When I beginne to think howe long,
Swift as an arrowe, sharp and strong;
And not a shadowe mote be seene,
The steeple towered from out the greene; And lol the great bell farre and wide Was heard in all the country side That Saturday at eventide. The swanherds where there sedges are
Moved on in sunset's golden breath,
And my sonne's wife, Elizabeth;
And all along where Lindis flows
And where the lordly steeple shows, They sayde, “And why should this thing be? What danger lowers by land or sea ? They ring the tune of Enderby!
“For evil news from Mablethorpe,
Of pyrate galleys warping downe; For shippes ashore beyond the scorpe,
They have not spared to wake the towne: But while the west bin red to see, And storms be none, and pyrates flee, Why ring. The Brides of Enderby?'”
I looked without, and lo! my sonne
Came riding down with might and main : He raised a shout as he drew on,
Till all the welkin rang again, “ Elizabeth! Elizabeth!” (A sweeter woman ne'er drew breath Than my sonne's wife, Elizabeth.)
“The old sea wall (he cried) is downe,
The rising tide comes on apace, And boats adrift in yonder towne
Go sailing uppe the market-place." He shook as one that looks on death: “ God save you, mother !” strait he saith; “Where is my wife, Elizabeth ?”
“Good sonne, where Lindis winds away,
With her two bairns I marked her long; And ere yon bells beganne to play
Afar I heard her milking song."
With that he cried and beat his breast;
For, lo! along the river's bed
And uppe the Lindis raging sped.
And rearing Lindis backward pressed,
Shook all her trembling bankes amaine, Then madly at the eygre's breast
Flung uppe her weltering walls again. Then bankes came downe with ruin and routThen beaten foam flew round aboutThen all the mighty floods were out.
So farre, so fast the eygre drave,
The heart had hardly time to beat,
Sobbed in the grasses at oure feet,
Upon the roofe we sat that night,
The noise of bells went sweeping by; I marked the lofty beacon light
Stream from the church tower, red and highA lurid mark and dread to see ; And awesome bells they were to mee, That in the dark rang "Enderby."
They rang the sailor lads to guide
From roofe to roofe who fearless rowed ;
And yet the ruddy beacon glowed;
And did'st thou visit him no more?
Thou did'st, thou did'st, my daughter deare; The waters laid thee at his doore,
Ere yet the early dawn was clear, Thy pretty bairns in fast embrace, The lifted sun shone on thy face, Downe drifted to thy dwelling-place.
That flow strewed wrecks about the grass,
That ebbe swept out the flocks to sea; A fatal ebbe and flow, alas!
To manye more than myne and me: But each will mourn his own (she saith), And sweeter woman ne'er drew breath Than my sonne's wife, Elizabeth.
I shall never hear her more
I shall never see her more
Shiver, quiver ;