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Mari Magno or Tales on Board from Arthur Hugh Clough

Where Lies the Land to Which Yon Ship Must Go?

Where lies the land to which the ship would go?
Far, far ahead, is all her seamen know.
And where the land she travels from? Away,
Far, far behind, is all that they can say.

On sunny noons upon the deck's smooth face,
Link'd arm in arm, how pleasant here to pace;
Or, o'er the stern reclining, watch below
The foaming wake far widening as we go.

On stormy nights when wild north-westers rave,
How proud a thing to fight with wind and wave!
The dripping sailor on the reeling mast
Exults to bear, and scorns to wish it past.

Where lies the land to which the ship would go?
Far, far ahead, is all her seamen know.
And where the land she travels from? Away,
Far, far behind, is all that they can say.

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The Mate’s Story

‘I’ve often wondered how it is, at times
Good people do what are as bad as crimes.
A common person would have been ashamed
To do what once a family far-famed
For their religious ways was known to do.
Small harm befell, small thanks to them were due.
They from abroad, perhaps it cost them less,
Had brought a young French girl as governess,
A pretty, youthful thing as e’er you saw;
She taught the children how to play and draw,
Of course, the language of her native land;
English she scarcely learnt to understand.
After a time they wanted her no more;
She must go home, but how to send her o’er,
Far in the south of France she lived, and they
In Ireland there was more than they could say.
A monthly steamer, as they chanced to know,
From Liverpool went over to Bordeaux,
And would, they thought, exactly meet the case.
They wrote and got a friend to take a place;

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The Clergyman’s First Tale: Love is Fellow-service

A youth and maid upon a summer night
Upon the lawn, while yet the skies were light,
Edmund and Emma, let their names be these,
Among the shrubs within the circling trees,
Joined in a game with boys and girls at play:
For games perhaps too old a little they;
In April she her eighteenth year begun,
And twenty he, and near to twenty-one.
A game it was of running and of noise;
He as a boy, with other girls and boys
(Her sisters and her brothers), took the fun;
And when her turn, she marked not, came to run,
‘Emma,’ he called, then knew that he was wrong,
Knew that her name to him did not belong.
Her look and manner proved his feeling true,
A child no more, her womanhood she knew;
Half was the colour mounted on her face,
Her tardy movement had an adult grace.
Vexed with himself, and shamed, he felt the more
A kind of joy he ne’er had felt before.

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Songs in Absence

Farewell, farewell! Her vans the vessel tries,
His iron might the potent engine plies:
Haste, winged words, and ere ’tis useless, tell,
Farewell, farewell, yet once again, farewell.
The docks, the streets, the houses past us fly,
Without a strain the great ship marches by;
Ye fleeting banks take up the words we tell,
And say for us yet once again, farewell.

The waters widen—on without a strain
The strong ship moves upon the open main;
She knows the seas, she hears the true waves swell,
She seems to say farewell, again farewell.

The billows whiten and the deep seas heave;
Fly once again, sweet words, to her I leave,
With winds that blow return, and seas that swell,
Farewell, farewell, say once again, farewell.

Fresh in my face and rippling to my feet

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My Tale: A la banquette, or a Modern Pilgrimage

I stayed at La Quenille, ten miles or more
From the old-Roman sources of Mont Dore;
Travellers to Tulle this way are forced to go,
An old high-road from Lyons to Bordeaux,
From Tulle to Brives the swift Corrèze descends,
At Brives you’ve railway, and your trouble ends;
A little bourg La Quenille; from the height
The mountains of Auvergne are all in sight;
Green pastoral heights that once in lava flowed,
Of primal fire the product and abode;
And all the plateaux and the lines that trace
Where in deep dells the waters find their place;
Far to the south above the lofty plain,
The Plomb du Cantal lifts his towering train.
A little after one, with little fail,
Down drove the diligence that bears the mail;
The courier therefore called, in whose banquette
A place I got, and thankful was to get;
The new postillion climbed his seat, allez,
Off broke the four cart-horses on their way.

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The Clergyman’s Second Tale

Edward and Jane a married couple were,
And fonder she of him or he of her
Was hard to say; their wedlock had begun
When in one year they both were twenty-one;
And friends, who would not sanction, left them free.
He gentle-born, nor his inferior she,
And neither rich; to the newly-wedded boy,
A great Insurance Office found employ.
Strong in their loves and hopes, with joy they took
This narrow lot and the world’s altered look;
Beyond their home they nothing sought or craved,
And even from the narrow income saved;
Their busy days for no ennui had place,
Neither grew weary of the other’s face.
Nine happy years had crowned their married state
With children, one a little girl of eight;
With nine industrious years his income grew,
With his employers rose his favour too;
Nine years complete had passed when something ailed,
Friends and the doctors said his health had failed,

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The Lawyer’s Second Tale: Christian

A highland inn among the western hills,
A single parlour, single bed that fills
With fisher or with tourist, as may be;
A waiting-maid. as fair as you can see,
With hazel eyes, and frequent blushing face,
And ample brow, and with a rustic grace
In all her easy quiet motions seen,
Large of her age, which haply is nineteen,
Christian her name, in full a pleasant name,
Christian and Christie scarcely seem the same;
A college fellow, who has sent away
The pupils he has taught for many a day,
And comes for fishing and for solitude,
Perhaps a little pensive in his mood,
An aspiration and a thought have failed,
Where he had hoped, another has prevailed,
But to the joys of hill and stream alive,
And in his boyhood yet, at twenty-five.
A merry dance, that made young people meet,
And set them moving, both with hands and feet;

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The Lawyer’s First Tale: Primitiæ or Third Cousins

I

‘Dearest of boys, please come to-day,
Papa and mama have bid me say,
They hope you’ll dine with us at three;
They will be out till then, you see,
But you will start at once, you know,
And come as fast as you can go.
Next week they hope you’ll come and stay
Some time before you go away.
Dear boy, how pleasant it will be,
Ever your dearest Emily!’
Twelve years of age was I, and she
Fourteen, when thus she wrote to me,
A schoolboy, with an uncle spending
My holidays, then nearly ending.
My uncle lived the mountain o’er,
A rector, and a bachelor;
The vicarage was by the sea,
That was the home of Emily:

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