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“I may not break thy bread, mother,”

The eldest ’gan to say, “But I will sit on thy hearth, mother,

And warm me while I may:
“For my bed it is in the ocean ice,

Beyond the northern shore,
There hath come no sunbeam to the place

For seven long years and more.
And but God's awful trumpet-call

Can set my body free;
For the icy sea is my sepulchre,

And Winter keeps the key.
“ But it is because of evil deeds,

Because of a broken vow,
That my soul is bound in the dreary place

That holds my body now!
“When I left thy pleasant house, mother,

I took me to the sea,
And stately was the noble ship

That there was built for me;
Her masts were of the northern pine,

Her hull of the oaken tree.

“ Her sails were of the canvas stout,

To face the fiercest wind, And I manned her with twenty-four young men,

The bravest that I could find.

And away we sailed, through rough and smooth,

Away to the Indian seas,
And we captured every ship we met,

And killed their companies. “Our ship was laden with seven ship’s store,' .

From the top-mast to the hold; And all we used in that lordly ship

Was made of the beaten gold.
“We had seven ship’s freight to lade our ship,

And heavily she sailed, and slow:-
At length she sunk to the bottom of the sea,

When not a breath did blow !

“I woke as from a frightful dream,

In a bower, I knew not where, And by me knelt an Indian maid,

Who cooled the burning air ; With a sweet fan of Indian flowers,

She cooled the burning air.

“'T was the kindest maid that ever loved,

A very child in truth;
The meekest, though a king's daughter,

In the glory of her youth.
“She took me to her father's house,

A rich, barbaric place;
And she won for me, her stranger-mate,

The love of all her race.

“They clothed me as they clothe a king,

They set me next the throne, And twenty snow-white elephants

They gave me for mine own.

“Ah, me! how I requited them,

It has been told in heaven! And a thousand years must come and go

Ere that sin be forgiven:

And a thousand more must come and go

. Ere from my soul can fall The burthen of my broken vows,

The heaviest guilt of all !

“I trampled on her true heart's love,

The Indian stream ran red, -
The sacred stream of her native land,

With the pure young blood I shed !

“Once more I built myself a boat,

Of the heart of the hard teak-tree, I took no mariners on board,

And again I went to sea.

“My mast was made of the Indian cane,

My sail of the silken twine; My ropes they were of the tendrils strong I pulled from the Indian vine.

“ I laded my boat with a thousand things

That guilt had made my own; The meanest things I took with me

Were the pearl and the diamond stone.

“ 'T was a heavy freight—'t was a heavy freight

That lay the boat within ; But the heaviest weight was in my soul - .

The load of seven years' sin !

“ I never again set foot on land,

It had no port for me,-
As Cain was a wanderer on the earth,

So I was on the sea.

“ My food was the fish my bark beside,

My drink the gathered rain ; And I grew horrid to look upon,

A spectre of the main !

“My fame was a terror everywhere,

Like a Spirit of the blast,
And when a tall ship crossed my track,

Its people looked aghast.

“Thou could'st not have known thy son, mother,

Hadst thou beheld my face, When, after seven years voyaging,

I found my resting place ;

“In the wild north-sea, 'neath the billowy ice

I lie, while time shall be,
To all unknown, save God alone,

Who made that grave for me!

“But the first cock crows-I must be gone!-

No more have I to tell;
The Avenger must not find me fled !

Dear mother, fare thee well!”

The second spake—" Woe's me for sin !

My elder brother's guilt is light; His place of torment is the earth,

And there comes day and night!

“ I left thy pleasant home, mother,

With thy blessing on my head, — Thy wisest son, as people deemed;

And to the city sped.

“I lived a life of rioting,

To an ill course was bent;
And the gold my careful father earned,

In wickedness I spent.

“I ran the round of low debauch,

Careless though all might see,There was no goodness in my soul,

No human dignity.

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