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There, while the rest were loud in merrymaking, Had his dark hour unseen, and rose and past Bearing a lifelong hunger in his heart.

80

So these were wed, and merrily rang the bells, And merrily ran the years, seven happy years, Seven happy years of health and competence, And mutual love and honorable toil ;

With children ; first a daughter. In him woke, 85 With his first babe's first cry, the noble wish

To save all earnings to the uttermost,
And give his child a better bringing-up
Than his had been, or hers; a wish renew'd,

When two years after came a boy to be 90 The rosy idol of her solitudes,

While Enoch was abroad on wrathful seas,
Or often journeying landward; for in truth
Enoch's white horse, and Enoch's ocean-spoil

In ocean-smelling osier, and his face,
95 Rough-redden'd with a thousand winter gales,

Not only to the market-cross were known,
But in the leafy lanes behind the down,
Far as the portal-warding lion-whelp

And peacock-yewtree of the lonely Hall,
100 Whose Friday fare was Enoch's ministering.

Then came a change, as all things human change. Ten miles to northward of the narrow port 94. Osier, i. e. basket.

96. Many English villages have an old stone cross in the market-place.

98. The heraldic device over the portal to the hall, supposed to stand as a guard (warding).

99. A yew-tree cut, after the fashion of old gardening, into the form of a peacock.

Open'd a larger haven: thither used

Enoch at times to go by land or sea ; 105 And once when there, and clambering on a mast

In harbor, by mischance he slipt and fell:
A limb was broken when they lifted him;
And while he lay recovering there, his wife

Bore him another son, a sickly one:
110 Another hand crept too across his trade

Taking her bread and theirs : and on him fell,
Altho' a grave and staid God-fearing man,
Yet lying thus inactive, doubt and gloom.

He seem'd, as in a nightmare of the night, 115 To see his children leading evermore

Low miserable lives of hand-to-mouth,
And her he loved, a beggar: then he pray'd
6 Save them from this, whatever comes to me."

And while he pray'd, the master of that ship 120 Enoch had served in, hearing his mischance,

Came, for he knew the man and valued him,
Reporting of his vessel China-bound,
And wanting yet a boatswain. Would he go?

There yet were many weeks before she sail'd, 125 Sail'd from this port. Would Enoch have the

place? And Enoch all at once assented to it, Rejoicing at that answer to his prayer.

So now that shadow of mischance appear'd
No graver than as when some little cloud
130 Cuts off the fiery highway of the sun,

And isles a light in the offing : yet the wife —
When he was gone

the children what to do? 131. At sea on half cloudy days one often notices a bit of sunlight standing out on the water like an island.

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Then Enoch lay long-pondering on his plans;

To sell the boat and yet he loved her well — 135 How many a rough sea had he weather'd in her!

He knew her, as a horseman knows his horseAnd yet to sell her — then with what she brought Buy goods and stores — set Annie forth in trade

With all that seamen needed or their wives -
140 So might she keep the house while he was gone.

Should he not trade himself out yonder? go
This
voyage more than once ?

yea,

twice or thrice As oft as needed — last, returning rich,

Become the master of a larger craft, 145 With fuller profits lead an easier life,

Have all his pretty young ones educated,
And pass his days in peace among his own.

Thus Enoch in his heart determined all : Then moving homeward came on Annie pale, 150 Nursing the sickly babe, her latest-born.

Forward she started with a happy cry,
And laid the feeble infant in his arms;
Whom Enoch took, and handled all his limbs,

Appraised his weight and fondled father-like, 155 But had no heart to break his purposes

To Annie, till the morrow, when he spoke.

Then first since Enoch’s golden ring had girt Her finger, Annie fought against his will:

Yet not with brawling opposition she, 160 But manifold entreaties, many a tear,

Many a sad kiss by day by night renewd (Sure that all evil would come out of it) 142. Voyage must be read, as a dissyllable, not too pronouncedly.

Besought him, supplicating, if he cared

For her or his dear children, not to go. 165 He not for his own self caring but her,

Her and her children, let her plead in vain ;
So grieving held his will, and bore it thro'.

For Enoch parted with his old sea-friend, Bought Annie goods and stores, and set his hand 170 To fit their little streetward sitting-room

With shelf and corner for the goods and stores.
So all day long till Enoch's last at home,
Shaking their pretty cabin, hammer and axe,

Auger and saw, while Annie seem'd to hear 175 Her own death-scaffold raising, shrill'd and rang,

Till this was ended, and his careful hand,
The space was narrow,

having order'd all Almost as neat and close as Nature packs

Her blossom or her seedling, paused ; and he, 180 Who needs would work for Annie to the last,

Ascending tired, heavily slept till morn.

And Enoch faced this morning of farewell Brightly and boldly. All his Annie's fears,

Save as his Annie's, were a laughter to him. 185 Yet Enoch as a brave God-fearing man

Bow'd himself down, and in that mystery
Where God-in-man is one with man-in-God,
Pray'd for a blessing on his wife and babes,

Whatever came to him: and then he said 190“ Annie, this voyage by the grace of God

Will bring fair weather yet to all of us.
Keep a clean hearth and a clear fire for me,

165. Not an easy line to read with proper stress; self should be dwelt upon, and a certain pause made after caring.

For I'll be back, my girl, before you know it.”

Then lightly rocking baby's cradle, “and he, 195 This pretty, puny, weakly little one,

Nay — for I love him all the better for it -
God bless him, he shall sit upon my knees
And I will tell him tales of foreign parts,

And make him merry, when I come home again. 200 Come, Annie, come, cheer up before I go.”

Him running on thus hopefully she heard, And almost hoped herself; but when he turn'd The current of his talk to graver things,

In sailor fashion roughly sermonizing
205 On providence and trust in Heaven, she heard,

Heard and not heard him; as the village girl,
Who sets her pitcher underneath the spring,
Musing on him that used to fill it for her,
Hears and not hears, and lets it overflow.

210

At length she spoke, “O Enoch, you are wise ; And yet for all your wisdom well know I That I shall look upon your face no more.”

“Well then," said Enoch, “I shall look on yours. Annie, the ship I sail in passes here 215 (He named the day), get you a seaman's glass,

Spy out my face, and laugh at all your fears."

But when the last of those last moments came, “Annie, my girl, cheer up, be comforted,

Look to the babes, and till I come again, 220 Keep everything shipshape, for I must go. And fear no more for me; or

if
you

fear
213. Another significant prophecy, as in line 36.

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