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 Where wail the waters in their flaw
A spectre wanders to and fro,
And evermore that ghostly shore
Bemoans the heir of Yvytot.
Sometimes, when, like a fleecy pall, The mists upon the waters fall, Across the main float shadows twain That do not heed the spectre's call.
The king his son of Yvytot Stood once and saw the waters go Boiling around with hissing sound The sullen phantom rocks below.
And suddenly he saw a face Lift from that black and seething place-- Lift up and gaze in mute amaze And tenderly a little space, A mighty cry of love made he-- No answering word to him gave she, But looked, and then sunk back again Into the dark and depthless sea.
And ever afterward that face, That he beheld such little space, Like wraith would rise within his eyes And in his heart find biding place.
So oft from castle hall he crept Where mid the rocks grim shadows slept, And where the mist reached down and kissed The waters as they wailed and wept.
The king it was of Yvytot That vaunted, many years ago, There was no coast his valiant host Had not subdued with spear and bow.
For once to him the sea-king cried: "In safety all thy ships shall ride An thou but swear thy princely heir Shall take my daughter to his bride.
"And lo, these winds that rove the sea Unto our pact shall witness be, And of the oath which binds us both Shall be the judge 'twixt me and thee!" Then swore the king of Yvytot Unto the sea-king years ago, And with great cheer for many a year His ships went harrying to and fro.
Unto this mighty king his throne Was born a prince, and one alone-- Fairer than he in form and blee And knightly grace was never known.
But once he saw a maiden face Lift from a haunted ocean place-- Lift up and gaze in mute amaze And tenderly a little space.
Wroth was the king of Yvytot, For that his son would never go Sailing the sea, but liefer be Where wailed the waters in their flow, Where winds in clamorous anger swept, Where to and fro grim shadows crept, And where the mist reached down and kissed The waters as they wailed and wept.
So sped the years, till came a day The haughty king was old and gray, And in his hold were spoils untold That he had wrenched from Norroway.
Then once again the sea-king cried: "Thy ships have harried far and wide; My part is done--now let thy son Require my daughter to his bride!" Loud laughed the king of Yvytot, And by his soul he bade him no-- "I heed no more what oath I swore, For I was mad to bargain so!" Then spake the sea-king in his wrath: "Thy ships lie broken in my path! Go now and wring thy hands, false king! Nor ship nor heir thy kingdom hath! "And thou shalt wander evermore All up and down this ghostly shore, And call in vain upon the twain That keep what oath a dastard swore!" The king his son of Yvytot Stood even then where to and fro The breakers swelled--and there beheld A maiden face lift from below.
"Be thou or truth or dream," he cried, "Or spirit of the restless tide, It booteth not to me, God wot! But I would have thee to my bride.
" Then spake the maiden: "Come with me Unto a palace in the sea, For there my sire in kingly ire Requires thy king his oath of thee!" Gayly he fared him down the sands And took the maiden's outstretched hands; And so went they upon their way To do the sea-king his commands.
The winds went riding to and fro And scourged the waves that crouched below, And bade them sing to a childless king The bridal song of Yvytot.
So fell the curse upon that shore, And hopeless wailing evermore Was the righteous dole of the craven soul That heeded not what oath he swore.
An hundred ships went down that day All off the coast of Norroway, And the ruthless sea made mighty glee Over the spoil that drifting lay.
The winds went calling far and wide To the dead that tossed in the mocking tide: "Come forth, ye slaves! from your fleeting graves And drink a health to your prince his bride!" Where wail the waters in their flow A spectre wanders to and fro, But nevermore that ghostly shore Shall claim the heir of Yvytot.
Sometimes, when, like a fleecy pall, The mists upon the waters fall, Across the main flit shadows twain That do not heed the spectre's call.

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