Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/277

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93
THE GIFT OF THE SEA

Then came a cry from the sea,
But the sea-rime blinded the glass,
And "Heard ye nothing, mother?" she said,
"'Tis the child that waits to pass."


And the nodding mother sighed.
"'Tis a lambing ewe in the whin,
"For why should the christened soul cry out,
"That never knew of sin?"


"O feet I have held in my hand,
"O hands at my heart to catch,
"How should they know the road to go,
"And how should they lift the latch?"


They laid a sheet to the door,
With a little quilt atop,
That it might not hurt from the cold or the dirt,
But the crying would not stop.


The widow lifted the latch
And strained her eyes to see,
And opened the door on the bitter shore
To let the soul go free.