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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 2. The Musician's Tale; The Ballad of Carmilhan - I.


At Stralsund, by the Baltic Sea,
Within the sandy bar,
At sunset of a summer's day,
Ready for sea, at anchor lay
The good ship Valdemar.

The sunbeams danced upon the waves,
And played along her side;
And through the cabin windows streamed
In ripples of golden light, that seemed
The ripple of the tide.

There sat the captain with his friends,
Old skippers brown and hale,
Who smoked and grumbled o'er their grog,
And talked of iceberg and of fog,
Of calm and storm and gale.

And one was spinning a sailor's yarn
About Klaboterman,
The Kobold of the sea; a spright
Invisible to mortal sight,
Who o'er the rigging ran.

Sometimes he hammered in the hold,
Sometimes upon the mast,
Sometimes abeam, sometimes abaft,
Or at the bows he sang and laughed,
And made all tight and fast.

He helped the sailors at their work,
And toiled with jovial din;
He helped them hoist and reef the sails,
He helped them stow the casks and bales,
And heave the anchor in.

But woe unto the lazy louts,
The idlers of the crew;
Them to torment was his delight,
And worry them by day and night,
And pinch them black and blue.

And woe to him whose mortal eyes
Klaboterman behold.
It is a certain sign of death!?
The cabin-boy here held his breath,
He felt his blood run cold.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

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