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The Long White Seam by Jean Ingelow


"The Long White Seam" is a poem by Jean Ingelow that is actually seen as a song and has been published with a few punctuation differences in each. Nonetheless, the poem's point remains the same. It's man who came home from a voyage to find his future wife sewing her wedding dress.

"The Long White Seam" is made up of three stanzas containing ten lines each for a total of 32 lines. Each stanza has the rhyme scheme ABCBDBEFGF.


The Long White Seam

As I came round the harbor buoy,
The lights began to gleam,
No wave the land-locked water stirred,
The crags were white as cream;
And I marked my love by candlelight
Sewing her long white seam.
It's aye sewing ashore, my dear,
Watch and steer at sea,
It's reef and furl, and haul the line,
Set sail and think of thee.

I climbed to reach her cottage door;
O sweetly my love sings!
Like a shaft of light her voice breaks forth,
My soul to meet it springs
As the shining water leaped of old,
When stirred by angel wings.
Aye longing to list anew,
Awake and in my dream,
But never a song she sang like this,
Sewing her long white seam.

Fair fall the lights, the harbor lights,
That brought me in to thee,
And peace drop down on that low roof
For the sight that I did see,
And the voice, my dear, that rang so clear
All for the love of me.
For O, for O, with brows bent low
By the candle's flickering gleam,
Her wedding-gown it was she wrought.
Sewing the long white seam. 

Published in 1898.

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