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The Sussex sailor

Alfred Noyes 1880 (Wolverhampton) – 1958 (Isle of Wight)



O, once, by Cuckmere Haven,
I heard a sailor sing
Of shores beyond the sunset,
And lands of lasting spring,
Of blue lagoons and palm trees
And isles where all was young;
But this was ever the burden
of ev'ry note he sung:

"O, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land?
Or have you seen her footprints
Upon that shining sand?
Beneath the happy palmtrees,
By Eden whispers fanned...
O, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land?"

And, once in San Diego,
I heard him sing again,
Of Amberley, Rye, and Bramber,
And Brede and Fairlight Glen:
The nestling hills of Sussex,
The russet-roofed elfin towns,
And the skylark up in a high wind
Carolling over the downs.

"From Warbleton to Wild Brook,
When May is white as foam,
O, have you seen my dearling
on any hills of home?
Or have you seen her shining,
Or only touch'd her hand.
O, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land?"

And, once again, by Cowfold,
I heard him singing low,
'Tis not the leagues of ocean
That hide the hills I know.
The May that shines before me
Has made a ghost of May.
The valleys that I would walk in
Are twenty years away.

"Ah, have you seen my true love
A-walking in that land...
On hills that I remember,
In valleys I understand,
So far beyond the sunset,
So very close at hand,
O have you seen my true love
In that immortal land?"

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:17 min read
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Alfred Noyes

Alfred Noyes was an English poet best known for his ballads The Highwayman 1906 and The Barrel Organ more…

All Alfred Noyes poems | Alfred Noyes Books

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