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The Marring Of Malyn
by [?]



Among the wintry mountains beside the Northern sea
There is a merrymaking, as old as old can be.

Over the river reaches, over the wastes of snow,
Halting at every doorway, the white drifts come and go.

They scour upon the open, and mass along the wood,
The burliest invaders that ever man withstood.

With swoop and whirl and scurry, these riders of the drift
Will mount and wheel and column, and pass into the lift.

All night upon the marshes you hear their tread go by,
And all night long the streamers are dancing on the sky.

Their light in Malyn’s chamber is pale upon the floor,
And Malyn of the mountains is theirs for evermore.

She fancies them a people in saffron and in green,
Dancing for her. For Malyn is only seventeen.

Out there beyond her window, from frosty deep to deep,
Her heart is dancing with them until she falls asleep.

Then all night long through heaven, with stately to and fro,
To music of no measure, the gorgeous dancers go.

The stars are great and splendid, beryl and gold and blue,
And there are dreams for Malyn that never will come true.

Yet for one golden Yule-tide their royal guest is she,
Among the wintry mountains beside the Northern sea.



There is a Norland laddie who sails the round sea-rim,
And Malyn of the mountains is all the world to him.
The Master of the Snowflake, bound upward from the line,
He smothers her with canvas along the crumbling brine.
He crowds her till she buries and shudders from his hand,
For in the angry sunset the watch has sighted land;
And he will brook no gainsay who goes to meet his bride.
But their will is the wind’s will who traffic on the tide.
Make home, my bonny schooner! The sun goes down to light
The gusty crimson wind-halls against the wedding night.

She gathers up the distance, and grows and veers and swings,
Like any homing swallow with nightfall in her wings.
The wind’s white sources glimmer with shining gusts of rain;
And in the Ardise country the spring comes back again.
It is the brooding April, haunted and sad and dear,
When vanished things return not with the returning year.
Only, when evening purples the light in Malyn’s dale,
With sound of brooks and robins, by many a hidden trail,
With stir of lulling rivers along the forest floor,
The dream-folk of the gloaming come back to Malyn’s door.
The dusk is long and gracious, and far up in the sky
You hear the chimney-swallows twitter and scurry by.
The hyacinths are lonesome and white in Malyn’s room;
And out at sea the Snowflake is driving through the gloom.
The whitecaps froth and freshen; in squadrons of white surge
They thunder on to ruin, and smoke along the verge.
The lift is black above them, the sea is mirk below,
And down the world’s wide border they perish as they go.
They comb and seethe and founder, they mount and glimmer and flee,
Amid the awful sobbing and quailing of the sea.
They sheet the flying schooner in foam from stem to stern,
Till every yard of canvas is drenched from clew to ear’n’.
And where they move uneasy, chill is the light and pale;
They are the Skipper’s daughters, who dance before the gale.
They revel with the Snowflake, and down the close of day
Among the boisterous dancers she holds her dancing way;
And then the dark has kindled the harbor light alee,
With stars and wind and sea-room upon the gurly sea.
The storm gets up to windward to heave and clang and brawl;
The dancers of the open begin to moan and call.
A lure is in their dancing, a weird is in their song;
The snow-white Skipper’s daughters are stronger than the strong.
They love the Norland sailor who dares the rough sea play;
Their arms are white and splendid to beckon him away.
They promise him, for kisses a moment at their lips,
To make before the morning the port of missing ships,
Where men put in for shelter, and dreams put forth again,
And the great sea-winds follow the journey of the rain.
A bridal with no morrow, no welling of old tears,
For him, and no more tidings of the departed years!
For there of old were fashioned the chambers cool and dim,
In the eternal silence below the twilight’s rim.
The borders of that country are slumberous and wide;
And they are well who marry the fondlers of the tide.
Within their arms immortal, no mortal fear can be;
But Malyn of the mountains is fairer than the sea.
And so the scudding Snowflake flies with the wind astern,
And through the boding twilight are blown the shrilling tern.
The light is on the headland, the harbor gate is wide;
But rolling in with ruin the fog is on the tide.
Fate like a muffled steersman sails with that Norland gloom;
The Snowflake in the offing is neck and neck with doom.
Ha, ha, my saucy cruiser, crowd up your helm and run!
There’ll be a merrymaking to-morrow in the sun.
A cloud of straining canvas, a roar of breaking foam,
The Snowflake and the sea-drift are racing in for home.
Her heart is dancing shoreward, but silently and pale
The swift relentless phantom is hungering on her trail.
They scour and fly together, until across the roar
He signals for a pilot–and Death puts out from shore.
A moment Malyn’s window is gleaming in the lee,
And then–the ghost of wreckage upon the iron sea.