A Northern Legend

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There sits a lovely maiden,
  The ocean murmuring nigh;
She throws the hook, and watches;
  The fishes pass it by.

A ring, with a red jewel,
  Is sparkling on her hand;
Upon the hook she binds it,
  And flings it from the land.

Uprises from the water
  A hand like ivory fair.
What gleams upon its finger?
  The golden ring is there.

Uprises from the bottom
  A young and handsome knight;
In golden scales he rises,
  That glitter in the light.

The maid is pale with terror--
  "Nay, Knight of Ocean, nay,
It was not thee I wanted;
  Let go the ring, I pray."

"Ah, maiden, not to fishes
  The bait of gold is thrown;
The ring shall never leave me,
  And thou must be my own."

© William Cullen Bryant