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Twenty Years

Down on the ancient wharf, the sand, I sit, with a new-comer chatting:
He shipp'd as green-hand boy, and sail'd away, (took some sudden,
    vehement notion;)
Since, twenty years and more have circled round and round,
While he the globe was circling round and round, —and now returns:
How changed the place—all the old land-marks gone—the parents dead;
(Yes, he comes back to lay in port for good—to settle—has a
    well-fill'd purse—no spot will do but this;)
The little boat that scull'd him from the sloop, now held in leash I see,
I hear the slapping waves, the restless keel, the rocking in the sand,
I see the sailor kit, the canvas bag, the great box bound with brass,
I scan the face all berry-brown and bearded—the stout-strong frame,
Dress'd in its russet suit of good Scotch cloth:
(Then what the told-out story of those twenty years? What of the future?)

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