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Poems About Maine

Table of Contents

Portland Headlight, Maine
Portland Headlight, Maine
by William Aiken Walker
  1. Maine by Isaac McLellan
  2. The Rugged Sons of Maine by Douglas Malloch
  3. June in Maine by Hannah Augusta Moore
  4. Portland by Elijah Kellogg
  5. Bald Head Cliff by Thaddeus Pomeroy Cressey
  6. Casco River by Daniel Clement Colesworthy
  7. The Life Savers by Hannah Augusta Moore
  8. The Fisher's Wife by Susan Rhyce Beckwith
  9. Maine Woods by Rachel Pomeroy
  10. The Lumbermen by John Greenleaf Whittier
  11. Northern Maine by Anna Boynton Averill
  12. Hills of Maine by Annie Zilpha Marshall Plummer
  13. October on a Maine River by Kenneth Slade Alling
  14. My Lost Youth by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  1. Maine

    by Isaac McLellan

    Far in the sunset's mellow glory,
    Far in the day-break's pearly bloom,
    Fringed by ocean's foamy surges,
    Belted in by woods of gloom,
    Stretch thy soft, luxuriant borders,
    Smile thy shores, in hill and plain,
    Flower-enamelled, ocean-girdled,
    Green bright shores of Maine.

    Rivers of surpassing beauty
    From thy hemlock woodlands flow,—
    Androscoggin and Penobscot,
    Saco, chilled by northern snow;
    These from many a lowly valley
    Thick by pine-trees shadowed o'er,
    Sparkling from their ice-cold tributes
    To the surges of thy shore.

    Bays resplendent as the heaven,
    Starred and gemmed by thousand isles,
    Gird thee,—Casco with its islets,
    Quoddy with its dimpled smiles;
    O'er them swift the fisher's shallop
    And tall ships their wings expand,
    While the smoke-flag of the steamer
    Flaunteth out its cloudy streamer,
    Bound unto a foreign strand.

    Bright from many a rocky headland,
    Fringed by sands that shine like gold,
    Gleams the light-house, white and lonely,
    Grim as some baronial hold.
    Bright by many an ocean valley
    Shaded hut and village shine;
    Roof and steeple, weather-beaten,
    Stained by ocean's breath of brine.

  2. The Rugged Sons of Maine

    by Douglas Malloch

    Beneath the spruce tree and the pine
    Were little children reared
    And something of that regal line
    In their own blood appeared.
    For they were mighty, like the tree
    In form and heart and brain
    And grew in stately dignity—
    The rugged sons of Maine.

    Their cradle was the bough that swings,
    Their lullaby the breeze
    That strikes the forest's waiting strings
    And wakes its harmonies.
    They laved their feet in purling brooks
    That tumble to the plain,
    And learned from Nature more than books-
    The rugged sons of Maine.

    No terrors in the forest dwelt
    Or through the forest crept—
    It was the altar where they knelt,
    The chamber where they slept.
    They walked its solemn aisles secure
    From want or care or pain,
    In health and vigor rich, though poor—
    The rugged sons of Maine.

    The rugged sons of Maine have stamped
    Their impress on the world,
    Beneath the battleflag have tramped
    Where death's tornado whirled.
    The peacetime's greater victories
    Have felt the hand and brain
    Of children of the forest trees—
    The rugged sons of Maine.

    And some there were who left the wild
    To other hills to roam,
    But never does the forest child
    Forget the forest home.
    Remembering its tender love
    In sunshine and in rain,
    They proudly wear the title of
    The rugged sons of Maine.

  3. June in Maine

    by Hannah Augusta Moore

    Beautiful, beautiful summer!
    Odorous, exquisite June!
    All the sweet roses in blossom,
    All the sweet birdies in tune.

    Dew on the meadows at sunset;
    Gems on the meadows at morn;
    Melody hushing the evening;
    Melody greeting the dawn.

    All the dim aisles of the forest
    Ringing and thrilling with song;
    Music—a flood-tide of music—
    Poured the green valleys along.

    Rapturous creatures of beauty.
    Winging their way through the sky,
    Heavenward warble their praises—
    Mount our thanksgivings as high?

    Lo! when a bird is delighted,
    His ecstacy prompts him to soar;
    The greater, the fuller his rapture,
    His songs of thanksgiving the more.

    See how the winds from the mountains
    Sweep over meadows most fair;
    The green fields are tossed like the ocean,
    Are shadowed by clouds in the air.

    For now fleecy shadows are chasing
    The sunshine from woodland and vale,
    As white clouds come gathering slowly,
    Blown up by the sweet-scented gale

    Birds and the gales and the flowers
    Call us from study away,
    Out to the fields where the mowers
    Soon will be making the hay.

    Buttercups, daisies, and clover,
    Roses, sweet-briar, and fern,
    Mingle their breath on the breezes—
    Who from such wooing could turn?

    Out! to the heath and the mountain,
    Where mid the fern and the brake,
    Under the pines and the spruces,
    Fragrant the bower we will make.

    Ravishing voices of Nature,
    Ye conquer—and never too soon—
    We yield to thy luscious embraces,
    Thou odorous, exquisite June!

  4. Portland

    by Elijah Kellogg

    Still may I love, beloved of thee,
    My own fair city of the sea!
    Where moulders back to kindred dust
    The mother who my childhood nurst,
    And strove, with ill-requited toil,
    To till a rough, ungrateful soil;
    Yet kindly spired by Heaven to know
    That Faith's reward is sure, though slow,
    And see the prophet's mantle grace
    The rudest scion of her race.

    And while around thy seaward shore
    The Atlantic doth its surges pour,
    (Those verdant isles, thy bosom-gems,)
    May Temples be thy diadems;
    Spire after spire in beauty rise,
    Still pointing upward to the skies
    Unwritten sermons, and rebukes of love,
    To point thy toiling throngs to worlds above.

  5. Bald Head Cliff

    by Thaddeus Pomeroy Cressey

    The lone dark rock stands out against the sky;
    High o'er its summit white-winged sea birds sail,
    And fleck the azure ether as they fly
    Above the splendor of the mist-cloud veil.

    I've watched the weird, wild waves on swelling tide,
    That through the long perpetual ages
    Have climbed high up the lone cliff's rugged side,
    And carved thereon memorial pages.

    I've seen the white-plumed waves along the shore,
    Like warriors brave, advancing in a line,
    Dash high against the cliff with clash and roar,
    Though ineffectual on the cliff's incline.

    So mid the restless waves of passion braving,
    Calm-fronted, staunch, defiant may we be,
    And meet the foe's onset with banners waving,
    Unyielding, conquering, absolutely free.

  6. Casco River

    by Daniel Clement Colesworthy

    Of the rivers bright and golden,
    Rolling onward to the sea,
    In their beauty and their grandeur,
    Thou the dearest art to me.

    I have seen the Juniata
    Sweep its verdant banks along;
    Listened to the Rappahannock
    In its rudest, wildest song;

    I have watched the broad Ohio,
    Swelling from a thousand streams,
    And the quiet, meek Scioto,
    Brighter than a poet's dreams;

    Heard the roaring of Niagara,
    Wonder of the western world;
    Seen the towering, icy mountains
    In its "hell of waters" hurled;

    Stood beside the Susquehanna,
    And the rolling Merrimack;
    On the noble Mississippi
    Marked the Indian s arrowy track;

    By the beauteous Androscoggin
    In a trance of glory stood,
    Listening to a thousand echoes
    From the deep, surrounding wood;

    In Penobscot's verdant valley
    Lingered with the savage wild,
    Till I seemed to catch the spirit
    Of untutored nature's child;

    On the banks of sinuous Nonesuch
    Lingered many a sunny day,
    Till the evening shadows tore me
    From my peaceful joys away;

    Sailed upon the glorious Hudson,
    Floated on old Congin's breast;
    But such beauties never stirred me
    As on Casco's bosom rest.

    Golden river! well I love thee—
    Heaven of childhood's happy day,
    When upon thy sparkling waters
    I was wont to leap and play.

    Gone are schoolmates; cot and palace
    Crumbled by the tooth of time;
    But thou rollest in thy beauty,
    Filling me with thoughts sublime

    Generations come and linger
    For a season and are gone,
    But, unchanging and forever,
    Gloriously thou rollest on.

  7. The Life Savers

    by Hannah Augusta Moore

    All night long do you know it? Do you care?
    Up and down the ocean beaches they are marching;
    All the lanesome peril of the winter nights they dare,
    Where the surf shoots, seething, landward in the bitter, biting air;
    And the fitful lights and shadows of the lanterns that they bear
    Make more wild the gloomy sky above them arching

    Where the coast is bleak and cold;
    Where the rocks are high and bold,
    While the wind and snow and sleet are beating;
    Where the breakers rush and roar,
    There they watch for ships ashore,
    The cry for help with instant succor meeting.

    All night long where the surges flood the dunes,
    Stern watch and ward they keep, strong eyes sweeping
    The offing, while the breakers are roaring savage runes,
    While the stormy winds are howling or wailing dismal tunes,
    While the rocks and sands about them are becoming broad lagoons,
    The life-saving watch these braves are keeping.

    All night long while the timid landsmen sleep,
    Dreaming, snug and warm, on their downy pillows,
    The coast-guard, the surf-men down by the deep,
    Steadfastly, bravely, their watch heroic keep,
    Or into the sea—icy cold—they boldly leap,
    To rescue fellow-men from the billows.

    Talk not of heroes whose trade it is to kill!
    Life savers! these are the god-like heroes still,
    Risking their lives for every life they save
    From the plunging wreck, or snatch from swirling wave.

    O when your beds are warm,
    In nights of winter storm,
    When you are safe from wind and sea—
    Think of the surf-men brave:
    Their life watch by the wave,
    And cheer them by your grateful sympathy.

  8. The Fisher's Wife

    by Susan Rhyce Beckwith

    Lonely, desponding—the gathering gloom
    Slowly filling the quiet room—
    Sits the fisher's wife, with disheveled hair;—
    What does she see in the darkness there?

    Outside, the breakers, with sullen dash
    Fling high their spray to the window-sash,
    That, by the fitful gleams of the moonlight thrown,
    Seems like prison-bars on her floor of stone.

    On this same night, ten years before,
    While the angry sea lashed the rock-bound shore,
    She, anxiously watching, trimmed her light;—
    And the waves were cold, and the moon was bright.

    "Set the light, my lass, by the cottage door,"
    Said the fisher that morn as he sought the shore;
    "The moon will be up when I come to-night;
    Her wake once crossed, I shall be all right."

    With earnest eye, since the waning day,
    She had followed the moon in her upward way,
    And her quivering wake on the midnight sea,
    If there the looked-for boat might be.

    'Mong the rocks, where shadows so darksomely hide,
    Where the sea-foam that wreathed them was gone with the tide
    With tight'ning hands o'er the sickening heart,
    With blanching cheek, and lips apart—
    Like a statue she stood, so cold and white,
    Searching, but vainly, into the night.

    A tiny form with outstretched hands,
    And pink feet glancing among the sands,
    And a baby voice—"Mamma, mamma!"
    But the merciless sea, shock after shock,
    Assaulting the solid towering rock
    With fearful echoes, re-echoing far,
    Swallows the cry;
    Did'st thou hear it not?


    There's a desolate heart and an empty cot.
    And that little form, uncoffined and white,
    Revealed by the gleams of the pale moonlight,
    As pulseless it lay on the surf-washed shore,
    Shall rest on her memory evermore.

    'Tis this she sees in that quiet room,
    Where all is wrapped in the gathering gloom;
    And alone—God help her! she sits apart,
    With folded hands and a broken heart!

  9. Maine Woods

    by Rachel Pomeroy

    May-flower from over the sea,
    With the bloom still bright on your lips,
    And a hint of odor lingering yet
    In your delicate petal tips;
    Nursling shy of a season wild,
    Nature's first and fairest child.

    You have come so far, so far,
    Tender, beautiful thing,
    Out of the sharp New England woods,
    And a frosty northern spring,
    Yet bringing, methinks, the woodland smell,
    Whose spicy wealth I know so well.

    Your perfume smote on my sense
    Like a delicate, dim complaint;
    Subtle meanings seem to hide
    In the woodland murmurs faint,
    And the city gleaming across the bay
    In smoke and shadow faded away.

    For one amazing hour
    The dull world dies to me,
    Sky, tree-top, sudden bird-note grow
    Life's sole reality,
    And O, to have staid there all alone,
    Afar from tiresome school and town!

    Flower and I were one,
    Earth held us to her heart,
    Her fragrant breath was on our brows—
    But she let her babes depart;
    Stealer and stolen went their ways,
    Yet she loved us both in those old days.

    Yet, O enchanted Mays,
    O woodland odors wild,
    Have you ever missed from then to now
    The happy-hearted child
    That went so blithe through yonder wood,
    Your sun and bloom in her dancing blood?

    Nay, nature spares us well,
    She's our foster-mother at best;
    'Tis never she that needs our love,
    But we that need her rest;
    So she gathers us back to her veins at last,
    And new life comes to repeat the past.

    But, O forests fair, as of old,
    And May-blossoms over the sea,
    O merry children despoiling both,
    You all belong to me—
    For into the past ye slip away,
    And lo, the dead years bloom to-day!

  10. The Lumbermen

    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    Wildly round our woodland quarters
    Sad-voiced Autumn grieves;
    Thickly down these swelling waters
    Float his fallen leaves.
    Through the tall and naked timber,
    Column-like and old,
    Gleam the sunsets of November
    From their skies of gold.

    O'er us, to the southland heading,
    Screams the gray wild-goose;
    On the night-frost sounds the treading
    Of the brindled moose.
    Noiseless creeping, while we're sleeping,
    Frost his task-work plies;
    Soon, his icy bridges heaping,
    Shall our log-piles rise.

    When, with sounds of smothered thunder,
    On some night of rain,
    Lake and river break asunder
    Winter's weakened chain,
    Down the wild March flood shall bear them
    To the saw-mill's wheel,
    Or where Steam, the slave, shall tear them
    With his teeth of steel.

    Be it starlight, be it moonlight,
    In these vales below,
    When the earliest beams of sunlight
    Streak the mountain's snow,
    Crisps the hoar-frost, keen and early,
    To our hurrying feet,
    And the forest echoes clearly
    All our blows repeat.

    Where the crystal Ambijejis
    Stretches broad and clear,
    And Millnoket's pine-black ridges
    Hide the browsing deer:
    Where, through lakes and wide morasses,
    Or through rocky walls,
    Swift and strong, Penobscot passes
    White with foamy falls;

    Where, through clouds, are glimpses given
    Of Katahdin's sides,—
    Rock and forest piled to heaven,
    Torn and ploughed by slides!
    Far below, the Indian trapping,
    In the sunshine warm;
    Far above, the snow-cloud wrapping
    Half the peak in storm!

    Where are mossy carpets better
    Than the Persian weaves,
    And than Eastern perfumes sweeter
    Seem the fading leaves;
    And a music wild and solemn,
    From the pine-tree's height,
    Rolls its vast and sea-like volume
    On the wind of night;

    Make we here our camp of winter;
    And, through sleet and snow,
    Pitchy knot and beechen splinter
    On our hearth shall glow.
    Here, with mirth to lighten duty,
    We shall lack alone
    Woman's smile and girlhood's beauty,
    Childhood's lisping tone.

    But their hearth is brighter burning
    For our toil to-day;
    And the welcome of returning
    Shall our loss repay,
    When, like seamen from the waters,
    From the woods we come,
    Greeting sisters, wives, and daughters,
    Angels of our home!

    Not for us the measured ringing
    From the village spire,
    Not for us the Sabbath singing
    Of the sweet-voiced choir:
    Ours the old, majestic temple,
    Where God's brightness shines
    Down the dome so grand and ample,
    Propped by lofty pines!

    Through each branch-enwoven skylight,
    Speaks He in the breeze,
    As of old beneath the twilight
    Of lost Eden's trees!
    For His ear, the inward feeling
    Needs no outward tongue;
    He can see the spirit kneeling
    While the axe is swung.

    Heeding truth alone, and turning
    From the false and dim,
    Lamp of toil or altar burning
    Are alike to Him.
    Strike, then, comrades!—Trade is waiting
    On our rugged toil;
    Far ships waiting for the freighting
    Of our woodland spoil!

    Ships, whose traffic links these highlands,
    Bleak and cold, of ours,
    With the citron-planted islands
    Of a clime of flowers;
    To our frosts the tribute bringing
    Of eternal heats;
    In our lap of winter flinging
    Tropic fruits and sweets.

    Cheerly, on the axe of labor,
    Let the sunbeams dance,
    Better than the flash of sabre
    Or the gleam of lance!
    Strike!—With every blow is given
    Freer sun and sky,
    And the long-hid earth to heaven
    Looks, with wondering eye!

    Loud behind us grow the murmurs
    Of the age to come;
    Clang of smiths, and tread of farmers,
    Bearing harvest home!
    Here her virgin lap with treasures
    Shall the green earth fill;
    Waving wheat and golden maize-ears
    Crown each beechen hill.

    Keep who will the city's alleys,
    Take the smooth-shorn plain,—
    Give to us the cedarn valleys,
    Rocks and hills of Maine!
    In our North-land, wild and woody,
    Let us still have part;
    Rugged nurse and mother sturdy,
    Hold us to thy heart!

    O, our free hearts beat the warmer
    For thy breath of snow;
    And our tread is all the firmer
    For thy rocks below.
    Freedom, hand in hand with Labor,
    Walketh strong and brave;
    On the forehead of his neighbor
    No man writeth Slave!

    Lo, the day breaks! old Katahdin's
    Pine-trees show its fires,
    While from these dim forest gardens
    Rise their blackened spires.
    Up, my comrades! up and doing!
    Manhood's rugged play
    Still renewing, bravely hewing
    Through the world our way!

  11. Northern Maine

    by Anna Boynton Averill

    My native wilds! For years untold
    The morning touched your hills with gold.
    The north wind swept your fragrant glooms,
    And bore the larch and pine perfumes
    Across your lakes of lily blooms.

    The fir, the hemlock and the pine
    Sang on the heights—and moss and vine
    Made many a far, dim valley sweet
    And shadowy for the shy fawn's feet.

    In silvery solitudes, the loon
    Laughed with the echoes, and the moon
    Made splendor on the mountains, when
    The Storm King slept, unseen of men.

    O woods, and lakes, and wandering streams!
    Ye have awakened from your dreams.
    Your sweet breath blew abroad. Beware!
    The gay world comes and finds you fair.

    Will all wild things take wing away?
    I ween I would an I were they.
    Up these deep water-ways I'd fare,
    If I were wolf, or moose, or bear,
    Or bird, or fawn, or fox, or hare!

    O northern wilds! you surely hold
    In your great heart some refuge old,
    Safe hid and far and deep and dumb,
    Where the gay world will never come.

  12. Hills of Maine

    by Annie Silpha Marshall Plummer

    Lofty, cloud-capped, rock-bound mountains,
    Bold ye tower in grandeur high,
    Till your bristling pine-tree summits
    Seem to reach the cloud-flecked sky,
    Seasons change from sun to shadow,
    And blossoms bud and fade again,
    But these bulwarks stand forever,
    They will always last the same.

    How sublime, how full of wonder
    Seem the marble piles of art,
    Yet in nature how much greater;
    All her works feed soul and heart.
    Hills and vales I love you fondly;
    Love the sound of every name,
    That each granite dome is christened,
    In the dear old State of Maine.

    Eloquent teachers are the mountains;
    What sermons preach they every day,
    And we need no written logic
    To decipher what they say.
    Grand, majestic, testifying
    In each rock and grain of sand,
    That like God they are everlasting,
    Built and fashioned by His hand.

    And the music of their brooklets,
    Rippling o'er low beds of green,
    Brings a soothing charm and restful,
    Like none other heard, I ween.
    Fond I cherish and revere you,
    For, linked firm in memory's chain,
    Are the glens and deep dense wildwoods
    Of the dear old State of Maine.

    Resting in their quiet beauty,
    See the silvery lakelets blue,
    Mirroring on their crystal bosoms
    Your tall peaks, each form and hue;
    And I reach, I long to clasp you,
    See your faces once again,
    Rearing high your heads so hoary;
    O ye grand old hills of Maine.

    I can see you when in autumn,
    Gauzy veils of haze seem swung
    O'er your scarred and rough-hewn boulders,
    Till the hills and sky seem one;
    And the tinted bow of promise
    Would seem faded now and pale,
    Seen beside the gorgeous colors,
    Painted over hill and vale.

    I can see you when the sunset
    Sheds a golden glory 'round,
    And amidst the twilight shadows,
    Reigns a stillness, deep, profound;
    Till your forms so kingly, regal,
    Stand like battlements on high,
    Fit to be a nation's strong-hold;
    "God's free hills!" the battle cry.

    When life's last sunset is fading,
    And the mists are gray and cold,
    Leave me where those cloud-wreathed mountains
    May their shadows round me fold;
    And, methinks, from out the silence
    I could hear the sweet refrain
    Of the pine-tree's low, sweet sighing
    From the dear old hills of Maine.

  13. October on a Maine River

    by Kenneth Slade Alling

    The blood of maples on the autumn sky,
    And dead leaves drifting, drifting to the sea:
    Now, to the year Time makes his old reply,
    Nothing on earth shall live immortally.
    The burst of glory on a dying face,
    Of one who sees beyond, some haven far,
    Lit with the spring-light of another place
    And silver winds blown from another star.
    Now beauty burns in gold on every hill
    And changes not her warm imperial way:
    There is no sadness here, whate'er men say—
    Beauty departing is yet beauty still.

  14. My Lost Youth

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Often I think of the beautiful town
    That is seated by the sea;
    Often in thought go up and down
    The pleasant streets of that dear old town,
    And my youth comes back to me.
    And a verse of a Lapland song
    Is haunting my memory still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    I can see the shadowy lines of its trees,
    And catch, in sudden gleams,
    The sheen of the far-surrounding seas,
    And islands that were the Hesperides
    Of all my boyish dreams.
    And the burden of that old song,
    It murmurs and whispers still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    I remember the black wharves and the slips,
    And the sea-tides tossing free;
    And Spanish sailors with bearded lips,
    And the beauty and mystery of the ships,
    And the magic of the sea.
    And the voice of that wayward song
    Is singing and saying still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    I remember the bulwarks by the shore,
    And the fort upon the hill;
    The sunrise gun, with its hollow roar,
    The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er,
    And the bugle wild and shrill.
    And the music of that old song
    Throbs in my memory still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    I remember the sea-fight far away,
    How it thundered o'er the tide!
    And the dead captains, as they lay
    In their graves, o'erlooking the tranquil bay,
    Where they in battle died.
    And the sound of that mournful song
    Goes through me with a thrill:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    I can see the breezy dome of groves,
    The shadows of Deering's Woods;
    And the friendships old and the early loves
    Come back with a Sabbath sound, as of doves
    In quiet neighborhoods.
    And the verse of that sweet old song,
    It flutters and murmurs still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    I remember the gleams and glooms that dart
    Across the school-boy's brain;
    The song and the silence in the heart,
    That in part are prophecies, and in part
    Are longings wild and vain.
    And the voice of that fitful song
    Sings on, and is never still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    There are things of which I may not speak;
    There are dreams that cannot die;
    There are thoughts that make the strong heart weak,
    And bring a pallor into the cheek,
    And a mist before the eye.
    And the words of that fatal song
    Come over me like a chill:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    Strange to me now are the forms I meet
    When I visit the dear old town;
    But the native air is pure and sweet,
    And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street,
    As they balance up and down,
    Are singing the beautiful song,
    Are sighing and whispering still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

    And Deering's Woods are fresh and fair,
    And with joy that is almost pain
    My heart goes back to wander there,
    And among the dreams of the days that were,
    I find my lost youth again.
    And the strange and beautiful song,
    The groves are repeating it still:
    "A boy's will is the wind's will,
    And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."

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