Set to the Music

by Crosscurrents Music

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1.
Oh! My George, this wild November We must not pass with you For Ruth, our fragile daughter, Its chilly gales will rue. CHORUS So, home to Lovell's Island Take us when fails the sea To the old house where comfort And better shelter be. Comes the long weary winter With its storms of driving snow; I can only watch the beacon Sure that you are near its glow. Yes, dear wife, my constant service Binds me to this narrow isle, Love must ever yield to duty Though the heart be sad the while. CHORUS So, home to Lovell's Island Take us when fails the sea To the old house where comfort And better shelter be. Only grant that on the morrow We may safely pass the sea, I can bravely bear my sorrow You and Ruth here will not be. With wild nor'wester came this morning Cold and clear the heartless sky. Come wife, take Ruth. A long pull In the boat I’ll row you nigh. CHORUS So, home to Lovell's Island Take us when fails the sea To the old house where comfort And better shelter be. In her mother's cloak is nestled Frail Ruth, sheltered from the blast, Anne looks into George's face then With quick, strong strokes they leave at last. Now they reach the open channel Where the flood tide breasts the gale Rears a toppling wall of water Making Anne's fair cheeks grow pale. CHORUS So, home to Lovell's Island Take us when fails the sea To the old house where comfort And better shelter be. Quick the prow is bearing upward George into Anne's arms is thrown Husband, wife and child together To the chilly waves have gone. Frenzied clasp of wife and daughter Bears the sturdy swimmer down, Save the boat upon the water Nothing of their fate is known. CHORUS (LEN adaptation) Never home to Lovell's Island Shall they come when fails the sea In the old house there’s no comfort Though there better shelter be.
2.
Souls of poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ? Have ye tippled drink more fine Than mine host's Canary wine ? Or are fruits of Paradise Sweeter than those dainty pies Of venison ? O generous food ! Drest as though bold Robin Hood Would, with his maid Marian, Sup and bowse from horn and can. Souls of poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ? I have heard that on a day Mine host's signboard fled away, Nobody knew whither, till An astrologer's old quill To a sheepskin gave the story, Said he saw you in your glory, Underneath a new-old sign Sipping beverage divine, And pledging with contented smack The Mermaid in the Zodiac. Souls of poets dead and gone, What Elysium have ye known, Happy field or mossy cavern, Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern ?
3.
What is it you ask me, darling? All my stories, child, you know; I have no strange dreams to tell you, Pictures I have none to show. Tell you glorious scenes of travel? Nay, my child, that cannot be, I have seen no foreign countries, Marvels none on land or sea. CHORUS: Yet strange sights in truth I witness, And I gaze until I tire, Wondrous pictures, changing ever, As I look into the fire. There, last night, I saw a cavern, Black as pitch; within it lay Coiled in many folds a dragon, Glaring as if turned at bay. And a knight in dismal armour On a winged eagle came, To do battle with this dragon; And his crest was all of flame. As I gazed the dragon faded, And, instead, sat Pluto crowned, By a lake of burning fire; Spirits dark were crouching round. That was gone, and lo! before me, A cathedral vast and grim; I could almost hear the organ Peal alone the arches dim. Then I saw a maiden wreathing Starry flowers in garlands sweet; Did she see the fiery serpent That was wrapped about her feet? That fell crashing all and vanished; And I saw two armies close-- I could almost hear the clarions, And the shouting of the foes. They were gone; and lo! bright angels, On a barren mountain wild, Raised appealing arms to Heaven, Bearing up a little child. And I gazed, and gazed, and slowly Gathered in my eyes sad tears, And the fiery pictures bore me Back through distant dreams of years. Once again I tasted sorrow, With past joy was once more gay, Till the shade had gathered round me-- And the fire had died away.
4.
The Ropewalk 03:57
In that building, long and low With its windows all a-row Like the port-holes of a hulk; Human spiders spin and spin Backward down their threads so thin Dropping, each a hempen bulk. At the end, an open door Squares of sunshine on the floor Light the long and dusky lane; And the whirring of a wheel Dull and drowsy, makes me feel All its spokes are in my brain. All these scenes do I behold These and many left untold In that building long and low; While the wheel goes round and round With a drowsy, dreamy sound And the spinners backward go. Two fair maidens in a swing Like white doves upon the wing First before my vision pass; Laughing, as their gentle hands Closely clasp the twisted strands At their shadow on the grass. Then a homestead among farms And a woman with bare arms, Drawing water from a well; As the bucket mounts apace With it mounts her own fair face As at some magician's spell. Then an old man in a tower Ringing loud the noontide hour While the rope coils round & round; Like a serpent at his feet And again, in swift retreat Nearly lifts him from the ground. Ships rejoicing in the breeze Wrecks that float o'er unknown seas Anchors dragged through faithless sand; Sea-fog drifting overhead And, with lessening line and lead Sailors feeling for the land.
5.
Listen my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year. He said to his friend, "If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,— One, if by land, and two, if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm." Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore, Just as the moon rose over the bay, Where swinging wide at her moorings lay The Somerset, British man-of-war; A phantom ship, with each mast and spar Across the moon like a prison bar, And a huge black hulk, that was magnified By its own reflection in the tide. Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride, Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere. Now he patted his horse's side, Now he gazed at the landscape far and near, Then, impetuous, stamped the earth, And turned and tightened his saddle girth; But mostly he watched with eager search The belfry tower of the Old North Church, As it rose above the graves on the hill, Lonely and spectral and sombre and still. And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height A glimmer, and then a gleam of light! He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns, But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight One, if by land, and two, if by sea! A second lamp in the belfry burns. A hurry of hoofs in a village street, A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark, And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet: That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light, The fate of a nation was riding that night; And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight, Kindled the land into flame with its heat. It was twelve by the village clock When he crossed the bridge into Medford town. He heard the crowing of the cock, As he crossed the bridge into Medford town. He heard the crowing of the cock, And the barking of the farmer's dog, And felt the damp of the river fog, That rises after the sun goes down. It was one by the village clock, When he galloped into Lexington. He saw the gilded weathercock Swim in the moonlight as he passed, Meetinghouse windows, blank and bare, Gaze at him with a spectral glare, As if they already stood aghast At the bloody work they would look upon. It was two by the village clock, When he came to the bridge in Concord town. He felt the breath of the morning breeze Blowing over the meadow brown. And one was safe and asleep in his bed Who at the bridge would be first to fall, Who that day would be lying dead, Pierced by a British musket ball. You know the rest. In the books you have read How the British Regulars fired and fled, How the farmers gave them ball for ball, From behind each fence and farmyard wall, Chasing the red-coats down the lane, Then crossing the fields to emerge again Under the trees at the turn of the road, And only pausing to fire and load. So through the night rode Paul Revere; And so through the night went his cry of alarm To every Middlesex village and farm,—A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo forevermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
6.
Landlocked 02:45
Black lie the hills; swiftly doth daylight flee; And, catching gleams of sunset's dying smile, Through the dusk land for many a changing mile The river runneth softly to the sea. O happy river, could I follow thee! O yearning heart, that never can be still! O wistful eyes, that watch the steadfast hill, Longing for level line of solemn sea! Have patience; here are flowers and songs of birds, Beauty and fragrance, wealth of sound and sight, All summer's glory thine from morn till night, And life too full of joy for uttered words. Neither am I ungrateful; but I dream Deliciously how twilight falls to-night Over the glimmering water, how the light Dies blissfully away, until I seem To feel the wind, sea-scented, on my cheek, To catch the sound of dusky flapping sail And dip of oars, and voices on the gale Afar off, calling low, my name they speak O Earth! Thy summer song of joy may soar Ringing to heaven in triumph. I but crave The sad, caressing murmur of the wave That breaks in tender music on the shore.
7.
Offshore 05:13
Rock, little boat, beneath the quiet sky; Only the stars behold us where we lie, -- Only the stars and yonder brightening moon. On the wide sea tonight alone are we; The sweet, bright summer day dies silently, Its glowing sunset will have faded soon. Rock softly, little boat, the while I mark The far off gliding sails, distinct and dark, Across the west pass steadily and slow. But on the eastern waters sad, they change And vanish, dream-like, gray, and cold, and strange, And no one knoweth whither they may go. We care not, we, drifting with wind and tide, While glad waves darken upon either side, Save where the moon sends silver sparkles down, Yonder slender stream of hanging light, And now white, now crimson, tremulously bright, Where dark the lighthouse stands, with fiery crown. Thick falls the dew soundless on sea and shore. It shines on little boat and idle oar, Wherever moonbeams touch with tranquil glow. The waves are full of whispers wild and sweet; They call to me, -- incessantly they beat Along the boat from stern to carved prow. Comes the careering wind, blows back my hair, All damp with dew, to kiss me unaware Murmuring, "Thee I love," and passes on. Sweet sounds on rocky shores the distant rote; Oh could we float forever, little boat, Under the blissful sky drifting alone!
8.
O sailors, did sweet eyes look after you The day you sailed away from sunny Spain? Bright eyes that followed fading ship and crew, Melting in tender rain? CHORUS Farewell and adieu, you fine Spanish ladies Farewell, ye ladies of Spain Bright eyes that follow the fading ship and crew Melting in tender rain. Did no one dream of that drear night to be, Wild with the wind, fierce with the stinging snow, When on yon granite point that frets the sea, The ship met her death-blow? Fifty long years ago these sailors died: (None know how many sleep beneath the waves) Fourteen gray headstones, rising side by side, Point out their nameless graves,- Lonely, unknown, deserted, but for me, And the wild birds that flit with mournful cry, And sadder winds, and voices of the sea That moans perpetually. Wives, mothers, maidens, wistfully, in vain Questioned the distance for the yearning sail, That leaning landward, should have stretched again White arms wide on the gale, To bring back their beloved. Year by year, Weary they watched, till youth and beauty passed, And lustrous eyes grew dim and age drew near, And hope was dead at last. Still summer broods o'er that delicious land, Rich, fragrant, warm with skies of golden glow: Live any yet of that forsaken band Who loved so long ago? Oh Spanish women, over the far seas, Could I but show you where your dead repose! Could I send tidings on this northern breeze That strong and steady blows! Dear dark-eyed sisters, you remember yet These you have lost, but you can never know One stands at their bleak graves whose eyes are wet With thinking of your woe!
9.
On the Coast of Coromandel Where the early pumpkins blow, In the middle of the woods Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. Two old chairs, and half a candle, One old jug without a handle-- These were all his worldly goods, In the middle of the woods, These were all his worldly goods, Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Of the Yonghy-Bonghy Bo. Once, among the Bong-trees walking Where the early pumpkins blow, To a little heap of stones Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. There he heard a Lady talking, To some milk-white Hens of Dorking-- "‘Tis the Lady Jingly Jones! On that little heap of stones Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!” Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. “Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly! Sitting where the pumpkins blow, Will you come and be my wife?” Said the Yongby-Bonghy-Bo. “I am tired of living singly-- On this coast so wild and shingly-- I’m a-weary of my life; If you’ll come and be my wife, Quite serene would be my life!” Said the Yonghy-Bongby-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. “On this Coast of Coromandel Shrimps and watercresses grow, Prawns are plentiful and cheap," Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. “You shall have my chairs and candle, And my jug without a handle! Gaze upon the rolling deep (Fish is plentiful and cheap); As the sea, my love is deep!” Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. Lady Jingly answered sadly, And her tears began to flow-- “Your proposal comes too late, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! I would be your wife most gladly!” (Here she twirled her fingers madly) “But in England I’ve a mate! Yes! you’ve asked me far too late, For in England I’ve a mate, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Mr. Yongby-Bonghy-Bo! “Mr. Jones (his name is Handel-- Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.) Dorking fowls delights to send Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Keep, oh, keep your chairs and candle, And your jug without a handle-- I can merely be your friend! Should my Jones more Dorkings send, I will give you three, my friend! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! “Though you’ve such a tiny body, And your head so large doth grow-- Though your hat may blow away Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Though you’re such a Hoddy Doddy, Yet I wish that I could modi- fy the words I needs must say! will you please to go away That is all I have to say, Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo! Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo!” Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle, Where the early pumpkins blow, To the calm and silent sea Fled the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle, Lay a large and lively Turtle. “You’re the Cove," he said, “for me; On your back beyond the sea, Turtle, you shall carry me!” Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. Through the silent-roaring ocean Did the Turtle swiftly go; Holding fast upon his shell Rode the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. With a sad primeval motion Towards the sunset isles of Boshen Still the Turtle bore him well. Holding fast upon his shell, “Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!” Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. From the Coast of Coromandel Did that Lady never go; On that heap of stones she mourns For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo. On that Coast of Coromandel, In his jug without a handle Still she weeps, and daily moans; On that little heap of stones To her Dorking Hens she moans, For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo, For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo.
10.
There's wine in the cup, Vancouver, And there's warmth in my heart for you While I drink to your health,  Your youth and your wealth And the things that you yet will do. In a vintage rare and olden With a flavour fine and keen Fill the glass to the edge,  While I stand up to pledge My faith to my Western queen. CHORUS: So here's a Ho, Vancouver!  In wine of the bonniest hue With a hand on my hip and a cup at my lip  And a love in my life for you. For you are a jolly good fellow,  With a great big heart I know So I drink this toast to the Queen of the coast  Vancouver, here's a Ho! And here's to the days that are coming And here's to the days that are gone And here's to your gold and your spirit bold And your luck that has held its own. CHORUS And here's to your hands so sturdy And here's to your hearts so true And here's to the speed of the day decreed That brings me again to you. CHORUS
11.
The Good Lord Nelson had a swollen gland Little of scripture did he understand Till a woman led him to the promised land Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Adam and Evil and a bushel of figs Meant nothing to Nelson who was keeping pigs Till a woman showed him the various rigs Aboard the Victory, Victory O . His heart was softer than a new laid egg, Too poor for loving and ashamed to beg, Till Nelson was taken by the Dancing Leg, Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now he up and did up his little tin trunk And he took to the ocean on his English junk, Turning like the hour-glass in his lonely bunk Aboard the Victory, Victory O. The Frenchman saw him a-coming there With the one-piece eye and the valentine hair, With the safety-pin sleeve and the occupied air Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now you all remember the message he sent As an answer to Hamilton's discontent -- There were questions asked about it in the Parliament Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now the blacker the berry, the thicker comes the juice Think of Good Lord Nelson and avoid self-abuse, For the empty sleeve was no mere excuse Aboard the Victory, Victory O. "England Expects" was the motto he gave When he thought of little Emma out on Biscay's wave, And remembered working on her like a galley-slave Aboard the Victory, Victory O. The first Great Lord in our English land To honour the Freudian command, For a cast in the bush is worth two in the hand Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now the Frenchman shot him there as he stood In the rage of battle in a silk-lined hood And he heard the whistle of his own hot blood Aboard the Victory, Victory O. Now stiff on a pillar with a phallic air Nelson stylites in Trafalgar Square Reminds the British what once they were Aboard the Victory, Victory O. If they'd treat their women in the Nelson way There'd be fewer frigid husbands every day And many more heroes on the Bay of Biscay Aboard the Victory, Victory O.
12.
There was a Bedford Whaler put out to hunt for oil With a tryworks in amidships where chunks of whale could boil And her captain came from Bedford, and did not give a cent So over the bar from Bedford to hunt the whale she went. But never a whale she sighted for eight and forty moons She never lowered her boats in chase nor reddened her harpoons So home she went to Bedford, where her owners came to ask  How many tons of whalebone, cap, and how much oil in cask? The captain turned his tobacco inside his weather cheek And he said,  at least the Bible says, blessed are they who seek. We've been at sea four years and more, and never seen a whale We haven't a lick of oil on board, but we've had a darn good sail!
13.
"Christmas," said Bill, "on Christmas cards, it's winders all aglow, An' lots o' stuff to eat an' drink an' a good three feet o' snow, An' a bunch o' bouncin' girls to kiss under the mistletoe. It’s never so hard on a Christmas card to drive the cold winter away. Holly an' robin redbreasts too, as rosy as can be, An' waits an' chimes an' all such gear as you never get at sea, But it's different things as Christmas means to a ramblin' bloke like me. to a sailor bloke it ain't no joke to drive the cold winter away. The first I ever 'ad at sea I was 'ardly more 'n a nipper, An' I'd took an' signed, bein' young an' green, in a dandy Down-east clipper With a bullnecked beast of a bucko mate an' a rare tough nut of a skipper. And all thoughts fled right out of my head to drive the cold winter away. An' we dined 'andsome, so we did, off biscuits an' salt 'orse, An' finished up with scraper duff an' sand-an'-canvas sorce, An' them as growled got seaboot soup by way of an extry course. for there's nowt like grub from the salt junk tub to drive the cold winter away. I've 'ad my Christmas 'ere an' there, I've 'ad it up an' down, I've 'ad it sober on the seas an' drunk in sailor-town, I've 'ad it where the folks are black an' where the folks are brown, And them tropic maids in their island glades sure can drive the cold winter away. And under many a tropic sky an' many a foreign star, In Perim, Portland, Pernambuck, Malacca, Malabar, Where the rum bird-'eaded totem poles and the gilded Buddhas are. And the burning sands of them desert lands will drive the cold winter away. I've 'ad it froze in Baltic cold an' burned in Red Sea 'eat, I've 'ad it in a Channel fog as busy as a street, An' once I 'ad it off the 'Orn, an' that was sure a treat. Where there's never a coat on any old boat can drive the cold winter away. I was in the clipper Seabright then — a big ship, 'eavy sparred, With every sort o' flyin' kite an' a seventy foot mainyard, An' 'andlin' 'er in a gale of wind, I tell you, it was 'ard! For there was nary the gloom of an engine room to drive the cold winter away. We come on deck for the middle watch, an' save us, 'ow it blew! A night like the devil's ridin'boots, that never a star shone through, An' the seas they kep' on poopin' 'er till we 'ad to 'eave 'er to. And we held her there and we said a prayer to  drive the cold winter away. We snugged 'er down, we 'ove 'er to, an' there all night lay she, With one mainyard arm pointin' to 'eaven an' one to the deeps o' the sea, Dippin' 'er spars at every roll in the thunderin' foam alee. and we hung on tight til the morning light should drive the cold winter away. Till the wind an' sea went down a bit an' the dawn come cold an' grey, An' we laid aloft an' loosed the sails an' squared the ship away, An' a chap beside me on the yard says, 'Bill, it's Christmas Day!'" And I blessed my soul to be safe and whole and to drive the cold winter away.
14.
It'ss a sunny pleasant anchorage is Kingdom Come Where the crew is always laying after with double tots of rum And there s dancing and there s fiddling of every kind o sort It s a fine palce for sailormen is that there port |: And I wish (I wish), oh I wish, I wish as I was there. :| The winds is never nothin more than jest light airs N no one gets belayin' pinned, n no one never swears Yer free to loaf and laze around, yer pipe atween yer lips Lollin on the fo'c'sle, sonny, lookin' at the ships |: And I wish (I wish), oh I wish, I wish as I was there. :| For ridin' in that anchorage the ships of all the world Have got one anchor down and all sails furled All the sunken hookers and the crews as took 'n' died They lays there merry, sonny, swingin' with the tide |: And I wish (I wish), oh I wish, I wish as I was there. :| Drowned old wooden hookers green wi' drippin' wrack Ships as never fetched to port, as never came back Swingin' to the blushin' tide, dippin' to the swell, N' the crews all singin' sonny, beatin' on the bell |: And I wish (I wish), oh I wish, I wish as I was there. :|
15.
Jane went to Paradise: That was only fair. Good Sir Walter followed her, And armed her up the stair. Henry and Tobias, And Miguel of Spain, Stood with Shakespeare at the top To welcome Jane. Then the Three Archangels Offered out of hand Anything in Heaven's gift That she might command. Azrael's eyes upon her, Raphael's wings above, Michael's sword against her heart, Jane said: "Love." Instantly the understanding Seraphim Laid their fingers on their lips And went to look for him. Stole across the Zodiac, Harnessed Charles's Wain, And whispered round the Nebulae "Who loved Jane?" In a private limbo Where none had thought to look, Sat a Hampshire gentleman Reading of a book. It was called Persuasion  And it told the plain Story of the love between Him and Jane. He heard the question, Circle Heaven through - Closed the book and answered: "I did - and do!" Quietly but speedily (As Captain Wentworth moved) Entered into Paradise The man Jane loved! Jane lies in Winchester, blessed be her shade! Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made. And while the stones of Winchester - or Milsom Street - remain, Glory, Love, and Honour unto England's Jane!

about

If you love traditional and original music, this one's for you! Keats, Kipling, Longfellow, and women poets who deserve to be better known, all set to the music of traditional and original tunes. The great mystery of the sea inspires poets, musicians, and artists of all kinds. This collection of maritime poets from the Age of Sail includes fifteen traditional and original settings of Benjamin Franklin, John Keats, Adelaide Procter, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Celia Thaxter, Edward Lear, E. Pauline Johnson, Lawrence Durrell, John Masefield, Cicely Fox-Smith, and Rudyard Kipling. The works are presented in chronological order of publication, to illustrate the changing flow of nautical imagery from 1718 to 1924. Set to the music, the poems come alive like a boat in the water once you have steamed the planks of the tune over the textual frame.

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released July 24, 2021

Lynn Noel: vocals, dulcimer, bass dulcimer, shruti box, concertina, guitar
Mixed and mastered at Mermaid's Tavern Digital Studio, Waltham, MA

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Crosscurrents Music Boston, Massachusetts

Lynn Noel brings traditional song and heritage arts online to create digital community. Lynn has a voice of striking clarity and power, equally at home in rhythmic chanteys and flowing ballads.

Lynn is a respected song session leader on both sides of the Atlantic and the producer and host of the Mermaid's Tavern online folk club. She has earned awards from the IUCN, NRCA, and CDSS.
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