The lover, perhaps a male, though it is never specified, must traverse a "grey sea" in order to arrive at the "cove" where he can dock the boat on which he has traveled. Once he makes it to land, he must cross a "mile of warm sea-scented beach" and "three fields" before he gets to the farm where his lover lives. He taps at her window, and she—presumably—lights a match with which to light a lamp or a candle so that they can see one another. The scenes depicted in the first part of the poem are rich with visual imagery, with colorful descriptions of the sea, the land, the moon, and the waves that reflect the moon's yellow light so that they appear to be fiery. The scenes depicted in the second part of the poem, however, possess many different kinds of imagery, and this makes it incredibly vibrant—perhaps echoing the feelings of the lovers when they finally unite. There are olfactory, auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic images that combine to express the lovers' joy.
In the poem, the lover has to cross the ocean, a mile of "warm sea-scented" beach, and three fields in order to reach his lady's farmhouse.
The poem begins by describing the "grey sea" and how the lover travels by the light of the "yellow half-moon large and low." We get the idea that the lover is in a hurry, as he "gain(s) the cove with pushing prow." His boat presumably moves at such great speed that the waves leap like "fiery ringlets from their sleep."
At last, when he reaches the land, he finds that he only has one mile of beach and three fields to cross before the farmhouse comes into view. The rhythm of the poem, signifying the haste at which the lover travels, is reinforced by kinesthetic imagery ("A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch / And blue spurt of a lighted match"). The end of the poem sees the joyful reunion between the lover and his lady, with their "two hearts beating each to each!"