John Marr and Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 61 pages of information about John Marr and Other Poems.

Under the water-line a ram’s blow is dealt: 
And foul fall the knuckles that strike below the
    belt. 
Nor brave the inventions that serve to replace
The openness of valor while dismantling the
    grace.

Aloof from all this and the never-ending game,
Tantamount to teetering, plot and counterplot;
Impenetrable armor—­all-perforating shot;
Aloof, bless God, ride the war-ships of old,
A grand fleet moored in the roadstead of fame;
Not submarine sneaks with them are enrolled;
Their long shadows dwarf us, their flags are as
    flame.

Don’t fidget so, wife; an old man’s passion
Amounts to no more than this smoke that I
    puff;
There, there, now, buss me in good old fashion;
A died-down candle will flicker in the snuff.

But one last thing let your old babbler say,
What Decatur’s coxswain said who was long
    ago hearsed,
“Take in your flying-kites, for there comes a
    lubber’s day
When gallant things will go, and the three-
    deckers first.”

My pipe is smoked out, and the grog runs
    slack;
But bowse away, wife, at your blessed Bohea;
This empty can here must needs solace me—­
Nay, sweetheart, nay; I take that back;
Dick drinks from your eyes and he finds no
    lack!

TOM DEADLIGHT

During a tempest encountered homeward-bound from the Mediterranean, a grizzled petty-officer, one of the two captains of the forecastle, dying at night in his hammock, swung in the sick-bay under the tiered gun-decks of the British Dreadnaught, 98, wandering in his mind, though with glimpses of sanity, and starting up at whiles, sings by snatches his good-bye and last injunctions to two messmates, his watchers, one of whom fans the fevered tar with the flap of his old sou’wester.  Some names and phrases, with here and there a line, or part of one; these, in his aberration, wrested into incoherency from their original connection and import, he voluntarily derives, as he does the measure, from a famous old sea-ditty, whose cadences, long rife, and now humming in the collapsing brain, attune the last flutterings of distempered thought.

Farewell and adieu to you noble hearties,—­
  Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain,
For I’ve received orders for to sail for the
    Deadman,
  But hope with the grand fleet to see you
    again.

I have hove my ship to, with main-top-sail
    aback, boys;
  I have hove my ship to, for the strike
    soundings clear—­
The black scud a’flying; but, by God’s blessing,
    dam’ me,
  Right up the Channel for the Deadman I’ll
    steer.

I have worried through the waters that are
    called the Doldrums,
  And growled at Sargasso that clogs while ye
    grope—­
Blast my eyes, but the light-ship is hid by the
    mist, lads:—­
  Flying Dutchman—­odds bobbs—­off the
    Cape of Good Hope!

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Project Gutenberg
John Marr and Other Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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