Carolina Chansons eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 83 pages of information about Carolina Chansons.

    All through the high white morning,
    While the lagging tide crawled out,
    Fate held us bound and waiting,
    While, turn and turn about,

    We manned the fuming cannon
    And bartered hell for hell,
    While the scuppers sang with coursing life
    Where the dead and dying fell.

    Till, like the break of fever
    When life thrills up through pain,
    We felt the current stirring
    Under the keel again.

    Then it was hand to cutlass,
    And pistols in the sash. 
    “All hands stand by for boarding,—­
    Now, close abeam and lash!”

    But the ensign that had mocked us
    With its symbol of the dead
    Fluttered and dropped to the bloody deck,
    And a white square spoke instead.

    Home from the kill we thundered
    On the tail of the equinox,
    To the thrum of straining canvas,
    And the whine and groan of blocks.

    Leaping clear of the shallows,
    Chancing the creaming bars,
    We heard the first faint cheering
    As the late sun limned our spars.

    Safe in the lee of the city
    We moored in the afterglow,
    The Sea Nymph and the Henry
    With the buccaneers in tow.

    Glad we had been in the going,
    But God! it was good to come
    Out of the sky-wide loneliness
    To the walls and lights of home.


    Under these shouldering rows of stone
    That notch the quiet sky;
    Under the asphalt’s transient seal
    The same old mud-flats lie;
    And I have felt them surge and lift
    At night as I passed by.

    Yes, I have seen them sprawling nude
    While an Autumn moon hung chill,
    And the tide came shuddering in from sea,
    Lift by lift, until
    It held them under a silver mesh,
    Responsive to its will.

    Then slowly out from the crowding walls
    I have seen the gibbets grow,
    And stand against the empty sky
    In a desolate, windblown row,
    While their dancers swayed, and turned, and spun,
    Tripping it heel and toe;

    With a flash of gold where the peering moon
    Saw an earring as it swung,
    And a silver line that leapt and died
    Where the salt-white sea-boots hung,
    And the pitiful, nodding, silent heads,
    With half of their songs unsung.


[2] See the note on the pirates.


     "And these squaws, waiting in vain the return of their husbands,
     sought out braves among the other tribes, and so men say the Sewees
     have become Wandos."

    “One flask of rum for fifty muskrat skins! 
    A horn of powder for a bear’s is not enough;
    A whole winter’s hunting for some blanket stuff—­
    Ugh!” said the Sewee Chief,
    “The pale-face is a thief!”

Project Gutenberg
Carolina Chansons from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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