And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.
They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall. “All hands to loose topgallant sails,” I heard the captain call. “By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate, Jackson, cried. . . . “It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.
She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were
new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.
And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.
*** End of the project gutenberg EBOOK, ballads ***
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