A Ballad of Cape St. Vincent

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A Ballad of Cape St. Vincent
written by John Masefield
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Now, Bill, ain't it prime to be a-sailin',
Slippin' easy, splashin' up the sea,
Dossin' snug aneath the weather-railin',
Quiddin' bonded Jacky out a-lee?
English sea astern us and afore us,
Reaching out three thousand miles ahead,
God's own stars a-risin' solemn o'er us,
And - yonder's Cape St. Vincent and the Dead.

There they lie, Bill, man and mate together,
Dreamin' out the dog-watch down below,
Anchored in the Port of Pleasant Weather,
Waiting for the Bo'sun's call to blow.
Over them the tide goes lappin', swayin',
Under them's the wide bay's muddy bed,
And it's pleasant dreams - to them - to hear us sayin',
Yonder's Cape St. Vincent and the Dead.

Hear that P. and O. boat's engines dronin',
Beating out of time and out of tune,
Ripping past with every plate a-groanin',
Spitting smoke and cinders at the moon?
Ports a-lit like little stars a-settin',
See 'em glintin' yaller, green, and red,
Loggin' twenty knots, Bill, - but forgettin',
Yonder's Cape St. Vincent and the Dead.

They're "discharged" now, Billy, "left the service,"
Rough an' bitter was the watch they stood,
Drake an' Blake, an' Collingwood an' Jervis,
Nelson, Rodney, Hawke, an' Howe an' Hood.
They'd a hard time, haulin' an' directing
There's the flag they left us, Billy - tread
Straight an' keep it flyin' - recollectin',
Yonder's Cape St. Vincent and the Dead.


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