written by John Masefield
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He tottered out of the alleyway with cheeks the colour of paste,
And shivered a spell and mopped his brow with a clout of cotton waste
"I've a lick of fever-chills," he said, "'n' my inside it's green,
But I'd be as right as rain," he said, "if I had some quinine, -
But there ain't no quinine for us poor sailor-men.
"But them there passengers," he said, "if they gets fever-chills,
There's brimmin' buckets o' quinine for them, 'n' bulgin' crates o' pills,
'N' a doctor with Latin 'n' drugs 'n' all - enough to sink a town,
'N' they lies quiet in their blushin' bunks 'n' mops their gruel down, -
But their ain't none o' them fine ways for us poor sailor-men.
"But the Chief comes forrard 'n' he says, says he, "I gives you a straight tip:
Come none o' your Cape Horn fever lays aboard o' this yer ship.
On wi' your rags o' duds, my son, 'n' aft, 'n' down the hole:
The best cure known for fever-chills is shovelling bloody coal."
It's hard my son, that's what it is, for us poor sailor-men."
|Works by this author are in the public domain in countries where the copyright term is the author's life plus 51 years or less.|