Cape Horn Gospel -- I
John Masefield, Poems (New York, NY: Macmillan, 1945): 17.
1"I was in a hooker once," said Karlssen,
2"And Bill, as was a seaman, died,
3So we lashed him in an old tarpaulin
4And tumbled him across the side;
5And the fun of it was that all his gear was
6Divided up among the crew
7Before that blushing human error,
8Our crawling little captain, knew.
9"On the passage home one morning
10(As certain as I prays for grace)
11There was old Bill's shadder a-hauling
12At the weather mizzen-topsail brace.
13He was all grown green with sea-weed,
14He was all lashed up and shored;
15So I says to him, I says, 'Why, Billy!
16What's a-bringin' of you back aboard?'
17"'I'm a-weary of them there mermaids,'
18Says old Bill's ghost to me;
19'It ain't no place for a Christian
20Below there--under sea.
21For it's all blown sand and shipwrecks,
22And old bones eaten bare,
23And them cold fishy females
24With long green weeds for hair.'"
Publication Start Year:
Salt-Water Ballads (London: G. Richards, 1902; New York, NY: Macmillan, 1913).
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh