Song Of The Sailor Boy
Cheer up, cheer up, my mother dear!
Ah! Why do you sit and weep?
Do you think that he who guards me here,
Forsakes me on the deep?
Let hope and faith light up your glance,
When you see our ship set sail;
Look, look at her now, and see her dance;
Oh! Why do you turn so pale?
There's an English flag, and an English crew;
So, mother, be proud of your boy in blue.
Ah! Wonder not that, next to thee,
I love the galloping wave;
'Tis the first of coursers, bold and free -
And fit to carry the brave.
It may bear me on to a dark lee-shore,
To sink with a gallant band;
But early or late - here's a heart for my fate,
Let it come on the sea or the land.
The storm and the battle shall find me true,
So, mother, be proud of your boy in blue.
And if the breakers kill our ship,
And your boy goes down in the foam,
Be sure the last breath on his lip
Was a prayer for those at home.
But come, cheer up! methinks I heard
A voice in the anchor chain,
That whispered, like a fairy bird,
'The Ship will come again.'
God bless thee, mother, adieu, adieu!
But never weep for your boy in blue.
HE crawls to the cliff and plays on a brink
Where every eye but his own would shrink;
No music he hears but the billow’s noise,
And shells and weeds are his only toys.
No lullaby can the mother find
To sing him to rest like the moaning wind;
And the louder it wails and the fiercer it sweeps,
The deeper he breathes and the sounder he sleeps.
And now his wandering feet can reach
The rugged tracks of the desolate beach;
Creeping about like a Triton imp,
To find the haunts of the crab and shrimp.
He clings, with none to guide or help,
To the furthest ridge of slippery kelp;
And his bold heart glows while he stands and mocks
The seamew’s cry on the jutting rocks.
Few years have wan’d—and now he stands
Bareheaded on the shelving sands.
A boat is moor’d, but his young hands cope
Right well with the twisted cable rope;
He frees the craft, she kisses the tide;
The boy has climb’d her beaten side:
She drifts—she floats—he shouts with glee;
His soul hath claim’d its right on the sea.
’T is vain to tell him the howling breath
Rides over the waters with wreck and death:
He ’ll say there ’s more of fear and pain
On the plague-ridden earth than the storm-lash’d main.
’T would be as wise to spend thy power
In trying to lure the bee from the flower,
The lark from the sky, or the worm from the grave,
As in weaning the Sea-Child from the wave.
TURPIN had his Black Bess, and she carried him well,
As fame with her loud-breathing trumpet will tell;
She knew not the lash, and she suffered no spur;
A bold rider was all that was needed by her.
That rider grew pallid and cautious with fear,
There was danger around him and death in the rear;
But he mocked at the legion of foes on his track,
When he found himself firm on his bonnie steed's back.
She carried him on as no steed did before,
She travelled as courser will never do more;
Bounding on like the wild deer, she scarce left a trace,
On the road or the turf, of her antelope pace.
The pistol was levelled, what was it to Dick?
The shot might be rapid, but Bess was as quick:
'Ha! Ha! ' shouted Turpin, 'a horse and a man
Are fair marks for your bullets to reach, if they can.'
The mountain was high, and the valley was deep;
She sprang up the hill and she flew down the steep;
She came to the waste, rough with furrow and weed,
But the brushwood and gap were no checks to her speed.
She dashed through the stream and she climbed the broad bank,
With no word to urge forward, no heel to her flank;
The gate with its padlock might stand in her way;
It took more than five bars to keep Black Bess at bay.
She kept her career up for many a league,
With no slackening of pace and no sign of fatigue;
Right onward she went till she staggered and dropped;
But her limbs only failed when her heart-pulse had stopped.
Her dare-devil rider lived on for a while,
And told of her work with a triumphing smile:
And the fame of Dick Turpin had been something less
If he'd ne'er rode to York on his bonnie Black Bess.
Here's a health to her memory! shirk it who dare-
If you love what is noble, pledge Turpin's brave mare;
And the draught will be welcome, the wine will be good;
If it have half the spirit and strength of her blood.
May the steed that comes nigh her in courage and fire
Carry rider more worthy to make its heart tire;
Though she saved him, and died to prove what she could do,
Yet her life was most precious by far of the two.
I live on the sea and I'm lord of a ship,
That starts from her rest like a hound from the slip;
Her speed is unrivalled, her beauty is rare;
But her timbers are black as the highwayman's mare.
From her keel-spanning beam to her sky-greeting spar
She's as dark as a midnight without moon or star:
Her name, boys! her name, you may easily guess,
She is christened, right nobly, 'The Bonnie Black Bess.'