TOM DEADLIGHT (1810) - Abraham Lincoln Poems

 
 

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TOM DEADLIGHT (1810)


Farewell and adieu to you noble hearties, --
    Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain,
For I've received orders for to sail for the Deadman,
    But hope with the grand fleet to see you again.

I have hove my ship to, with main-top-sail aback, boys;
    I have hove my ship to, for to strike soundings clear --
The black scud a'flying; but, by God's blessing, dam' me,
    Right up the Channel for the Deadman I'll steer.

I have worried through the waters that are call├Ęd the Doldrums,
    And growled at Sargasso that clogs while ye grope --
Blast my eyes, but the light-ship is hid by the mist, lads: --
    Flying Dutchman -- odds bobbs -- off the Cape of Good Hope!

But what's this I feel that is fanning my cheek, Matt?
    The white goney's wing? -- how she rolls! -- 't is the Cape!
Give my kit to the mess, Jock, for kin none is mine, none;
    And tell Holy Joe to avast with the crape.

Dead reckoning, says Joe, it won't do to go by;
    But they doused all the glims, Matt, in sky t' other night.
Dead reckoning is good for to sail for the Deadman;
    And Tom Deadlight he thinks it may reckon near right.

The signal! -- it streams for the grand fleet to anchor.
    The captains -- the trumpets -- the hullabaloo!
Stand by for blue-blazes, and mind your shank-painters,
    For the Lord High Admiral, he's squinting at you!

But give me my tot, Matt, before I roll over;
    Jock, let's have your flipper, it's good for to feel;
And don't sew me up without baccy in mouth, boys,
    And don't blubber like lubbers when I turn up my keel.