The Sailor’s Consolation

One night came on a hurricane
The sea was mountains rolling,
When Barney Buntline turned his quid,
And said to Billy Bowline:
“A strong nor’wester’s blowing, Bill,
Hark! Don’t you hear it roar now?
Lord help them! How I pities all
Unhappy folks on shore now.

“Foolhardy chaps that live in towns;
What dangers they are all in,
And now lie shaking in their beds
for fear the roof should fall in.
Poor creatures, how they envy us
And wishes, I’ve a notion,*
(*Also seen: “And wish, as I’ve a notion…”)
For our good luck in such a storm
To be upon the ocean.

“And as for them who’re out all day
On business from their houses,
And late at night are coming home
To cheer their babes and spouses;
While you and I, Bill, on the deck
Are comfortably lying,
My eyes! What tiles and chimney-pots
Around their heads are flying!

And very often have we heard
How men are killed and undone
By overturns of carriages,
BY thieves and fires in London.
We know what risks all landsmen run
From noblemen to tailors;
Then Bill, let us thank Providence
That you and I are sailors.”

— Charles Dibdin, more Sea Songs and Ballads

This poem is offered as part of our July theme: Ship, Sail, Boat

T. S. Poetry

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