Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/49

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37
FROM THE SPANISH

show, a rare piece, sweetly wrought; the folk came far to see it. Her sails were of a fine bleached canvas, edged with red Cordoba leather. They bore a wreathed intricacy of roses, embroidered in crimson or yellow silk by the ladies of Meroquinez. The roping was of that precious hemp which grows only on the Sacred Hill (in Igorroti, in Luzon), so that an ell of it was worth a Florence crown by the time it reached the Spanish riggers' hands. Her high stern, that was built in three decks, had painted bulwarks, each of which bore some painted history of the sea, each history by some Italian.

There one might see Ulysses, in his red-beaked galley, as he rowed past those piping trulls the sirens. There was the barge of Antony, hung with purple, taking the Egyptian beauty along Nilus. There was Saint Brandan Bright Hair, in his curragh of holy wood, with his singing monks about him. There was the fishing-boat of Peter, that was long worshipped by the Galileans when the spring fisheries were in hand. There was the Genoan in his bark, his yellow banner blowing out bravely. There was Arion at his luting. There were the strange sailors of Atlantis, the seven