Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/42

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I never have got the bearings quite,
Though I've followed the course for many a year,
If he was crazy, clean outright,
Or only what you might say was "queer."

He was just a simple sailor man.
I mind it as well as yisterday,
When we messed aboard of the old "Cyane."
Lord! how the time does slip away!
That was five and thirty year ago,
When ships was ships, and men was men,
And sailors wasn't afraid to go
To sea in a Yankee vessel then.
He was only a sort of bosun's mate,
But every inch of him taut and trim;
Stars and anchors and togs of state
Tailors don't build for the likes of him.
He flew a no-account sort of name,
A reg'lar fo'castle "Jim" or "Jack,"
With a plain "McGinnis" abaft the same,
Giner'ly reefed to simple "Mack."
Mack, we allowed, was sorter queer—
Ballast or compass wasn't right;
Till he licked four juicers, one day, a fear
Prevailed that he hadn't larned to fight.
But I reckoned the captain knowed his man,
When he put the flag in his hand the day
That we went ashore from the old "Cyane,"
On a madman's cruise for Darien Bay.

Forty days in the wilderness
We toiled and suffered and starved with Strain.
Losing the number of many a mess
In the Devil's swamps of the Spanish Main.
All of us starved, and many died.
One lay down, in his dull despair;
His stronger messmate went to his side,—
We left them both in the jungle there.