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A Recitation


THE good old days of piracy, when men of various shades
Put satin on and fattened on the coast and shipping trades,
When Kidd and mighty what's-his-name were masters of the seas,
And my great-great-great-grandpapa had yours upon his knees,
Explaining that he wanted blood, and meant, by Jove, to let it—
Those good old days, I say, are gone; and gad! how I regret it.
(Repeat that after me, my friends: say, "Gad, how we regret it!")

They're gone. And yet how strange it is that piracy's taboo.
We've got the ships, we've got the sea, we've got the pirates, too.
My plumber and my tailor and that lad down at the bank—
Why shouldn't I be one myself, and make you walk the plank?
Yes, all you men shall walk the plank with bullets in your sides,
And all you girls shall cling to me and beg to be my brides.
(Repeat that after me, my dears: say, "Mayn't we be your brides?")
Ah, I'm a cold, impassive beast. Brides ain't no treat to me.
I'd rather watch my captives flop and flounder in the sea,
Where Kidd and mighty thingumbob—did I say that before?
Then I must ask you all to clap and call it an encore.

I thank you—thank you—that will do! Don't think I would rebuff
Your kindness in applauding me, but really, that's enough.
(Repeat that after me, I beg: say, "Really, that's enough.")

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.

The author died in 1935, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.