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That even the able seaman, deeming his

Days nearly o'er, might be disposed to riot, As upon such occasions tars will ask

For grog, and sometimes drink rum from the cask.


There's nought, no doubt, so much the spirit calms,
As rum and true religion: thus it was,

Some plunder'd, some drank spirits, some sung psalms;

The high wind made the treble, and as bass

The hoarse, harsh waves kept time; fright cured the


Of all the luckless landsmen's sea-sick maws: Strange sounds of wailing, blasphemy, devotion, Clamour'd in chorus to the roaring ocean.


Perhaps more mischief had been done, but for
Our Juan, who, with sense beyond his years,
Got to the spirit-room, and stood before

It with a pair of pistols; and their fears,
As if Death were more dreadful by his door

Of fire than water, spite of oaths and tears, Kept still aloof the crew, who, ere they sunk, Thought it would be becoming to die drunk.


Give us more grog!" they cried, "for it will be All one an hour hence." Juan answer'd, “No! 'Tis true that death awaits both you and me,

But let us die like men, not sink below
Like brutes"; and thus his dangerous post kept he,
And none liked to anticipate the blow;
And even Pedrillo, his most reverend tutor,
Was for some rum a disappointed suitor.

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The good old gentleman was quite aghast,
And made a loud and pious lamentation;
Repented all his sins, and made a last

Irrevocable vow of reformation;

Nothing should tempt him more (this peril past)
To quit his academic occupation,

In cloisters of the classic Salamanca,

To follow Juan's wake, like Sancho Panca.


But now there came a flash of hope once more;

Day broke, and the wind lull'd: the masts were gone, The leak increased; shoals round her, but no shore,

The vessel swam, yet still she held her own. They tried the pumps again, and though before

Their desperate efforts seem'd all useless grown, A glimpse of sunshine set some hands to baleThe stronger pump'd, the weaker thrumm'd a sail.


Under the vessel's keel the sail was past,

And for the moment it had some effect; But with a leak, and not a stick of mast,

Nor rag of canvas, what could they expect? But still 'tis best to struggle to the last,

'Tis never too late to be wholly wreck'd:

And though 'tis true that man can only die once, 'Tis not so pleasant in the Gulf of Lyons.


There winds and waves had hurl'd them, and from thence,

Without their will, they carried them away:

For they were forced with steering to dispense,
And never had as yet a quiet day

On which they might repose, or even commence

A jurymast or rudder, or could say

The ship would swim an hour, which, by good luck, Still swam-though not exactly like a duck.


The wind, in fact, perhaps was rather less,

But the ship labour'd so, they scarce could hope To weather out much longer; the distress Was also great with which they had to cope For want of water, and their solid mess

Was scant enough; in vain the telescope Was used-nor sail nor shore appear'd in sight, Nought but the heavy sea and coming night.


Again the weather threaten'd,-again blew
A gale, and in the fore and after hold
Water appear'd; yet, though the people knew

All this, the most were patient, and some bold, Until the chains and leathers were worn through

Of all our pumps;—a wreck complete she roll'd
At mercy of the waves, whose mercies are
Like human beings during civil war.


Then came the carpenter, at last, with tears

In his rough eyes, and told the captain he Could do no more: he was a man in years,

And long had voyaged through many a stormy sea; And if he wept at length, they were not fears That made his eyelids as a woman's be, But he, poor fellow, had a wife and children, Two things for dying people quite bewild'ring.


The ship was evidently settling now

Fast by the head; and, all distinction gone,
Some went to prayers again, and made a vow

Of candles to their saints-but there were none
To pay them with; and some look'd o'er the bow;
Some hoisted out the boats: and there was one
That begg'd Pedrillo for an absolution,
Who told him to be damn'd-in his confusion.


Some lash'd them in their hammocks; some put on
Their best clothes, as if going to a fair;

Some cursed the day on which they saw the sun,

And gnash'd their teeth, and, howling, tore their hair ; And others went on as they had begun,

Getting the boats out, being well aware That a tight boat will live in a rough sea, Unless with breakers close beneath her lee.


The worst of all was, that in their condition, Having been several days in great distress, 'Twas difficult to get out such provision

As now might render their long suffering less: Men, even when dying, dislike inanition;

Their stock was damaged by the weather's stress;
Two casks of biscuit, and a keg of butter,
Were all that could be thrown into the cutter.


But in the long-boat they contrived to stow

Some pounds of bread, though injured by the wet;

Water, a twenty-gallon cask or so,

Six flasks of wine; and they contrived to get

A portion of their beef up from below,

And with a piece of pork, moreover, met, But scarce enough to serve them for a luncheonThen there was rum, eight gallons in a puncheon.


The other boats, the yawl and pinnace, had
Been stove, in the beginning of the gale;
And the long-boat's condition was but bad,

As there were but two blankets for a sail,
And one oar for a mast, which a young lad

Threw in by good luck over the ship's rail; And two boats could not hold, far less be stored, To save one half the people then on board.


'Twas twilight, and the sunless day went down Over the waste of waters; like a veil

Which, if withdrawn, would but disclose the frown
Of one whose hate is mask'd but to assail;

Thus to their hopeless eyes the night was shown,
And grimly darkled o'er the faces pale,
And the dim desolate deep: twelve days had Fear
Been their familiar, and now Death was here.


Some trial had been making at a raft,

With little hope in such a rolling sea,

A sort of thing at which one would have laugh'd,
If any laughter at such times could be,
Unless with people who too much have quaff'd,
And have a kind of wild and horrid glee,
Half epileptical and half hysterical :—
Their preservation would have been a miracle.

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