« AnteriorContinuar »
THE OLD BUCCANEER'S YARN.
TAKEN DOWN FROM CAPTAIN SHARP'S OWN MOUTH, AT THE DRAKE'S
HEAD, WAPPING, 1670.
By G. W. THORNBURY.
We jogg'd on with a gentle gale from the south :
There was that old tub the Bachelor's Delight
There was the Cygnet, and the Terror of the Night.
And the white surf on the beach was a sight.
It was blowing just a Carthagena breeze,
Frothing white about the crest of the seas,
Huddied in the fo'castle altogether at our ease.
When we saw a vessel run upon a reef;
She fired off a signal cannon for reliefThen blazed up red, like a hay-rick in a croft,
A devil at the helm was her commodore-in-chief. Old Van Horn told us, full twenty years ago,
His admiral hung a light out at the peak,
As he cruised off the shore of Mozambique ;
And their ship sank that day fortnight from a leak,
They had got their larboard tack aboard, said he, Standing eastward for the isle of Manganee, When they ran upon a score or more of whales
There were whales all around them on the lee. There were whales spouting far as you could see. They had loaded all the starboard guns with
grape, When just as you would lead away an ape, Rose a mermaid, and quickly as might be
Drove them off, and so saved them from a scrape.
He told us how the Dons they stood at bay
Through three galleons and a pinnace cut his way.
I've felt the north tides swell and roll,
Round the Cape I've seen the long waves bowl; But 'twas nothing to this storm, d'ye see
(I'm not adding not a word, 'pon my soul).
The dead lights to the maintop-gallant clustered,
And their blue flames glimmered ghastly on the deck,
As I've seen them shine and twinkle o'er a wreck, And lit our pale faces, as so far beneath we mustered ;
Then we felt the Spaniard's rope around our neck. I saw 'em through the grey light of the shower,
On the mast-head they globed bright and seemed to burn,
And the blinding mist came driving up astern, While the very thunder had a hundred devils' power,
And the lightnings dazzle white when you turn. “Steady," sung the man lashed tightly to the helm,
As fast rushing like an albatross so swift,
Flashed the Flying Dutchman past us, and a rift
And the clouds all began to heave and lift.
Or a thousand glow-worms clubbing all together,
Rose and fell, as rose and fell the weather ; You might try the things in vain to catch,
But they crept away like a wisp upon the heather. The nor'wester blew as strong and loud as thunder,
It had done now for six days or so and more ;
We fired a gun to bring a boat from shore. And it blew as 't would blow our planks asunder,
While the waves like wild beasts around us roar. We kept rolling in the white trough of the sea,
Half-blinded by the salt scud of the spray,
But the clever craft made out herself a way. A bold swimmer, in the storm she loved to be,
And with danger like a child she seemed to play. And she ploughed, and pitched, and rolled, and almost flew,
When the sky ceased all at once to blacken,
And the wind began to slowly slacken, As a Spaniard on a sudden came in view,
And we fired our guns as a sign to her for tacking. We could see her sail to windward in the clear ;
By the cold light of the frosty winter moon,
We knew her for a Spanish picaroon :
We gained on her, and our own she would be soon.
As she luffed up sharply to the wind,
And the boatswain did not whistle, only signed.
Skimming swiftly as a swallow o'er a lake,
With a white line frothing after in our wake, And each man kept all silent in his crib :
Just as silent and as crafty as a snake.
We swept her quarters with our bullet and with shot;
We smashed her spars and topsail-gallant-sheet,
The white splinters leapt out shivered at their feet.
And our drums all the time we loudly beat.
Till maintop-mast rattled down with a run,
And we loaded to the muzzle every guin, For our musketeers never weary, never tire,
And we peppered them from half-past nine till one. We ran out the paterreros in a trice,
Slapped a thirty-two pound shot into her bows,
As she heeled and slowly staggering arose ; We hailed her with a speaking-trumpet twice,
And quick hoisted our red Aag sign of death to all our foes. There were negroes, and the captain wore a mask, :
When we rushed seventy men of us on deck,
He sprang cursing from that red and shattered wreck; From the crew in vain his name we shouting ask,
And we shot him in the water as he wouldn't heed our beck. In the main chains full seventy of us leaped,
Chopped the netting down with axes, sword, and knife
They fought as men fight who fight bravely for their life But more brothers through the bow-port firing creeped,
And threw in hand-grenades for to help us in the strife. With rapier they fought stoutly and with pikem
Grey Dons shining larded with gold lace,
Met our messmates and the captain face to faceAnd we shot them down as men would do a tyke;
Shot them down as they knelt to us for grace. They tried twice to blow up the magazine
And it scorched in a moment half their men,
As they prayed for life and quarter then-
And we shot before we stopped some ten,
She was crammed with silver plate and gold,
The jewels to the Jews we always sold.
The nor'wester blew us on the Carabean rocks,
We were glass before those bumps and splitting shocksAnd our prize went to pieces on the Armadillo sand,
But we got all safe to shore in our trousers and our socks. I knew from the first that 'twould always come to this,
'Twas on Friday we set sail from Martinique,
And we ran ashore on that day week.
Of my Sally pays for all—if I'm allowed to speak.
POL PER R 0.
E. BUTLER.—Unpublished Poem. To leave home at all times requires a certain effort; even a temporary home has many charms, and I, alas! had but a temporary home to leave, for, separated from my husband by an insuperable barrier, which he had raised between us some years before his death, I had long ignored all those household joys that impart such exquisite relish to each returning day; still in my solitude I had created a world of my own around me, in which I lived, if not in happiness yet in peace. There were the books I loved, the romance I had wept over, the history I had studied, and the drama I had recited, all invitingly displayed on the table, together with piles of lighter reading, consisting of periodicals and papers. Beside the fire stood the favourite chair, where I had passed such tranquil hours in the indulgence of day-dreams of happiness never fated to be realised, or engaged in delightful converse with that friend whose support and protection alone enabled me to face the adversities that oppressed meone whose fine literary taste and great acquirements had, by precept and example, taught me to draw consolation from those most delightful of all quiet companions—books; who encouraged and cheered me in the path of study, dissipating ennui and varying the course of weary hours by his kind visits and sound advice. Ah! once in one's life to have such a friend is a possession beyond price. May blessings attend him for all his disinterested goodness to a forsaken one! Then there was my piano, too, where I had sung away many a dull hour; for vocal music in solitude is as another voice speaking to one, and speaking more sweetly than in common parlance. Beyond the window were the steps and the little London garden I had tried to invest with rural charms, scrubby as it was, and where I had hung (as it were) my fancies on every tree, and told my sorrows to every opening flower. It required an effort to leave all this; but the purpose of the journey gave me courage to tear myself away. Was I not going to my children-those loved ones, dearer than life, from whom the malice of their father, “ who being dead yet spake," by a cruel and unnatural will endeavoured to separate me-whose only safety, therefore, was in concealment, better at least than eternal separation? So we were parted. Oh! what a world there is in that bitter word-parted! the mother from her babes-parted! But now, for a time at least, I might indulge myself in their dear company; so bidding adieu to the cosy rooms, the small house, and the meagre garden edged with smutty palings, I started off in a cab—a very humble traveller-to the great vortex at Paddington, where, taking my ticket by the second class, I entered the carriage, which was quickly filled and the train in
motion, launching one into an impenetrable sea of mist that rendered every object entirely invisible. But as the country between London and Bristol is now as familiar to every person as Bond-street itself, I gladly turned from the monotonous face of outward nature to the little world about me, much more novel and amusing.
Opposite to me sat a stout, thick-set man, with a face round as the full moon at harvest time, and with a certain family likeness pervading all Irish countenances of the lower order. So, when he commenced a relation of his travels abroad, in an accent undoubtedly Hibernian, and in a bombastic strain told how he had taken the grand tour, and what he had done, all was quite in keeping. “The foreigneers,” he said, "would not believe the wonders of our Great Western Railway, and thought he was humbugging them.” And sensible people too, thought I, whose incredulity does them honour. The person to whom Paddy was conveying all this information intended, however, generally to impress us with a vast notion of his personal importance)
was a large, coarselooking man, with a bright brown coat-such as villains usually wear in horribly affecting melodramas at the Adelphi—a pale face, something in complexion varying between a suet dumpling and a raw turnip, set off with scraps of thin sandy hair, peeping from under a bran new hat. When the Irishman ceased to speak, this character solaced his leisure by reading Byron out of a very foul little pocket volume, whose contents he repeated word by word to himself like a schoolboy conning his lesson, moving his lips incessantly, and smiling with uncommon unction, then looking round to show the company how he appreciated the poem. Next sat a man that talked and talked without one moment's intermission from the time he entered at Paddington until he arrived at Swindon ; and not only talked, but gesticulated, and made faces like an angry monkey. No one paid the slightest attention to this volley of sound, but a thin little man with a huge scar on one side of his cheek, into whose ear he poured a continual torrent of words, in so ample a stream. that I expected the small man would palpably and visibly increase in consequence of the amount of mental cramming he was undergoing: When this magpie took himself off, cloak and diamond pin, fur cap and all, dragging the man-boy after him, a woman, who might be styled half-and-half in the way of gentility, sitting by me, carefully concealing a very ugly face under a thick green veil, gave vent to her spleen in a few terse words of rage at the nuisance caused by the chatter of the departed.
* She thought people should not be allowed to go on in that horrid way. They ought to be taxed if they did; it was too bad—it was. It made her head ache ready to crack—it did, and she was going a long journey, and didn't want to be put out of her way. She was going to Plymouth; and where, ma'am, may you be going to ?” added she, turning to me. I replied that I was going there also ; and availing myself
; of the opportunity of picking up a little information as to the geography and means of progress in those uttermost regions, I asked if she thought I could get a place inside the coach (for the railroad was not then completed). “Oh! she didn't know-she didn't. Mr. Ward had taken her place. She knew Mr. Ward. If her opinion was asked she should say the coaches was all full; and as they started directly the train arrived