« 上一頁繼續 »
"The three-volume novel is extinct."
FULL thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail.
It cost a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail;
But, spite all modern notions, I found her first and best
The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest.
Fair held our breeze behind us-'twas warm with lovers' prayers:
We'd stolen wills for ballast and a crew of missing heirs;
They shipped as Able Bastards till the Wicked Nurse confessed,
And they worked the old three-decker to the Islands of the Blest.
Carambas and serapés we waved to every wind, We smoked good Corpo Bacco when our sweethearts proved unkind;
With maids of matchless beauty and parentage unguessed
We also took our manners to the Islands of the Blest.
We asked no social questions-we pumped no hidden shame
We never talked obstetrics when the little stranger came:
We left the Lord in Heaven, we left the fiends in Hell.
We weren't exactly Yussufs, but-Zuleika didn't tell!
No moral doubt assailed us, so when the port we neared,
The villain got his flogging at the gangway, and we cheered.
'Twas fiddles in the foc'sle-'twas garlands on the mast,
For every one got married, and I went ashore at last.
I left 'em all in couples akissing on the decks.
I left the lovers loving and the parents signing checks.
In endless English comfort by county-folk caressed,
I left the old three-decker at the Islands of the Blest!
That route is barred to steamers: you'll never lift again
Our purple-painted headlands or the lordly keeps of Spain.
They're just beyond the skyline, howe'er so far you cruise
In a ram-you-damn-you liner with a brace of bucking screws.
Swing round your aching search-light-'twill show no haven's peace!
Ay, blow your shrieking sirens to the deaf, graybearded seas!
Boom out the dripping oil-bags to skin the deep's unrest
But you aren't a knot the nearer to the Islands of the Blest.
And when you're threshing, crippled, with broken bridge and rail,
On a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head to gale,
Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taffrail dressed,
You'll see the old three-decker for the Islands of the Blest.
You'll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver spread;
You'll hear the long-drawn thunder 'neath her leaping figure-head;
While far, so far above you, her tall poop-lanterns
Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles round a shrine.
Hull down-hull down and under-she dwindles to a speck,
With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her deck.
All's well-all's well aboard her-she's dropped you far behind,
With a scent of old-world roses through the fog that ties you blind.