Sea-Adventurers' Song.

A poem by Victor Marie Hugo

("En partant du Golfe d'Otrante.")

[Bk. XXVIII.]


We told thirty when we started
From port so taut and fine,
But soon our crew were parted,
Till now we number nine.

Tom Robbins, English, tall and straight,
Left us at Aetna light;
He left us to investigate
What made the mountain bright;
"I mean to ask Old Nick himself,
(And here his eye he rolls)
If I can't bring Newcastle pelf
By selling him some coals!"

In Calabree, a lass and cup
Drove scowling Spada wild:
She only held her finger up,
And there he drank and smiled;
And over in Gaëta Bay,
Ascanio - ashore
A fool! - must wed a widow gay
Who'd buried three or four.

At Naples, woe! poor Ned they hanged -
Hemp neckcloth he disdained -
And prettily we all were banged -
And two more blades remained

To serve the Duke, and row in chains -
Thank saints! 'twas not my cast!
We drank deliverance from pains -
We who'd the ducats fast.

At Malta Dick became a monk -
(What vineyards have those priests!)
And Gobbo to quack-salver sunk,
To leech vile murrained beasts;
And lazy André, blown off shore,
Was picked up by the Turk,
And in some harem, you be sure,
Is forced at last to work.

Next, three of us whom nothing daunts,
Marched off with Prince Eugene,
To take Genoa! oh, it vaunts
Girls fit - each one - for queen!
Had they but promised us the pick,
Perchance we had joined, all;
But battering bastions built of brick -
Bah, give me wooden wall!

By Leghorn, twenty caravels
Came 'cross our lonely sail -
Spinoza's Sea-Invincibles!
But, whew! our shots like hail
Made shortish work of galley long
And chubby sailing craft -
Our making ready first to close
Sent them a-spinning aft.

Off Marseilles, ne'er by sun forsook
We friends fell-to as foes!
For Lucca Diavolo mistook
Angelo's wife for Rose,

And hang me! soon the angel slid
The devil in the sea,
And would of lass likewise be rid -
And so we fought it free!

At Palmas eight or so gave slip,
Pescara to pursue,
And more, perchance, had left the ship,
But Algiers loomed in view;
And here we cruised to intercept
Some lucky-laden rogues,
Whose gold-galleons but slowly crept,
So that we trounced the dogs!

And after making war out there,
We made love at "the Gib."
We ten - no more! we took it fair,
And kissed the gov'nor's "rib,"
And made the King of Spain our take,
Believe or not, who cares?
I tell ye that he begged till black
I' the face to have his shares.

We're rovers of the restless main,
But we've some conscience, mark!
And we know what it is to reign,
And finally did heark -
Aye, masters of the narrow Neck,
We hearkened to our heart,
And gave him freedom on our deck,
His town, and gold - in part.

My lucky mates for that were made
Grandees of Old Castile,
And maids of honor went to wed,
Somewhere in sweet Seville;

Not they for me were fair enough,
And so his Majesty
Declared his daughter - 'tis no scoff!
My beauteous bride should be.

"A royal daughter!" think of that!
But I would never one.
I have a lass (I said it pat)
Who's not been bred like nun -
But, merry maid with eagle eye,
It's proud she smiles and bright,
And sings upon the cliff, to spy
My ship a-heave in sight!

My Faenzetta has my heart!
In Fiesoné she
The fairest! Nothing shall us part,
Saving, in sooth, the Sea!
And that not long! its rolling wave
And such breeze holding now
Will send me along to her I love -
And so I made my bow.

We told thirty when we started
From port so taut and fine,
But thus our crew were parted,
And now we number nine.

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