Aurora Australis (1909)
Southward Bound by Lapsus Linguæ
2151493Aurora Australis — Southward BoundLapsus Linguæ


The Nimrod sailed for the Southern Seas,

On her voyage of venture bent;

She left the Heads with a westerly breeze

As the Flagship’s cheers grew faint.

She was taken in tow by the “Koonya”,

With seven score fathoms of wire,

And for twelve long days and nights she strove

With a southerly buster’s ire.

Watch by watch for two hours at a stretch

To the pony stalls we clung,

With the water knee-deep on the for’ard hatch,

And the decks a’swimming with dung.

“Doctor” was down on the third night out,

And eight hours later was dead;

For the efforts of man in a gale were ‘nowt,’

So his end was an ounce of lead.

We slept in our sodden bunks by night,

Abaft the after hold;

And wished for the day to bring in the light

And the tale that was yet to be told.

On the fifteenth day we sighted the ice;

So the “Koonya” cast us free;

With ten of Boyle’s sheep aboard in a trice,

And another ten lost in the sea.

With all sail set and a following breeze

Toward that distant land we sped;

And crept through a field of a thousand bergs

Which guarded a virgin bed.

To the Great Ice Barrier’s edge we come

And search on that lonely shore,

For the spot we should make our winter home,

Which was known to be there of yore.

Not a sign was there of the Bight we sought,

But ten miles south sailed we

Of a place that was marked by a skipper named Scott,

In a ship called “Discovery”.

So east we turned to the land of our King,

For there we would plant our flag;

But the‘heavy ice pack on our starboard tack '

Prevented us landing our swag.

Then westward toward the setting sun

Along the Barrier’s edge.

As a last resource, to land our force

On a place from which we could sledge.

In a solitary hut on a lonely isle

Beneath a smoke capped height,

Hemmed in by the ice that grips us awhile

We wait in the long dark night.

When the sun returns from his tropical home,

And smiles on these desolate quarters,

May the ice hold fast till sledging is past,

Then ‘What Ho'! for our wives and daughters.