Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/246

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62
THE RHYME OF

The skipper peered beneath his palm and swore by the Great Horn Spoon,
"Fore Gad, the Chaplain of the Fleet would bless my picaroon!"
By two and three the flags blew free to lash the laughing air,
"We have sold our spars to the merchantman—we know that his price is fair."
The skipper winked his Western eye, and swore by a China storm:—
"They ha' rigged him a Joseph's jury-coat to keep his honour warm."
The halliards twanged against the tops, the bunting bellied broad,
The skipper spat in the empty hold and mourned for a wasted cord.
Masthead—masthead, the signal sped by the line o' the British craft;
The skipper called to his Lascar crew, and put her about and laughed:—
"It's mainsail haul, my bully boys all—we'll out to the seas again;

"Ere they set us to paint their pirate saint, or scrub at his grapnel-chain