Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/247

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63
THE THREE CAPTAINS

"It's fore-sheet free, with her head to the sea, and the swing of the unbought brine—
"We'll make no sport in an English court till we come as a ship o' the Line,
"Till we come as a ship o' the Line, my lads, of thirty foot in the sheer,
"Lifting again from the outer main with news of a privateer;
"Flying his pluck at our mizzen-truck for weft of Admiralty,
"Heaving his head for our dipsy-lead in sign that we keep the sea.
"Then fore-sheet home as she lifts to the foam—we stand on the outward tack
"We are paid in the coin of the white man's trade—the bezant is hard, ay, and black.
"The frigate-bird shall carry my word to the Kling and the Orang-Laut
"How a man may sail from a heathen coast to be robbed in a Christian port;
"How a man may be robbed in Christian port while Three Great Captains there
"Shall dip their flag to a slaver's rag—to show that his trade is fair!"