Page:Departmental Ditties and Ballads and Barrack-Room Ballads, Kipling, 1899.djvu/97

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83
BALLAD OF FISHER'S BOARDING-HOUSE

To eat the bread of infamy
And take the wage of shame.


She held a dozen men to heel—
Rich spoil of war was hers,
In hose and gown and ring and chain,
From twenty mariners,
And, by Port Law, that week, men called
Her Salem Hardieker's.


But seamen learnt—what landsmen know—
That neither gifts nor gain
Can hold a winking Light o' Love
Or Fancy's flight restrain,
When Anne of Austria rolled her eyes
On Hans the blue-eyed Dane.


Since Life is strife, and strife means knife,
From Howrah to the Bay,
And he may die before the dawn
Who liquored out the day,
In Fultah Fisher's boarding-house
We woo while yet we may.


But cold was Hans the blue-eyed Dane,

Bull-throated, bare of arm,