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Charles Kingsley
1819-1875


Young and old
Three fishers went sailing away to the West
The Sands of Dee
The Last Buccaneer
Nine days I floated starving

Young and old

WHEN all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.
When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down:
Creep home and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.

THREE fishers went sailing away to the West,
Away to the West as the sun went down;
Each thought on the woman who loved him the best;
And the children stood watching them out of the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And there's little to earn, and many to keep,
Though the harbor bar be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work, and women must weep,
Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
And the harbor bar be moaning.
Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
For those who will never come home to the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
And good-by to the bar and its moaning.

The Sands of Dee

O, Mary, go and call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
Across the sands of Dee
The western wind was wild and dark with foam,
And all alone went she.

The western tide crept up along the sand,
And oer and oer the sand,
And round and round the sand
As far as eye could see.
The rolling mist came down and hid the land,
And never home came she

Oh! Is it weed, or fish or floating hair -
A tress of golden hair?
A drowned maidens hair,
Above the nets at sea?
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
Among the stakes of Dee.

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,
The cruel , crawling foam,
The cruel, hungry foam,
To her grave beside the sea,
But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home,
Across the sands of Dee.


The Last Buccaneer

Oh, England is a pleasant place for them that's rich and high,
But England is a cruel place for such poor folks as I;
And such a port for mariners I ne'er shall see again
As the pleasant Isle of Aves beside the Spanish main.

There were forty craft in Aves that were both swift and stout,
Allfurnished well with small arms and cannons round about;
And a thousand men in Aves made laws so fair and free
To choose their valiant captains and obey them loyally.

Thence we sailed against the Spaniard with his hoards of plate and gold,
Which he rung with cruel tortures from Indian folks of old;
Likewise the merchant captains, which hearts as hard as stone,
Who flog men and keep-haul them, and starve them to the bone.

Oh the palms grew high in Aves, and fruits that shone like gold,
And colibris and parrots they were gorgeous to behold;
And the negro maids to Aves from bondage fast did flee,
To welcome gallant sailors, a-sweeping in from sea.

Oh sweet it was in Aves to hear the landward breeze,
A-swing with good tobacco in a net between the trees,
With a negro lass to fan you, while you listened to the roar
Of the breakers on the reef outside, that never touched the shore.

But Scripture saith, an ending to all fine things must be;
So the King's ships sailed on Aves, and quite put down were we.
All day we fought like bulldogs, but they burst the booms at night;
And I fled in a piragua, sore wounded, from the fight.


Nine days I floated starving, and a negro lass beside
Till for all tried to cheer her, the poor young thing she died;
But as I lay a gasping, a Bristol sail came by,
And brought me home to England here, to beg until I die.

And now I'm old and going - I'm sure I can't tell where;
One comfort is, this world's so hard, I can't be worse off there:
If I might but be a sea-dove, I'd fly across the main,
To the pleasant Isle of Aves, to look at it once again.


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2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman