John Marr and Other Poems

John Marr and Other Poems

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John Marr and Other Poems by Herman Melville

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John Marr and Other Poems

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Book Excerpt

drift
Washed with the swimmers, and the spent

swimmers drown.
Nine fathom did she sink,--erect, though hid

from light
Save her colors unsurrendered and spars that

kept the height.

Nay, pardon, old aunty! Wife, never let it fall,
That big started tear that hovers on the brim;
I forgot about your nephew and the Merrimac's

ball;
No more then of her, since it summons up him.
But talk o' fellows' hearts in the wine's genial

cup:--
Trap them in the fate, jam them in the strait,
Guns speak their hearts then, and speak

right up.
The troublous colic o' intestine war
It sets the bowels o' affection ajar.
But, lord, old dame, so spins the whizzing world,
A humming-top, ay, for the little boy-gods
Flogging it well with their smart little rods,
Tittering at time and the coil uncurled.

Now, now, sweetheart, you sidle away,
No, never you like that_ kind o' _gay;
But sour if I get, giving truth her due,
Honey-sweet forever, wife, will Dick be to you!

But avast with the War! 'Why recall racking

days
Since set up anew are the slip's started stays?
Nor less, though the gale we have left behind,
Well may the heave o' the sea remind.
It irks me now, as it troubled me then,
To think o' the fate in the madness o' men.
If Dick was with Farragut on the night-river,
When the boom-chain we burst in the fire-raft's

glare,
That blood-dyed the visage as red as the liver;
In the Battle for the Bay too if Dick had a

share,
And saw one aloft a-piloting the war--
Trumpet in the whirlwind, a Providence in

place--
Our Admiral old whom the captains huzza,
Dick joys in the man nor brags about the race.

But better, wife, I like to booze on the days
Ere the Old Order foundered in these very

frays,
And tradition was lost and we learned strange

ways.
Often I think on the brave cr

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