Jack Roy


Kept up by relays of generations young
Never dies at halyards the blithe chorus sung;
While in sands, sounds, and seas where the
  storm-petrels cry,
Dropped mute around the globe, these halyard
  singers lie.
Short-lived the clippers for racing-cups that
And speeds in life's career many a lavish
But thou, manly king o' the old Splendid's
The ribbons o' thy hat still a-fluttering, should
A challenge, and forever, nor the bravery
  should rue.
Only in a tussle for the starry flag high,
When 'tis piety to do, and privilege to die.
Then, only then, would heaven think to lop
Such a cedar as the captain o' the Splendid's
A belted sea-gentleman; a gallant, off-hand
Mercutio indifferent in life's gay command.
Magnanimous in humor; when the splintering
  shot fell,
"Tooth-picks a-plenty, lads; thank 'em with a
Sang Larry o' the Cannakin, smuggler o' the
At mess between guns, lad in jovial recline:
"In Limbo our Jack he would chirrup up a
The martinet there find a chaffing mutineer;
From a thousand fathoms down under hatches
  o' your Hades,
He'd ascend in love-ditty, kissing fingers to
  your ladies!"
Never relishing the knave, though allowing
  for the menial,
Nor overmuch the king, Jack, nor prodigally
Ashore on liberty he flashed in escapade,
Vaulting over life in its levelness of grade,
Like the dolphin off Africa in rainbow
Arch iridescent shot from seas languid
Larking with thy life, if a joy but a toy,
Heroic in thy levity wert thou, Jack Roy.


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