Frankies Trade


 Old Horn to All Atlantic said:
 (A-hay O! To me O!)
 "Now where did Frankie learn his trade?
 For he ran me down with a three-reef mains'I."
 (All round the Horn!)

 Atlantic answered: "Not from me!
 You'd better ask the cold North Sea,
 For he ran me down under all plain canvas."
 (All round the Horn!)

 The North Sea answered: "He's my man,
 For he came to me when he began,
 Frankie Drake in an open coaster.
 (All round the Sands!)

 "I caught him young and I used him sore,
 So you never shall startle Frankie more,
 Without capsizing Earth and her waters.
 (All round the Sands!)

 "I did not favour him at all.
 I made him pull and I made him haul,
 And stand his trick with the common sailors.
 (All round the Sands!)

 "I froze him stiff and I fogged him blind,
 And kicked him home with his road to find
 By what he could see in a three-day snow-storm.
 (All round the Sands!)

 "I learned him his trade o' winter nights,
 'Twixt Mardyk Fort and Dunkirk lights,
 On a five-knot tide with the forts a-firing.
 (All round the Sands!)

 "Before his beard began to shoot,
 I showed him the length of the Spaniard's foot,
 And I reckon he clapped the boot on it later.
 (All round the Sands!)

 "If there's a risk which you can make,
 That's worse than he was used to take
 Nigh every week in the way of his business;
 (All round the Sands!)

 "If there's a trick that you can try,
 Which he hasn't met in time gone by,
 Not once or twice, but ten times over;
 (All round the Sands!)

 "If you can teach him aught that's new,
 (A-hay O! To me O!)
 I'll give you Bruges and Niewport too,
 And the ten tall churches that stand between
 Storm along, my gallant Captains!
 (All round the Horn!)


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Return to the Rudyard Kipling Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; From Lyden’s ‘Irenius’ - Act III. Sc. II.

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