Page images


ADMIRAL BYRON has weighed his anchor,

And put to sea in a gale:
But deep in his heart is a hidden canker,

Because of an oft-told tale.
Brave he may be, deny it who can,
Yet Admiral John is a luckless man;
And the midshipmen's mothers cry, “Out, alack!
My lad has sailed with Foulweather Jack!”

Admiral Byron has hoisted his pennant,

And steered for Cape Breton shore:
But the surgeon says to the first lieutenant,

“We shall never see Spithead more!
Weather-beaten and battle-scarr'd,
To Plymouth Hoe or to Portsmouth Hard,
The crews return—but they never come back
Who sign and serve with Foulweather Jack !

“Many a frigate has he commanded,

In every storm that's blown: He would fight with a squadron single-handed,

But his luck is the devil's own : He loses the wind, he misses the tide, He shaves the rocks, and his shots go wide; The fate is curst and the future black, That hangs o'er the head of Foulweather Jack.

“As for me, I'm a tough old stager,

Nor care if I sink or swim,
But when I think of the stranded Wager,

My heart is heavy for him.
Round the world to ruin and wreck
He carried his luck on the Dolphin's deck:
If ever a man had the gift and knack
Of sheer disaster, 'tis Foulweather Jack!”

As a seagull's wings o'er the surges flutter,

In the light of the sunset flame,

There hovered from westward a hasty cutter,

To speak with the frigate Fame.
“Twenty Parley-voo ships to-day
Lurk and loiter in Chaleur Bay;
Like wolves they gather to make attack
On the ships and convoy of Foulweather Jack.

“Frigates three for your three are biding,

And of arm’d privateers a score ; Sloops and schooners at anchor riding,

Are waiting you close inshore : Their guns are many, and yours are few; Eight to one they outnumber you: The wind is low and the tide is slack, But you yet may escape them, Foulweather Jack.”

The Admiral stood six foot and over,

He was stately and stern to see:
But his eyes lit up like those of a lover,

And merry of mind was he:
And the Byron blood and the Berkeley blood
Burned in his veins like a fiery flood,
And his pulses leaped, and his comely face
Glowed with the pride of a fighting race.

The Admiral laughed with the wind's own laughter,

And spoke with the sea's own might, “From danger and death, and what comes after,

No Englishman turns in flight: They call me unlucky-to-day you'll learn How the worst of luck for a time may turn: We'll rid the seas of this vermin-pack, And I'll be huntsman!” quoth Foulweather Jack.

The twilight sank and the darkness settled,

The Admiral's frigate led :
She took the waves like a steed high-mettled,

And thus to his men he said :
“Desperate measures for desperate needs,
And valorous crews for dare-devil deeds :
A goodly quarry we have in track-
Clear the decks for action!” says Foulweather Jack.


All through the night were the seabirds soaring,

Shrieking and scared from rest :
All through the night the guns were roaring

Under the seabirds' nest.
When morning broke in a glimmer grey,
There was dreadful silence in Chaleur Bay,-
Only the crackle of burning decks,
And cries for succour from crowded wrecks.

The Bienfaisant is aground and blazing,

And sunk is the proud Marchault :
The privateersmen aghast are gazing

At their vessels that burn a-row;
The staggering smoke that volleys and blows
Shrouds the shattered Marquis de Marlose,
And the sloops and schooners in rout and wrack
Strew the pathway of Foulweather Jack.

The prisoners question in fear and wonder,

“What fiend have we fought to-day? We are burnt and splintered and split in sunder,

Who boasted him soon our prey. He grappled and boarded us, one to ten, But he and his crew are devils, not men: Curs'd be the hour when we crossed the track Of this—how do you call him ?-Foulweather Jack !”

Admiral Byron has counted his losses,

And steered for Cape Breton shore;
The baulks and spars that the wild wave tosses,

Last night they were ships of war.
The wounded men in the cock-pit dim
With feeble voices huzza for him :
“The stars may fall and the skies may crack,-
But my luck is broken !” says Foulweather Jack.





Ah me! for the days of the a substantial basket. It used years that are past and gone, to puzzle me at the time, as I those years which I lived in met them on the road, why my primeval village! As I use custom had ordained that the

! the word primeval I speak in wife should be expected to unwhat may be called a subjective dertake this journey with her or reflexive sense. For the vil- lord and master. For I can lage itself was old enough—as promise you there was very old almost as the hills that sur- little apparent companionship rounded it—but I myself was about the proceeding, when the very young in those days, and man, carrying his bag and my recollections of the village smoking his pipe, walked four and the hills date from early yards ahead at a good round and happy childhood. And to pace, and the woman with her a man of mature age, where the basket panted behind, careful scenes of his youth and man- never to fall more than the prehood are often forgotten, or at scribed distance in the rear of the least but dimly remembered, the superior being ! Now I the things that he saw and know that the heard and did as a child keep taken partly in order to keep on recurring to his memory. her out of mischief, and partly, Yet it seems to me, as my

no doubt, to give her the opporthoughts travel back, that in tunity of doing a little extramany ways our village, even parochial marketing, in the for those far - off days, was way of providing some extra somewhat more primitive than delicacy for her man's Sunday the neighbouring parishes, and dinner. As in more refined its traditions were almost ultra- circles, so too in our primitive conservative. Our rustics — village, was recognised the truth men, matrons, or maids—were of the saying that, if the wife of a sober and stay-at-home wishes to be happy though type, buying and selling, marry- married, she must feed the

, ing and giving in marriage for beast. The only difference in the most part within the con- the return journey was that the fines of their own village, man could walk with his hands and having comparatively little in his pockets, and the woman “ truck” with that outside carried the empty bag on the world which lay beyond the top of her basket. hills. True it was, on Satur- In addition to the Hall and days the shoemaking portion of the Rectory, the two recognised the community, man and wife, capitals of the community, there trudged it along the hilly road were one or two smaller houses to the sleepy market-town some in the parish occupied by gentle four miles distant, the one carry- people; but as the inhabitants ing his week's work, the other of those houses were, compara

[ocr errors]

tively speaking, strangers or Then, again, the admiral—it resident aliens, like my own was a big feather in the village family, they did not count for cap, that possession of a squire much when parish politics were who was a real live admiral concerned. People were civil owned three-quarters of the enough to our class in their own houses in the parish, and, havrough way,—the boys pulled ing a very proper and sensible their forelocks and the girls view of his position as landed dropped their curtseys, and the proprietor, made no bones about men and their wives passed the turning out of the parish any time of day to us if they met notorious evil-doer or dissenter. us in the street; but we were Tom Barker unfortunately was plainly given to understand that not one of the admiral's tenants, we were only living there on or he might have mended his sufferance, and that, like the ways. He was a fine specimen ,

. Uitlanders, we had no political of the old school, this admiral status of any kind soever. of ours, a man who as a middy

The parish politics always had seen service under Nelson, tended the same way, and that and who retained to his dying a satisfactory, though now, alas! day that aversion to the French obsolete, way-i.e., that what which had been a sign of the the squire and the parson times at the beginning of the thought right was right, and century. If his disposition was

, that their joint fiat was law,- masterful and his language on “ law civil and exekative," as occasions at least as strong as the great Mr Grummer once his will, the old salt's heart remarked. And so it came to was in the right place, and pass that, as the squire and he was dearly loved by all the parson never did disagree classes in our parish. about material points, they “He were a dear, kind, good twain ruled the roost, and gentleman, for all he exercised a wholly beneficent arritable,” observed old Widow authority in our parish. To Hawes, wiping her eyes as she begin with, they were both turned away from his grave county magistrates; and as the a year after his death ; "openpower of a county magistrate handed, that he were and all. was rather an unknown quan- He've gone to Heaven sure tity in our village, I firmly enough.' believe that if the squire had “ Then I reckon as his langiven orders that Tom Barker, guage will make some on 'em the one real black sheep in the stare a bit," answered the sexparish, should be hanged, drawn, ton, who in virtue of his office and quartered, the villain Tom was apt to regard life from its would have had a short shrift gloomiest aspect. and a long rope, and his exe- A never-to-be-forgotten day cution would have been taken in the annals of our parish was quite as a matter of course, a certain Thursday in Sepprovided always that the par- tember, when one of the resison lodged no objection. dent aliens was deputed to


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »