Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

The Coast Of Barbary


My lad is on the water and far away from me,
And I pray God be good to him wherever he may be,
Up the sea and down the sea,
And along the coast of Barbary.

Oh, night and day ships come in, the ships both great and small,
But never one among them brings a word of him at all,
From Port o' Spain and Trinidad, from Rio or Funchal,
And along the coast of Barbary.

If I must think he comes no more across yon seas forlorn,
If I must think there is no tide may bring him night or morn,
I'd curse the light that I look on, and the day that I was born,
And the cruel coast of Barbary.

But well I know that soon or late he'll come back blithe and brown,
When the fire's a good thing to see, and the dark drawing down,
From many a wild and stormy sea, and many a foreign town,
And along the coast of Barbary.

With a green silk handkerchief and a parrot red and green,
And shells and bits o' things to show from the places where he's been,
Up the sea and down the sea,
And along the coast of Barbary.

Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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