Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

Horn Weather - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

When Admiral Drake came round the 'Orn,
A good long while afore we was born,
The ships 'e 'ad, they was bluff an' chubby,
Their sterns was 'igh an' their spars was stubby,
An', take 'em all round, from fore to mizzen,
They was rum sort o' craft, them ships o' his'n . . .
An' it rained an' it blowed,
An' it hailed an' it snowed,
One at a time an' all together -
For the ships they go an' the ships they come,
An' whether they're ornery or whether they're rum
Don't make much odds to the Cape 'Orn weather!

They 'adn't no jibs not yet no staysails,
Royals nor stunsails nor none o' they sails;
They'd a sort of a Jimmy Green set forrad,
An' as for the topsails, their cut was 'orrid;
There warn't no reef-points nor no such gear,
But they clewed up their courses uncommonly queer . . .
An' it rained an' it froze,
There was fogs, there was floes,
One at a time an' all together -
For ships bein' women, why, as you suppose,
They change their rig same as women their clo'es;
But there ain't no change in the Cape 'Orn weather!

They 'ad lamp-posts stickin' up port an' starboard,
But port in them days warn't port but larboard;
They 'ad charts as 'ud make our Old Man shudder,
An' a sort of a pole as worked the rudder;
There warn't no wheel nor yet no chronometer,
An' they shot the sun with a wooden barometer . . .
But it 'owled an' it roared,
An' the seas come aboard,
One at a time an' all together -
For whether they're ol' ships or whether they're new,
Or Drake or just fellers that's like me an' you,
It's the same for 'em all is the Cape 'Orn weather!

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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