Cicely Fox Smith

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

Shanghai Passage - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

'Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!'
The Skipper o' the
Harvest Moon
is rampin' round the town
Looking for some sailormen to beg or steal or borrow -
Can't get a crew an' he wants to sail tomorrow!
'Prime seamen's very scarce just now - but where's his money down,
An' I'll see what I can do for him,' says Shanghai Brown.

'Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown,'
He's sent his touts an' runners out all around the town;
He's raked in men both high an' low, he's got both black an' white;
He's got the
Lauderdale 's
port watch that only berthed last night;
He's got a brace of farmhands with the hayseeds in their hair;
He's got a bridegroom and best man, for what does Shanghai care?

An' he's shipped 'em in the
Harvest Moon
, the toughest packet goin',
(That never gets a sailorman' to sign aboard her, knowin'),
With a hardcase drivin' skipper, an' a bull-voiced bucko mate,
By the Shanghai passage from the Golden Gate.

They'll be wonderin' in the mornin' what it was they drank las' night;
They'll be wonderin' what's hit 'em if they show an ounce of fight;
They'll be scoffin' seaboot duff, they'll be suppin' handspike gruel,
An' dodgin' the belayin'-pins, and cursin' Shanghai cruel;

But there's one won't wake nor wonder, nor scoff no grub at all,
Nor drag his achin' bones along to tally on the fall,
Nor jump to please the toughest mate New England ever bred,
Not stand no trick nor lookout &mdash an' for why? Because he's dead!

'Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!'
The Skipper o' the
Harvest Moon
is rampin' round the town,
Looking for some sailormen to beg or steal or borrow -
Can't get a crew an' he wants to sail tomorrow!
'Prime seamen's very scarce just now!,' says Shanghai Brown,
So he's took an' shipped a corp away, has Shanghai Brown,
By the Shanghai Passage, outer 'Frisco Town!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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