Cicely Fox Smith
Ship Models 1. Royal Yacht (Restoration Period) - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
SAMUEL PEPYS, as all men know,
Loved ladies and ships in the long ago;
A rounded bosom, an ankle trim
Were toys that came not amiss to him;
And yet his soul took an equal joy
In frigate and first rate, ketch and hoy -
Sweepstakes, Orange-Tree, Garland, Hope,
Unicorn, Phoenix and Antelope.
SAMUEL PEPYS, on the Sabbath Day,
When St. Olave’s chime called folk to pray,
Forth from his house in Seething Lane
Churchward would pace with wig and cane,
Sober, sedate and dignified,
To his wonted seat by his Lady’s side.
And it well might be that once in a while,
When the preacher was dull and his matter was vile,
Good Master SAMUEL’S thoughts would wander
From the parson’s droning, now here now yonder -
To last night’s music and dance and laughter,
To kisses he stole (and repented after).
To the fine new suit that so much became him,
And its cost, wherefore his wife did blame him,
And the sound of voices singing together
On the sunlit Pool in the summer weather
That day they rowed from the Tower in wherries
To kiss ripe lips and eat ripe cherries, and then it might chance his mind would turn
On public matters of great concern,
Like the latest troubles afoot - Oh rat ‘em! -
With the master-shipwrights down at Chatham,
And the plaguey waste of carving and gilding
On OLD ROWLEY’S yacht, just then a-building . . .
Until his periwigged pate drooped more and more
And SAMUEL PEPYS began to snore.
SAMUEL PEPYS - God rest his bones! -
Sleeps soundly under St. Olave’s stones;
Folly and finery, feasting fun,
The good and the bad of him all are done.
But here’s the model he may have pondered
In his oaken pew while his fancy wandered
Of the new yacht building at Chatham Yard,
Curved like a lady, slender sparred,
With her garlanded ports and gilded galleries
And its figurehead with its carved fallaleries,
Her smirking Loves with their chubby paunches
And Tritons blowing on fluted conches,
Just as they were in that vanished heyday
When SAMUEL PEPYS loved ship and lady -
Tall ship, fair lady, now long since passed
Where ships and ladies went at last.
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