Cicely Fox Smith

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

The Ballad Of The Eastern Crown - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

I've sailed in 'ookers plenty since first I went to sea -
An' sail or steam, an' good or bad, was all alike to me;
There's some 'ave tried to starve me, an' some 'ave tried to drown -
But I never met the equal o' the
Eastern Crown
.

'Er funnel's like a chimley, 'er sides is like a tub,
An' pay is middlin' scanty, an' likewise so is grub;
She's 'ard to beat for steerin' bad, she's 'ard to beat for grime,
An' rollin' is 'er 'obby - oh, she's rollin' all the time!

Rollin' down to Singapore - rollin up to Maine -
Rollin' round to Puget Sound, an' then 'ome again!
A long roll, an' a short roll, an' a roll in between,
An' the crew cursin' rosy when she ships it green!

We sailed from Philadelphia, New York an' Montreal,
Dischargin' general cargo at our various ports o' call;
We knocked about a year or so 'tween Callao an' Nome,
An' then to Portland, Oregon, to load with deals for 'ome.

She's met with accidents a few (which is 'er usual way);
She scraped a bowsprit off a barque in San Francisco Bay;
She's shed propeller blades an' plates wherever she 'as been . . .
An' last she's fouled 'er bloomin' screw on a German submarine!

Rollin' in the sunshine - rollin' in the rain -
Rollin' up the Channel - an' we're 'ome again!
A long roll, an' a short roll, an' a roll in between,
An' the crew cursin' rosy when she ships it green!

As on the 'igh an' draughty bridge I stood my wheel one day,
'If we sight a submarine' (I 'eard the Old Man say)
'I'd do as Admirals retired an' other folks 'ave said,
I'd run the old Red Duster up an' ring 'full speed ahead';
I'd sink before I'd 'eave 'er to or 'aul my colours down;
By Gosh, they'll catch a Tartar if they catch the
Eastern Crown
!
I've thought it out both 'igh an' low, an' this seems best to me -
Pursoo a zig-zag course' ('e says) 'an' see what I shall see!'

Rollin' through the Doldrums - rollin' in the foam -
Rollin' by the Fastnet - an' we're nearly 'ome;
A long roll, an' a short roll, an' a roll in between,
An' the crew cursin' rosy when she ships it green!

'E said it, an' 'e meant it, an' acted as 'e said
When sure enough we sighted one abeam o' Lizard 'Ead;
You should 'ave 'eard the engines grunt - you should 'ave seen 'er roll!
She was beatin' all the records as they shoveled on the coal!

They missed us by a spittin' length - 'er rollin' served 'er well,
But it served 'er even better after, as you're goin' to 'ear me tell;
For she some'ow rolled 'erself atop o' the bloomin' submarine . . .
An' oil upon the water was the last of it we seen.

Rollin' up to London Town (an' down by the bow);
Rollin' 'ome to Surrey Docks - ain't we 'eros now?
A long roll, an' a short roll, an' a roll in between,
An' the crew cursin' rosy as she ships it green!


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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010



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