Bert Leston Taylor

(1866-1921 / the United States)

The Rime Of The Betsy Jane - Poem by Bert Leston Taylor

(A manuscript found in a bottle)

IT was the good ship Betsy Jane,
That sailed in a spanking breeze,
With a bunch of militant Suffs on board,
Condemned to an island unexplored
In far off southern seas.

The Suffs they went on a hunger strike,
And nothing eat would they,
So the skipper, a conscientious man,
Was forced to the forcible feeding plan,
In the genteel British way.

A squall came up and the ship went down,
And we of the Betsy Jane
Were left on a raft in a dreadful plight,
With never a friendly sail in sight,
On the well-known raging main.

Our skipper, a conscientious man,
Divided the grub with care.
Says he: 'It's share and share alike,
You dames can eat or stay on strike,
But damme! there's your share.'

The waves ran high, the grub ran low,
And never a sail we saw.
The Suffs they scorned the pork and bread,
And 'Votes for wimmen!' was all they said,
And never a chaw they'd chaw.

The starving crew of the Betsy Jane
They watched their end draw near,
Till, 'Blast my eyes!' said Bosun Bill,
won't eat their chuck
And the rest of us give a cheer.

But the skipper, a conscientious man,
A pistol huge drew he.
'Who touches a hunk of yonder bread
Dies like a dog! Back up!' he said,
. . . . . .

Right here the tale in the bottle stopped,
And left me on tiptoe;
For how they straightened the matter out,
Or whether their fate is still in doubt,
I'd jolly well like to know.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 18, 2010

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