Cicely Fox Smith
The Yarn Of The Blue Star Line - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
When I was a lad and went to sea
In Seventy-seven or six maybe,
There was ten tall ships on Merseyside
Did sail or berth with every tide;
There was 'Hills' and 'Halls' and 'Dales';
'Counties' and 'Cities' and 'Lochs' and 'Glens'
But none there was so fast and fine
As them that sailed in the Blue Star Line.
They had tough nut skippers as hard as nails
To crack 'em along in the Cape Horn gales,
And hard-case shellbacks thirty-two
There used to be in a Blue Star crew, -
To man the capstan, and raise the shout
At tacks and sheets when she went about,
And brassbound reefers eight or nine
In them tall ships of the Blue Star Line.
But, Lord! the names them good ships had -
Enough to drive a plain man mad!
The way them names was spelled or said
'Ud crack your jaw like Liverpool bread;
And a whole lot more and worse besides,
Was the sort o' names in the Blue Star Line.
But the steam come up and the sail went down,
And them tall ships of high renown
Was scrapped, or wrecked, or sold away
To the Dutch or the Dagoes, day by day;
They went the way o' the songs we sung,
And the girls we kissed when we all were young,
And most o' the chaps as used to sign
Along wi' me in the Blue Star Line.
she met her fate
Run down in a fog off the Golden Gate;
kept knocking around
'Tween the Cape and Cardiff and Puget Sound,
Till a fire in her main hold burned her down
To the water's edge at Simonstown . . .
And none was left but the
The blooming last o' the Blue Star Line.
There isn't a cargo great or small
But that old hooker's carried 'em all;
For whether it's rubber or whether it's rice,
Coal or copra or salt or spice,
Teak or whale oil or bone manure,
Smelly guano or copper ore,
Gulf Ports cotton or B.C. pine,
All's one to the last of the Blue Star Line.
There isn't a tugboat far or near
But's took her to sea with a parting cheer,
Or picked her up off o' Lizard Head
With nine months' rust in her hawse pipes red;
There isn't a pilot near or far
From Gravesend Reach to Astoria Bar,
On Hudson or Hoogly or Thames or Tyne,
But's known the last o' the Blue Star Line.
She 's been up and down, and here and there,
But there ain't no time for to tell you where;
She 's been sunk and raised, and drove ashore,
A wreck, and a hulk, and a prize o' war . . .
But she 's gone at the last, as I've heard tell,
In the Channel chops as she knowed so well,
On Saint Agnes light where a drifting mine
Done in the last o' the Blue Star Line.
And it's good to know as she took her bones,
When it come to the last, to Davy Jones,
With the old Red Duster flying the same
As it did in the days when she earned her fame,
When ten tall ships on Merseyside
Did sail or berth with every tide,
And none o' them all so fast and fine
As them tall ships o' the Blue Star Line.
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