Herman Melville

(1 August 1819 – 28 September 1891 / New York City, New York)

Tom Deadlight - Poem by Herman Melville

Farewell and adieu to you noble hearties,--
Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain,
For I've received orders for to sail for the
But hope with the grand fleet to see you

I have hove my ship to, with main-top-sail
aback, boys;
I have hove my ship to, for the strike
soundings clear--
The black scud a'flying; but, by God's blessing,
dam' me,
Right up the Channel for the Deadman I'll

I have worried through the waters that are
called the Doldrums,
And growled at Sargasso that clogs while ye
Blast my eyes, but the light-ship is hid by the
mist, lads:--
_Flying Dutchman_--odds bobbs--off the
Cape of Good Hope!

But what's this I feel that is fanning my cheek,
The white goney's wing?--how she rolls!--
't is the Cape!--
Give my kit to the mess, Jock, for kin none is
mine, none;
And tell _Holy Joe_ to avast with the crape.

Dead reckoning, says _Joe_, it won't do to go by;
But they doused all the glims, Matt, in sky
t' other night.
Dead reckoning is good for to sail for the
And Tom Deadlight he thinks it may reckon
near right.

The signal!--it streams for the grand fleet to
The captains--the trumpets--the hullabaloo!
Stand by for blue-blazes, and mind your
For the Lord High Admiral, he's squinting
at you!

But give me my _tot_, Matt, before I roll over;
Jock, let's have your flipper, it's good for to
And don't sew me up without _baccy_ in mouth,
And don't blubber like lubbers when I turn
up my keel.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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