Cicely Fox Smith

(1882-1954 / England)

The Ballad Of The Resurrection Packet


Oh, she's in from deep water, she's safe in port once more,
With shot-'oles in 'er funnel which were not there before;
Yes, she's 'ome, dearie, 'ome, an' we're 'alf the sea inside!
Ought to 'ave sunk, but couldn't if she tried!

An' it was ''ome, dearie, 'ome, oh, she'll bring us 'ome some day,
Rollin' both rails under in the old sweet way!
Freezin' in the foul weather, fryin' in the fine,
The resurrection packet of the Salt 'Orse Line!'

If she'd been built for sinkin' she'd 'ave done it long ago;
She's tried 'er best in every sea an' all the winds that blow;
In 'urricanes at Galveston, pamperos off the Plate,
An' icy Cape 'Orn snorters which freeze you while you wait.

She's been ashore at Vallipo, Algoa Bay likewise,
She's broke 'er screw shaft off Cape Race an' stove 'er bows in ice,
She's lost 'er deck-load overboard an' 'alf 'er bulwarks too,
An' she's come in with fire aboard, smokin' like a flue.

But it's ''ome, dearie, 'ome. Oh she gets there just the same,
Reekin', leakin', 'alf a wreck, scarred an' stove an' lame;
Patch 'er up with putty, lads, tie 'er up with twine,
The resurrection packet of the Salt 'Orse Line!'

A bit west the Scillies the sky was stormy red;
'Tonight we'll lift Saint Agnes Light if all goes well,' we said;
But we met a slinkin' submarine as dark was comin' down,
An' she ripped our rotten plates away an' left us there to drown.

A bit west the Scillies we thought 'er sure to sink,
There was 'alf a gale blowin', the sky was black as ink;
The seas begun to mount an' the wind begun to thunder,
An' every wave that came, oh we thought 'twould roll 'er under!

But it was ''Ome, dearie, 'ome, an' she gets there after all -
Steamin' when she can steam, an' when she can't she'll crawl,
This year, next year, rain or storm or shine,
The resurrection packet of the Salt 'Orse Line!'

We thought about the bulk-'eads, we wondered if they'd last,
An' the cook 'e started groanin', an' repentin' of the past;
But thinkin' an' groanin', oh they wouldn't shift the water,
So we got the pumps a-workin', same as British seamen oughter.

If she'd been a crack liner she'd 'ave gone down like stone,
An' why she didn't sink is a thing as can't be known;
Our arms was made o' lead, our backs was split with achin',
But we pumped 'er into port just before the day was breakin'!

An' it was ''Ome, dearie, 'ome, oh she'll bring us 'ome some day,
Don't you 'ear the pumps a-clankin' in the old sweet way?
This year, next year, rain or snow or shine,
She's the resurrection packet of the Salt 'Orse Line!'

Submitted: Monday, August 30, 2010

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