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disgraced, by not going on board the vessel he belonged to, according to his appointed time; that he had spent all the little money he brought in his pocket from Cowes at a public house in Southampton, where he had been some days; that they had retained his duds, as he called them, which he afterward gave me to understand were his clothes, and had turned him out of his quarters, after he had spent his last penny in the house, in a most ungrateful manner, and with much shameful abuse ; said that he only owed them sixteen pence halfpenny, and that was the reason why they had stopped his duds; that the man he came in quest of had borrowed two shillings of him, but that he was gone to the Lord knows where.
He told his story with such earnestness, with such simplicity, and apparent truth, that I presented him with half a crown; he then looked in
face with a degree of astonishment, and with an enquiring countenance said, “Do you know me?" I assured him that I did not; “Not know me!” replied he again, “and give me half a crown! why I never met with such a thing in all my life! What could
face to do me such a favour as this?” I told him he was a poor sailor, seemingly in distress, that had buffeted the billows in tempestuous nights, while such people as me were sleeping safe in their beds on shore; and that it was by such men as him, that our coast was safely guarded from the common eneny ;-then, with tears rising into
you see in
his eyes, he cried, “God bless ye, give a poor man your hand, and believe me when I tell you, that, were you at sea with me in an engagement, and that I could see a ball making towards you, to do you a mischief, d-n my heart if this hand, which you have relieved, should not stop it, or loose its place.” He then gave me such a hearty gripe by the hand, as to almost make my fingers crack, and took his leave, bestowing many blessings on me, and saying, “I'll now go to master Burley-face, my landlord, pack up my poor duds, and give the old heathen a Rowland for his Oliver."
This incident pressed so strongly on my mind, that, when I returned to my friends, who were at the Star-Inn,
Southampton, I told them of the scene in question; and, while they were playing a game at draughts, såt inyself down, and wrote the following song
Should it possess any degree of merit, that merit is due to me who wrote it, and I should not have been led to this comment, had not public report frequently bestowed that merit upon another man, who does not deserve it; whose trade is only writing songs in bad English, and singing them with a worse voice. Is it to be supposed that there is only one man in the world that can write a song? It might as well be thought, that there was no other river that produced fish but the Thames.
THE DISCONSOLATE SAILOR.
When my money was gone that I gain'd in the wars,
And the world 'gan to frown at my fate, What matter'd iny
scars, When indifference stood at each gate.
zeal or my
The face that would smile when my purse was well
lin'd, Shew'd a different aspect tu me, And when I cou'd nought but ingratitude find,
I hi'd once again to the sea.
I thought it unwise to repine at my lot,
Or to bear with cold looks on the shore, So pack'd up the trilling remnants I'd got,
And a trifie, alas! was my store.
A handkerchief held all the treasure I had,
Which over my shoulder I threw,
To join with some jolly ship's crew.
The sea was less troubl'd, by far, than my mind,
For, when the wide main I survey'd,
And fortune a slippery jade.