from Otia Sacra


by Mildmay Fane

He only happy is, and wise,
Can run his barque when tempests rise,
Know how to lay the helm and steer,
Lie on a track, port and career,
Sometimes to weather, then to lee,
As waves give way and winds agree ;
Nor boom at all in such a stress,
But by degrees loom less and less.
Ride out a storm with no more loss
Than the endurance of a toss ;
For though he cannot well bear sail
In such a fresh and powerful gale,
Yet when there is no other shift,
Think 't not amiss to ride a drift ;
To shut down ports and tyers to bale in,
To seal the hatch up with tarpalin ;
To ply the pump and no means slack
May clear her bilge and help from wrack ;
To take in cloth and, in a word,
Unlade and cut the mast by board.
So spoon before the winds and seas,
When though she'll roll, she'll go at ease ;
And not so strained as if laid under
The wave that threatens sudden founder ;
And whilst the fury and the rage
Leaves little hope for anchorage ;
Yet if she can but make a coast
In any time, she'll not be lost,
But in affection's bay will find
A harbour suited to her mind.

A Treasury of Seventeenth Century English Verse. H. J. Massingham, Ed.
London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1931. 90.

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