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SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE.

81

The fourth; he broke into a roar;

The fifth; his waistband split;
The sixth; he burst five buttons off,

And tumbled in a fit.

Ten days and nights, with sleepless eye,

I watched that wretched man,
And since, I never dare to write

As funny as I can.

SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE.-JOHN G. WHITTIER.

Of all the rides since the birth of Time,
Told in story or sung in rhyme, -
On Apuleius's Golden Ass,
Or one-eyed Calendar's horse of brass,
Witch astride of a human hack,
Islam's prophet on Al-Borák,–
The strangest ride that ever was sped
Was Ireson's, out from Marblehead !

Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart

By the women of Marblehead!

Body of turkey, head of owl,
Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl,
Feathered and ruffled in every part,
Skipper Ireson stood in the cart.
Scores of women, old and young,
Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue,
Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane,
Shouting and singing the shrill refrain:

“ Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt

By the women o' Morble'ead !"

Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips,
Girls in bloom of cheek and lips,
Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase
Bacchus round some antique vase,

Brief of skirt, with ankles bare,
Loose of kerchief and loose of hair,
With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang,
Over and over the Mænads sang:

“Here's Flud Oirson, sur his horrd horrt,
Torr'd an' futherr'd and corr'd in a corrt

By the women o' Morble'ead I”

Small pity for him 1—He sailed away
From a leaking ship, in Chaleur Bay,–
Sailed away from a sinking wreck,
With his own town's-people on her deck !
“ Lay by I lay by!” they called to him.
Back he answered, “Sink or swim!
Brag of your catch of fish again !"
And off he sailed through the fog and rain !

Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart

By the women of Marblehead !

Through the street, on either side,
Up flew windows, doors swung wide;
Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray,
Treble lent the fish-horn's bray.
Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound,
Hulks of old sailors run aground,
Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane,
And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain :

"Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt

By the women o' Morble'ead !"

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“Hear me, neighbors !” at last he cried,

What to me is this noisy ride ?
What is the shame that clothes the skin
To the nameless horror that lives within ?
Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck,
And hear a cry from a reeling deck !
Hate me and curse me, I only dread
The hand of God and the face of the dead I"

Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart

By the women of Marblehead !

CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE.

83

Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea
Said, “God has touched him |--why should we ?"
Said an old wife mourning her only son,
"Cut the rogue's tether and let him run !"
So with soft relentings and rude excuse,
Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose,
And gave him a cloak to hide him in,
And left him alone with his shame and sin.

Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart

By the women of Marblehead!

CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE.-ALFRED TENNISON.

HALF a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,
All in the valley of death

Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade :
Charge for the guns !” he said.
Into the valley of death,

Rode the six hundred.

"Forward the Light Brigade !"
Was there a man dismayed ?
Not though the soldiers knew

Some one had blundered;
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of death

Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them

Volleyed and thundered:
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well;

Into the jaws of death,
Into the mouth of hell,

Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabers bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while

All the world wondered:
Plunged in the battery smoke,
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the saber-stroke,

Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not,

Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them,

Volleyed and thundered:
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well,
Came through the jaws of death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade ?
0, the wild charge they made !

All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!

THE TREADMILL SONG.-OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.

THE stars are rolling in the sky,

The earth rolls on below,
And we can feel the rattling wheel

Revolving as we go.

THE TREADMILL SONG.

85

Then tread away, my gallant boys,

And make the axle fly;
Why should not wheels go round about,

Like planets in the sky?

Wake up, wake up, my duck-legged man,

And stir your solid pegs !
Arouse, arouse, my gawky friend,

And shake your spider legs;
What though you're awkward at the trade,

There's time enough to learn, -
So lean upon the rail, my lad,

And take another turn.

They've built us up a noble wall,

To keep the vulgar out;
We've nothing in the world to do,

But just to walk about:
So faster, now, you middle-men,

And try to beat the ends,
It's pleasant work to ramble round

Among one's honest friends.

Here, tread upon the long man's toes,

He sha'n't be lazy here, -
And punch the little fellow's ribs,

And tweak that lubber's ear,-
He's lost them both,—don't pull his hair

Because he wears a scratch,
But poke him in the further eye,

That is n't in the patch.

Hark! fellows, there's the supper-bell,

And so our work is done;
It's pretty sport,-suppose we take

A round or two for fun!
If ever they should turn me out,

When I have better grown,
Now hang me, but I mean to have

A treadmill of my own

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