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Lord Byron
Written on Board the Lisbon Packet
Falmouth Roads, June 30, 1809
( First published 1830 )

       ( Note:  The following lines were in a letter to Francis Hodgson as Byron set sail on his first pilgrimage.
                         I have used the original wording from the letter, rather than the version used in later editions. )



Huzza !    Hodgson, we are going,

Our embargo's off at last;

Favourable breezes blowing

Bend the canvas o'er the mast.

From aloft the signal's streaming,

Hark !    the farewell gun is fired;

Women screeching, Tars blaspheming,

Tell us that our time's expired.

Here's a rascal

Come to task all,

Prying from the custom-house,

Trunks unpacking,

Cases cracking

Not a corner for a mouse

Scrapes unsearched amid the racket,

Ere we sail on board the Packet.---


Now our boatmen quit their mooring,

And all hands must ply the oar;

Baggage from the quay is lowering,

We're impatient --- push from shore ---

"Have a care !    that Case holds liquor

"Stop the boat --- I'm sick --- oh Lord !

"Sick, Maam !   damme, you'll be sicker,

Ere you've been an hour on board.

Thus are screaming

Men & women

Gemmen, Ladies, servants, Jacks,

Here entangling

All are wrangling

Stuck together close as wax,

Such the genial noise and racket

Ere we reach the Lisbon Packet.


Now we've reached her, lo !    the Captain

Gallant Kidd commands the crew

Passengers now their berths are clapt in

Some to grumble, some to spew,

Heyday !    call you that a Cabin ?

Why tis hardly three feet square

Not enough to stow Queen Mab in,

Who the deuce can harbour there?

Who Sir?   plenty

Nobles twenty

Did at once my vessel fill

Did they --- Jesus !

How you squeeze us

Would to God, they did so still,

Then I'd scape the heat & racket

Of the good ship, Lisbon Packet.


Note + Erratum ---

For "gallant" read "gallows" ---


Fletcher, Murray, Bob, where are you?

Stretched along the deck like logs

Bear a hand --- you jolly tar you !

Here's a rope's end for the dogs,

Hobhouse muttering fearful curses

As the hatchway down he rolls

Now his breakfast, now his verses

Vomits forth & damns our souls,

Here's a stanza

On Braganza

Help --- a couplet --- no, a cup

Of warm water,

What's the matter?

Zounds !    my liver's coming up,

I shall not survive the racket

Of this brutal Lisbon Packet ---


Now at length we're off for Turkey,

Lord knows when we shall come back,

Breezes foul, & tempests murkey,

May unship us in a crack,

But since life at most a jest is

As Philosophers allow

Still to laugh by far the best is,

Then laugh on --- as I do now,

Laugh at all things

Great & small things,

Sick or well, at sea or shore,

While we're quaffing

Let's have laughing

Who the Devil cares for more?

Save good wine, & who would lack it ?

Even on board the Lisbon Packet.


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