Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO A MIDSHIPMAN, by ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON



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TO A MIDSHIPMAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Off on the daring curacoa
Last Line: With an interrogation --
Alternate Author Name(s): Stevenson, Robert Lewis Balfour
Subject(s): Admirals; Chocolates; Sea; Ocean


OFF on the daring Curacoa,
When on a journey,
I had been asked about the hour of four
By Admiral Burney;
I had been asked by him, and he
Had led me, right unwilling to a sea-collation,
When by the bits, by lantern light, there waited
A bowl of chocolate; and we, unsated,
Fell to the meal with gallant emulation.
And not unequally mated
Did glorious justice to that chocolation.

Soon an ungrateful country spurned my service,
And I, though bold as Admiral Hurd,
And adamant as Admiral Jervis,
Was, for that country's good,
Without the least emolument or justification,
Returned to a shore station.

Where oft, awaking ere the day,
Before the earliest lightening in the east,
Murmuring, I lay,
Mourning that absent feast
And the rich dish,
In memory dear but far beyond a wish.

Then Woodward rose, Woodward beneficent.
Stern purser he, the eloquent diarist
Of that unparalleled voyage; and he sent
Up through the arduous forest, by the mist
And constant dash
Of sounding waterfalls,
And that chaotic hash
I have the impudence to call a road,
A welcome load,
Being two sticks,
Each of the pleasing hue of clay
And both the consistency of bricks.

Sail on, my Woodward! Sail for aye
To acclamation!
Whether in your ears the hostile cannon bang,
Or, on some more pacific station
Respected, there adown the stage
Of speculation,
Still may this humble testimonial hang
In chateau Woodward for an age!
There may no irritant Soldier circumvent
In angry disputation,
Nor unexpected Warren hit aslant
With an interrogation --





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