Saturday, July 4, 2020


Observe these Pirates bold and gay,
That sail a gory sea:
Notice their bright expression:-
The handsome one is me.

We plundered ships and harbours,
We spoiled the Spanish main;
But Nemesis watched over us,
For it began to rain.

Oh all well-meaning folk take heed!
Our captain's fate was sore;
A more well-meaning Pirate,
Had never dripped with gore.

The rain was pouring long and loud,
The sea was drear and dim;
A little fish was floating there:
Our Captain pitied him.

"How sad," he said, and dropped a tear
Splash on the cabin roof,
"That we are dry, while he is there
Without a waterproof.

"We'll get him up on board at once;
For Science teaches me,
He will be wet if he remains
Much longer in the sea."

They fished him out; the First Mate wept,
And came with rugs and ale:
The Boatswain brought him one galosh,
And fixed it on his tail.

But yet he never loved the ship;
Against the mast he'd lean;
If spoken to, he coughed and smiled,
And blushed a pallid green.

Though plied with hardbake, beef and beer,
He showed no wish to sup:
The neatest riddles they could ask,
He always gave them up.

They seized him and court-martialled him,
In some excess of spleen,
For lack of social sympathy,
(Victoria Xll. 18).

They gathered every evidence
That might remove a doubt:
They wrote a postcard in his name,
And partly scratched it out.

Till, when his guilt was clear as day,
With all formality
They doomed the traitor to be drowned
And threw him in the sea.

The flashing sunset, as he sank,
Made every scale a gem;
And, turning with a graceful bow,
He kissed his fin to them.

This piece of doggerel caught my eye and i said (he said),
why not share it with others?
There is a mystery associated with it:  who wrote it?
Dodgson, Tennyson, Chesterton, Lear, Nash, Wodehouse,
Atwood, Seuss, or maybe Walt Kelley?

If you think you know the answer, let me know in the Comments section,
and you'll receive (he said with frabjous glee) a slice of literary pie,
and a bowl of poetical porridge!


  1. I do not know who wrote this but it is neat verse.

    I always liked tales and poems when that highlight the ignorance of people in the face of nature. Some do not end so well for the people l. At least thus one lets the people - pirates continue unmolested in the end.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. i'm glad you liked it! some of it anyhow...

  2. Hmmm.Greybeards at Play by G. K. Chesterton, sir.

    1. shhh, don't give it away!! i should have known: (congratulations!)

  3. That's a fun one--I've never read or seen it before.

    The Internets do seem to think it's Chesterton, which makes sense. It's too logical to be Lear--the fish is happy to be back in the ocean--in Lear, the fish would be sunning himself on a beach in the South Seas & drinking Pina Coladas with a monkey. Whereas it's not logical enough to be Lewis Carroll--if it were Carroll there'd be some play on logic or linguistics (instead it's rather a morally proper ending for the fish) that I would only understand (and probably not even then) after Martin Gardner explained it in a footnote...

    1. LOL... i just ran across this on Gutenberg and was surprised because it sounded so much like not Chesterton... oh well, it was a different post for a change, anyway...

    2. haven't heard a reference to Martin Gardner for a long time... i used to puzzle over his column but i don't think i ever answered even one of his conundrums!

  4. Replies
    1. haha! i always count it a plus when i render someone speechless!!

  5. how's Florida? i've never been there although i've read about it... hot, probably. this was just sort of a change of pace for me; i ran across this and liked it a lot and was really surprised when i saw who wrote it, so...