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The ship in distress

You seamen bold that plough the ocean,
What dangers landsmen do never know.
The sun gangs over old England's nation;
No tongue can tell what you go through.
Through bitter storms in the height of battle,
Now mark you well what I do say,
Where thund'ring cannons loudly rattle
There's no back door to run away.

A merchant ship , under Divers, captain,
A long time had they been bound on sea.
The weather proved to them so uncertain,
Which brought them to extremity.
Nothing on board poor souls to nourish,
Nor to strengthen their feeble arms;
The whole ship's crew were nearly starving,
The men were nothing but skin and bone.

The cats and dogs how they did eat them,
Hunger proving to them severe;
Captain and men of one direction
They all of them went equal shares.
At length, at length the hour came on them,
The hour came on them most bitterly.
Poor fellows all stood titter totter,
Casting lots which of them should die.

The lot it fell on one poor fellow
Who had a wife at home on shore,
But to think of eating our fellow creature,
It was that which grieved us ten times more.
I am willing to die, this young man answered,
But to the topmast haste away,
For perhaps some help you may discover
While I unto the Lord do pray.


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