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DON JUAN 1819

THE SHIPWRECK
From Canto II.

XXIV.

The ship, call'd the most holy " Trinidada,"
Was steering duly for the port Leghorn;

For there the Spanish family Moncada
Were settled long ere Juan's sire was born;

They were relations, and for them he had a
Letter of introduction, which the morn

Of his departure had been sent him by

His Spanish friends for those in Italy.

xxv.

His suite consisted of three servants and

A tutor, the licentiate Pedrillo,
Who several languages did understand,

But now lay sick and speechless on his pillow, And, rocking in his hammock, long'd for land,

His headache being increased by every billow; And the waves oozing through the porthole made His berth a little damp, and him afraid.

xxvi.

'Twas not without some reason, for the wind
Increased at night, until it blew a gale;

And though 'twas not much to a naval mind,
Some landsmen would have look'd a little pale,
For sailors are, in fact, a different kind;At sunset they began to take in sail,
For the sky show'd it would come on to blow,
And carry away, perhaps, a mast or so.

XXVII.

At one o'clock the wind with sudden shift Threw the ship right into the trough of the sea,

Which struck her aft, and made an awkward rift,
Started the stern-post, also shatter'd the

Whole of her stern frame, and, ere she could lift
Herself from out her present jeopardy,

The rudder tore away: 'twas time to sound

The pumps, and there were four feet water found.

XXVIII.

One gang of people instantly was put

Upon the pumps, and the remainder set To get up part of the cargo, and what not;

But they could not come at the leak as yet. At last they did get at it really, but

Still their salvation was an even bet; The water rush'd through in a way quite puzzling, While they thrust sheets, shirts, jackets, bales of muslin,

XXIX.

Into the opening; but all such ingredients

Would have been vain, and they must have gone down, Despite of all their efforts and expedients,

But for the pumps: I'm glad to make them known
To all the brother tars who may have need hence,

For fifty tons of water were upthrown
By them per hour, and tliey had all been undone,
But for the maker, Mr. Mann, of London.

XXX.

As day advanced the weather seem'd to abate,
And then the leak they reckon'd to reduce,

And keep the ship afloat, though three feet yet
Kept two hand and one chain-pump still in use.

The wind blew fresh again: as it grew late A squall came on, and while some guns broke loose,

A gust—which all descriptive power transcends—

Laid with one blast the ship on her beam-ends.

XXXI.

There she lay, motionless, and seem'd upset;

The water left the hold, and wash'd the decks, And made a scene men do not soon forget;

For they remember battles, fires, and wrecks, Or any other thing that brings regret,

Or breaks their hopes, or hearts, or heads, or necks: Thus drownings are much talk'd of by the divers, And swimmers, who may chance to be survivors.

XXXII.

Immediately the masts were cut away, Both main and mizzen: first the mizzen went,

The main-mast follow'd; but the ship still lay
Like a mere log and baffled our intent.

Foremast and bowsprit were cut down, and they
Eased her at last (although we never meant

To part with all till every hope was blighted),

And then with violence the old ship righted.

XXXIII.

It may be easily supposed, while this
Was going on, some people were unquiet,

That passengers would find it much amiss
To lose their lives as well as spoil their diet;

That even the able seaman, deeming his

Days nearly o'er, might be disposed to riot,
As upon such occasions tars will ask
For grog, and sometimes drink rum from the cask.

XXXIV.

There's nought, no doubt, so much the spirit calms,

As rum and true religion: thus it was, Some plunder'd, some drank spirits, some sung psalms;

The high wind made the treble, and as bass The hoarse, harsh waves kept time; fright cured the qualms

Of all the luckless landsmen's sea-sick maws: Strange sounds of wailing, blasphemy, devotion, Clamour'd in chorus to the roaring ocean.

XXXV.

Perhaps more mischief had been done, but for
Our Juan, who, with sense beyond his years,

Got to the spirit-room, and stood before
It with a pair of pistols; and their fears,

As if Death were more dreadful by his door
Of fire than water, spite of oaths and tears.

Kept still aloof the crew, who, ere they sunk,

Thought it would be becoming to die drunk.

XXXVI.

"Give us more grog !" they cried, "for it will be
All one an hour hence." Juan answer'd, "No!

'Tis true that death awaits both you and me,
But let us die like men, not sink below

Like brutes ";—and thus his dangerous post kept he,
And none liked to anticipate the blow;

And even Pedrillo, his most reverend tutor,

Was for some rum a disappointed suitor.

XXXVII.

The good old gentleman was quite aghast,
And made a loud and pious lamentation;

Repented all his sins, and made a last
Irrevocable vow of reformation;

Nothing should tempt him more (this peril past)
To quit his academic occupation,

In cloisters of the classic Salamanca,

To follow Juan's wake, like Sancho Panca.

XXXVIII.

But now there came a flash of hope once more;

Day broke, and the wind lull'd: the masts were gone, The leak increased; shoals round her, but no shore,

The vessel swam, yet still she held her own. They tried the pumps again, and though before

Their desperate efforts seem'd all useless grown, A glimpse of sunshine set some hands to bale— The stronger pump'd, the weaker thrumm'd a sail.

xxxix.

Under the vessel's keel the sail was past,

And for the moment it had some effect; But with a leak, and not a stick of mast,

Nor rag of canvas, what could they expect?
But still 'tis best to struggle to the last,

'Tis never too late to be wholly wreck'd:
And though 'tis true that man can only die once,
'Tis not so pleasant in the Gulf of Lyons.

XL.

There winds and waves had hurl'd them, and from thence,

Without their will, they carried them away: For they were forced with steering to dispense, And never had as yet a quiet day

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