The Ancient Mariner

The Western Brewer  1912

The Ancient Mariner – THE TALE OF A THIRST
written expressly for the  WESTERN BREWER
by Charles Frederic

It was an ancient mariner,
     With hollow cheek and chest,
Who sat him down upon the curb
     A moment there to rest.

And round about him came a crowd,
     As city people do,
Until the crowd had drawn a crowd
     That ever larger grew.

And then the ancient mariner
     Unwound his doleful tale,
A yarn as sad as all the yarns
     We hear from men who sail.

And when you think of all the tales
     You hear from them, or read,
You must admit the sailor’s life
     It must be sad, indeed.

“’Twas in September,” said the salt,
     “When waves were running free
We took from little old New York
     The schooner Mary G.

The wind was in the nor’- nor’- east,
     The port was Rio far;
Into the south we sailed away
     All well from spar to spar.”

“But we had scarcely crossed the line
     When came an awful blow,
We heard the Mary crack her seams
     And then she settled low.

And we, with nothing left to do,
     We huddled close as goats
Until the captain’s order came
     At midnight, “Man the boats!”

“’Twas then we quit the Mary G.
     And left her to her doom
And in a dory peanut shell
     Launched out upon the gloom.

When morning came the storm was o’er,
     There was no Mary G.,
And we were in an open boat
     Upon an open sea.”

“No moment to provision her,
     We had no grub along
Which does not matter for a day
     Or so when men are strong.

‘Twas not for food we loudly cried,
     But one thought made us shrink
We were alone upon a sea
     Without a drop to drink.”

“And so for days we drifted on
     And fate and sea we cursed,
For day by day still stronger grew
     That awful, awful thirst.

Our insides they were all afire
     Each man a crater felt
That burned as though the fires of hell
     Were there beneath his belt.”

“A thousand furnaces in one,
     A million prairie fires,
A hundred cities burning up
     With all their blazing spires.

A million planets piping hot,
     Volcanoes eight or nine,
Seemed but a feeble candle flame
     Beside that thirst of mine.”

And then the sailor stopped his tale
     And looked at one who stood
Unmoved where others quaked and shook
     To hear that tale of blood.

While others shuddered at the yarn,
     This fellow only smiled
The story of that awful thirst
     Amused him like a child.

“You scoff”, the angry sailor said,
     And shook his fist and cursed,
“You scoff at such a tale as mine
     Of such an awful thirst.”

And then the stranger smiles again,
     And then the stranger speaks;
“The water wagon, I’ve been on”,
     He says “the last two weeks.”

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