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Soldiers & sailors

Ben Block

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            BEN BLOCK

Ben Block was a vet'ran of naval renown,
And renown was his only reward;
For the board still neglected his merits to crown,
As no interest had Ben with my Lord !
Yet, as brave as old Benbo was sturdy old Ben,
And he laughed at the canons' loud roar!
When the death-dealing broadside made worm's meat of
And the scuppers were streaming with gore!
Nor could a lieutenant's poor stipend provoke
The staunch tar to despise scanty prog;
But his biscuit he'd crack, turn his quid, crack his joke.
Thus year after year, in a subaltern state,
Poor Ben for his king fought and bled;
'Till time had umoofed all the thatch from his pate,
And the hair from his temples had fled.
When, on humbly saluting, with sinciput bare,
The first Lord of the Admiralty once;
Quoth his Lordship, "Lieuteuant, you've lost all your hair,
Since I last had a peep at 3'our sconce."
"Why, my lord," replied Ben, "it with truth may be said,
While a bald pate I long have stood under,
There have so many captains walk'd over my head,
That to see me quite scalp'd 'twere no wonder."




I'm sitting on the stile, Mary,
Where we sat side by side,
On a bright May morn long ago,
When first you where my bride.
The corn was springing fresh and green,
And the lark sang loud and high,
And the red was on your lip, Mary,
And the love-light in your eye.

The place is little changed, Mary,
The day is bright as then,
The lark's loud song is in mine ear,
And the corn is green again.
But I miss the soft clasp of your hand,
And the breath warm on your cheek,
And I still keep listening for words
You never more may speak.

'Tis but a step down yonder lane,
And the little church stands near,
The church where we were wed, Mary,
I see the spire from here.
But the grave-yard lies between us, Mary,
And my step might break your rest,
For I've laid you, darling, down to sleep,
With your baby on your breast.

I'm very lonely now, Mary,
For the poor make no new friends,
But, oh, they love the better far,
The few our father sends.
And you were all I had, Mary,
My blessing and my pride,
There's nothing left to care for now,
Since my poor Mary died.

Your's was the good brave heart, Mary,
That stilt kept hoping on,
When the trust in God had left my soul,
And my arm's young strength was gone,
There was comfort on your lip, Mary,
And the kind look on your brow,
I thank you Mary, for the same—
Though you cannot hear me now,

I thank you for that patient smile,
When your heart was like to break
When the hunger pain was gnawing there,
And you hid it for my sake,
I bless you for the pleasant word,
When your heart was sad and sore,
Oh, I'm thankful you are gone, Mary,
Where grief can't reach you more.

I'm bidding you a long farewell,
My Mary kind and true,
But I'll not forget you, darling,
In the land I'm going to.
They say there's bread and work for all,
And the sun shines always there,
But I'll not forget Old Ireland,
Were it fifty times as fair.

For Answer to " The Irish Emigrant" see No. 26.

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