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The Stone Fleet by Herman Melville

 

I HAVE a feeling for those ships

Each worn and ancient one

With great bluff bowsand broad in the beam;

Ayit was unkindly done.

But so they serve the Obsolete

Even soStone Fleet!

You'll say I'm doting; do but think

I scudded round the Horn in one

The Tenedosa glorious

Good old craft as ever run

Sunk (how all unmeet!)

With the Old Stone Fleet.

An India ship of fame was she

Spices and shawls and fans she bore;

A whaler when her wrinkles came

Turned off! tillspent and poor

Her bones were sold (escheat!)

Ah! Stone Fleet.

Four were erst patrician keels

(Names attest what families be)

The Kensingtonand Richmond too

Leonidasand Lee:

But now they have their seat

With the Old Stone Fleet

To scuttle them- a pirate deed

Sack themand dismast;

They sunk so slowthey died so hard

But gurgling dropped at last.

Their ghosts in gales repeat

Woe's usStone Fleet!

And all for naught. The waters pass

Currents will have their way;

Nature is nobody's ally; 'tis well;

The harbor is bettered- will stay.

A failureand complete

Was your Old Stone Fleet. December1861.

THE END