Upon the poop the captain stands,
As starboard as may be;
And pipes on deck the topsail hands
To reef the topsail-gallant strands
Across the briny sea.
'Ho! splice the anchor under-weigh!'
The captain loudly cried;
'Ho! lubbers brave, belay! belay!
For we must luff for Falmouth Bay
Before to-morrow's tide.'
The good ship was a racing yawl,
A spare-rigged schooner sloop,
Athwart the bows the taffrails all
In grummets gay appeared to fall,
To deck the mainsail poop.
But ere they made the Foreland Light,
And Deal was left behind,
The wind it blew great gales that night,
And blew the doughty captain tight,
Full three sheets in the wind.
And right across the tiller head
The horse it ran apace,
Whereon a traveller hitched and sped
Along the jib and vanished
To heave the trysail brace.
What ship could live in such a sea?
What vessel bear the shock?
'Ho! starboard port your helm-a-lee!
Ho! reef the maintop-gallant-tree,
With many a running block!'
And right upon the Scilly Isles
The ship had run aground;
When lo! the stalwart Captain Giles
Mounts up upon the gaff and smiles,
And slews the compass round.
'Saved! saved!' with joy the sailors cry,
And scandalize the skiff;
As taut and hoisted high and dry
They see the ship unstoppered lie
Upon the sea-girt cliff.
And since that day in Falmouth Bay,
As herring-fishers trawl,
The younkers hear the boatswains say
How Captain Giles that awful day
Preserved the sinking yawl.