Frankie's Trade

Rudyard Kipling 1865 (Mumbai) – 1936 (London)

Old Horn to All Atlantic said:
 (A-hay O! To me O!)
"Now where did Frankie learn his trade?
For he ran me down with a three-reef mains'I."
 (All round the Horn!)

Atlantic answered:--"Not from me!
You'd better ask the cold North Sea,
For he ran me down under all plain canvas."
 (All round the Horn!)

The North Sea answered: -- "He's my man,
For he came to me when he began--
Frankie Drake in an open coaster.
 (All round the Sands!)

"I caught him young and I used him sore,
So you never shall startle Frankie more,
Without capsizing Earth and her waters.
 (All round the Sands!)

"I did not favour him at all.
I made him pull and I made him haul--
And stand his trick with the common sailors.
 (All round the Sands!)

"I froze him stiff and I fogged him blind,
And kicked him home with his road to find
By what he could see in a three-day snowy-storm.
 (All round the Sands!)

"I learned him his trade o' winter nights,
'Twixt Mardyk Fort and Dunkirk lights,
On a five-knot tide with the forts a-firing.
 (All round the Sands!)

"Before his beard began to shoot,
I showed him the length of the Spaniard's foot--
And I reckon he clapped the boot on it later.
 (All round the Sands!)

"If there's a risk which you can make,
That's worse than he was used to take
Nigh every week in the way of his business;
 (All round the Sands!)

"If there's a trick that you can try,
Which he hasn't met in time gone by,
Not once or twice, but ten times over;
 (All round the Sands!)

"If you can teach him aught that's new,
 (A-hay O! To me O!)
I'll give you Bruges and Niewport too,
And the ten tall churches that stand between
Storm along, my gallant Captains!
(All round the Horn!)

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Rudyard Kipling

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. more…

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    "Frankie's Trade" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 29 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/33215/frankie's-trade>.

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