The Tearful Tale Of Captain Dan

Ellis Parker Butler 1869 (Muscatine) – 1937 (Williamsville)

A sinner was old Captain Dan;
His wives guv him no rest:
He had one wife to East Skiddaw
And one to Skiddaw West.

Now Ann Eliza was the name
Of her at East Skiddaw;
She was the most cantankerous
Female you ever saw.

I don’t know but one crosser-grained,
And of this Captain Dan
She was the wife at Skiddaw West—
She was Eliza Ann.

Well, this old skeesicks, Captain Dan,
He owned a ferryboat;
From East Skiddaw to Skiddaw West
That vessel used to float.

She was as trim a ferry-craft
As ever I did see,
And on each end a p’inted bow
And pilothouse had she.

She had two bows that way, so when
She went acrost the sound
She could, to oncet, run back ag’in
Without a-turnin’ round.

Now Captain Dan he sailed that boat
For nigh on twenty year
Acrost that sound and back ag’in,
Like I have stated here.

And never oncet in all them years
Had Ann Eliza guessed
That Dan he had another wife
So nigh as Skiddaw West.

Likewise, Eliza Ann was blind,
Howas she never saw
As Dan he had another wife
Acrost to East Skiddaw.

The way he fooled them female wives
Was by a simple plan
That come into the artful brain
Of that there Captain Dan.

With paint upon that ferry-craft,
In letters plain to see,
Upon the bow— to wit, both ends—
Her name he painted she.

Upon the bow toward East Skiddaw
This sinful Captain Dan
He painted just one single word—
The same which it was 'Ann';

And on the bow toward Skiddaw West
He likewise put one name,
And not no more; and I will state
'Eliza' was that same.

Thus, when she berthed to Skiddaw West
Eliza Ann could see
How Dan for love and gratitood
Had named her after she;

And likewise when to East Skiddaw
That boat bow-foremost came,
His Ann Eliza plain could see
The vessel bore her name.

Thuswise for nigh on twenty year,
As I remarked before
Dan cumfuscated them two wives
And sailed from shore to shore.

I reckon he might, to this day,
Have kept his sinful ways
And fooled them trustin’ female wives,
Except there come a haze:

It was a thick November haze
Accompanied by frost,
And Dan, in steerin’ ‘crost the sound,
He got his bearin’s lost.

So Dan he cast his anchor out,
And anchored on the sound;
And when the haze riz some next day,
His boat had swung clean round.

So, not bethinkin’ how it was,
Dan steered for Skiddaw West;
For he had sot up all that night,
And shorely needed rest.

Well, when into his ferry-slip
His ferry-craft he ran,
Upon the shore he seen his wife:
To wit, Eliza Ann.

Says he, 'I’ll tie this vessel up
And rest about a week;
I need a rest,' and ‘t was just then
He heard an awful shriek.

'O Villyun!' shrieked Eliza Ann.
'Oh! What—what do I see?
You don’t not love me any more!
You’ve done deserted me!'

She pointed to that ferry-craft
With one wild, vicious stare.
Dan looked and seen the telltale name
Of 'Ann' a-painted there!

What could he do? He done his best!
'Lost! Lost! Alas!' he cried;
And, kicking off his rubber boots,
Jumped overboard—and died!

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

2:46 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 2,862
Words 560
Stanzas 25
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Ellis Parker Butler

Ellis Parker Butler was an American author. more…

All Ellis Parker Butler poems | Ellis Parker Butler Books

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