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Lines on Mr. Hodgson Written on Board the Lisbon Packet

George Gordon Lord Byron 1788 (London) – 1824 (Missolonghi, Aetolia)

Huzza! Hodgson, we are going,
  Our embargo's off at last;
  Favourable breezes blowing
  Bend the canvass o'er the mast.
  From aloft the signal's streaming,
  Hark! the farewell gun is fir'd;
  Women screeching, tars blaspheming,
  Tell us that our time's expir'd.
  Here's a rascal
  Come to task all,
  Prying from the custom-house;
  Trunks unpacking
  Cases cracking,
  Not a corner for a mouse
  'Scapes unsearch'd amid the racket,
  Ere we sail on board the Packet.

  Now our boatmen quit their mooring,
  And all hands must ply the oar;
  Baggage from the quay is lowering,
  We're impatient--push from shore.
  "Have a care! that case holds liquor--
  Stop the boat--I'm sick--oh Lord!"
  "Sick, ma'am, damme, you'll be sicker,
  Ere you've been an hour on board."
  Thus are screaming
  Men and women,
  Gemmen, ladies, servants, Jacks;
  Here entangling,
  All are wrangling,
  Stuck together close as wax.--
  Such the genial noise and racket,
  Ere we reach the Lisbon Packet.

  Now we've reach'd her, lo! the captain,
  Gallant Kidd, commands the crew;
  Passengers their berths are clapt in,
  Some to grumble, some to spew.
  "Hey day! call you that a cabin?
  Why 't is hardly three feet square;
  Not enough to stow Queen Mab in--
  Who the deuce can harbour there?"
  "Who, sir? plenty--
  Nobles twenty
  Did at once my vessel fill."
  "Did they? Jesus,
  How you squeeze us!
  Would to God they did so still:
  Then I'd 'scape the heat and racket
  Of the good ship, Lisbon Packet."

  Fletcher! Murray! Bob! where are you?
  Stretch'd along the deck like logs--
  Bear a hand, you jolly tar, you!
  Here's a rope's end for the dogs.
  Hobhouse muttering fearful curses,
  As the hatchway down he rolls,
  Now his breakfast, now his verses,
  Vomits forth--and damns our souls.
  "Here's a stanza
  On Braganza--
  Help!"--"A couplet?"--"No, a cup
  Of warm water--"
  "What's the matter?"
  "Zounds! my liver's coming up;
  I shall not survive the racket
  Of this brutal Lisbon Packet."

  Now at length we're off for Turkey,
  Lord knows when we shall come back!
  Breezes foul and tempests murky
  May unship us in a crack.
  But, since life at most a jest is,
  As philosophers allow,
  Still to laugh by far the best is,
  Then laugh on--as I do now.
  Laugh at all things,
  Great and small things,
  Sick or well, at sea or shore;
  While we're quaffing,
  Let's have laughing--
  Who the devil cares for more?--
  Some good wine! and who would lack it,
  Ev'n on board the Lisbon Packet?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:13 min read
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George Gordon Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, known simply as Lord Byron, was an English poet, peer and politician who became a revolutionary in the Greek War of Independence, and is considered one of the leading figures of the Romantic movement. He is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and remains widely read and influential. Among his best-known works are the lengthy narrative poems Don Juan and Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; many of his shorter lyrics in Hebrew Melodies also became popular. He travelled extensively across Europe, especially in Italy, where he lived for seven years in the cities of Venice, Ravenna, and Pisa. During his stay in Italy he frequently visited his friend and fellow poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Later in life Byron joined the Greek War of Independence fighting the Ottoman Empire and died of disease leading a campaign during that war, for which Greeks revere him as a national hero. He died in 1824 at the age of 36 from a fever contracted after the First and Second Siege of Missolonghi. His only legitimate child, Ada Lovelace, is regarded as a foundational figure in the field of computer programming based on her notes for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. Byron's illegitimate children include Allegra Byron, who died in childhood, and possibly Elizabeth Medora Leigh.  more…

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