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A Croon on Hennacliff

I.

Thus said the rushing raven, 
    Unto his hungry mate, — 
“Ho! gossip! for Bude Haven: 
    There be corpses six or eight. 
Cawk! cawk! the crew and skipper, 
    Are wallowing in the sea: 
So there’s a savoury supper 
    For my old dame and me.” 

II.

“Cawk! gaffer! thou art dreaming, 
    The shore hath wreckers bold; 
Would rend the yelling seamen, 
    From the clutching billows hold. 
Cawk! cawk! they’d bound for booty 
    Into the dragon’s den: 
And shout, for ‘death or duty,’ 
    If the prey were drowning men.” 

III.

Loud laughed the listening surges, 
    At the guess our grandame gave: 
You might call them Boanerges, 
    From the thunder of their wave. 
And mockery followed after 
    The sea-bird’s jeering brood: 
That filled the skies with laughter, 
    From Lundy Light to Bude. 

IV.

“Cawk! cawk!” then said the raven, 
    “I am fourscore years and ten: 
Yet never in Bude Haven, 
    Did I croak for rescued men. — 
They will save the Captain’s girdle, 
    And shirt, if shirt there be: 
But leave their blood to curdle, 
    For my old dame and me.” 

V.

So said the rushing raven, 
    Unto his hungry mate, — 
“Ho! gossip! for Bude Haven: 
    There be corpses six or eight. 
Cawk! cawk! the crew and skipper, 
    Are wallowing in the sea: 
O what a savoury supper, 
    For my old dame and me.” 
Robert Stephen Hawker [1803–1875]