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The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the
An' the pens broke up on the lower deck an' let
the creatures freeAn' the lights went out on the lower deck, an' no
one down but me.
I had been singin' to them to keep 'em quiet
there, For the lower deck is the dangerousest, requirin'
constant care, An' give to me as the strongest man, though used
to drink and swear.
I see my chance was certain of bein' horned or
trod, For the lower deck was packed with steers thicker
'n peas in a pod, An' more pens broke at every roll-so I made a
Contract with God.
An' by the terms of the Contract, as I have read
the same, If He got me to port alive I would exalt His
name, An' praise His Holy Majesty till further orders
He saved me from the cattle an' He saved me from
the sea, For they found me 'tween two drownded ones
where the roll had landed meAn' a four-inch crack on top of my head, as crazy
as could be.
But that were done by a stanchion, an' not by a
bullock at all, An' I lay still for seven weeks convalessing of the
fall, An' readin' the shiny Scripture texts in the Sea
An' I spoke to God of our Contract, an' He says
to my prayer: “I never puts on My ministers no more than they
can bear. “So back you go to the cattle-boats an' preach
My Gospel there.
“For human life is chancy at any kind of trade, “But most of all, as well you know, when the
steers are mad-afraid; “So you go back to the cattle-boats an' preach
'em as I've said.
"They must quit drinkin' an' swearin', they
mustn't knife on a blow, “They must quit gamblin' their wages, and you
must preach it so; “For now those boats are more like Hell than
anything else I know."
I didn't want to do it, for I knew what I should
get, An' I wanted to preach Religion, handsome an'
out of the wet, But the Word of the Lord were lain on me, an' I
done what I was set.
I have been smit an' bruised, as warned would be
the case, An' turned my cheek to the smiter exactly as Scrip
ture says; But following that, I knocked him down an' led
him up to Gracę.
An' we have preaching on Sundays whenever the
sea is calm, An' I use no knife nor pistol an' I never take no
harm, For the Lord abideth back of me to guide my
An' I sign for four pound ten a month and save the
money clear, An' I am in charge of the lower deck, an' I never
lose a steer; An' I believe in Almighty God an' I preach His
The skippers say I'm crazy, but I can prove 'em
wrong, For I am in charge of the lower deck with all that
doth belongWhich they would not give to a lunatic, and the
competition so strong!
Heh! Walk her round. Heave, ah heave her short
again! Over, snatch her over, there, and hold her on
the pawl. Loose all sail, and brace your yards aback and
fullReady jib to pay her off and heave short all!
Well, ah fare you well; we can stay no more
with you, my loveDown, set down your liquor and your girl
from off your knee;
For the wind has come to say:
“You must take me while you may, If you'd go to Mother Carey,
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!) Oh, we're bound to Mother Carey where
she feeds her chicks at sea!”