Tag Archives: C. J. Boland

The Wreck of the Gwendoline by C. J. Boland

From the day I was nine, the wish was mine
A sailor bold to be ;

I began to pine for the stormy brine,
And a life on the deep blue sea.

And so one day on the old Bridge Quay,
I kissed my blue-eyed Nell,

And I shipped with joy as a cabin-boy
To a boatman of Clonmel.

‘Tis a dreadful shock to leave Poulslough
When the heart is young and bright,

The street called Hawke, and the Gravel Walk,
And Duckett Street by night.

My sweet abode on Kerry Road
Is shrined in memory’s cell ..

Ah, cruel fate! Good-bye, West Gate,
And Shambles Lane-farewell.

The morn was still; near Hughes’ mill
The Gwendoline was moored.

Wo laid in grog, and a terrier dog,

And a cargo of oats-insured.

So we poled away at break of day
And waved all friends adieu ;
And a loud farewell rang the friary bell
As the brewery hove in view.

At the word” Avast” we manned each mast,
And we cheered for Murphy’s stout,

As the cheer arose, we frightened the crows
On the Waterford bow with the shout.

But the day grew dark, and our bounding barque
Was struck by a sudden squall;

The captain grew pale in the driving gale,
As we swept by the gashouse wall.

Her timber creaks, and now she leaks;
With a shovel we try to bale,

Hli t not even that, nor the captain’s hat,
Nor all old top-boot avail.

We neared the bank and threw a plank
To the Tipperary shore;

One whirl it gave, then in the wave
It sunk, to rise no more.

I cried “Farewell” to my blue-eyed Nell,
And I brushed away a tear,
But my heart gave a bound as we ran aground
On the wall of Dudley’s weir ;
Then we walked ashore, half dead or more,
The dog, and myself and the tar,
And we shouted “Ahoy” to a creamery boy,
and went home in an ass’s car.

And the captain cried, as we homeward hied
That his luck for eer was gone,
For a gipsy foretold in the days of old,
He’d be wrecked at “Kilnawan”
“What harm,” said he, “if it chanced to be
Where Kilnashan’s bellows foam?
But the Board of Trade will me degrade,
For it’s half a mile from home.”

She was stuck in weeds, but some twenty steeds
That were chargers in their day,

They towed her back, on the sternward track,

To her berth beside the quay.

And other boats with Tartary oats,
May sail to Carrick Green,

But never more, by sea or shore,
Will sail the Gwendoline.

Written by C. J. Boland.

Jean le Rat

TILL eighteen seventy-seven or eight-
I’m never exact as regards a date-
A cobbler sat on his bench all day,
And rapped, and cobbled, and stitched away
At the foot of the old West Gate,
In state–

Poor waxy Jean le Rat!

His eye was bright with the light of fight,
As he welted and heeled from morn till night,
And almost the only words he’d say
Were “Garratt-ow-dat” as he hammered away
At the foot of the old West Gate,
till late –

Laconic Jean le Rat.

Now school-boys might, when the days were bright,
And summer’s exams not quite in sight,
Have kinder been to poor old Jack,
As he waxed wax-end or drove a tack,
As he sat at the old West Gate,

Forgive us, Jean le Rat!

But Jean Ie Rat was a testy cuss,
And he told us to go be blowed, or wuss.
As he drove a peg, or drank a few
With Con Soho and a friend or two,
At the foot of the old West Gate,

At times was Jean le Rat.

But when one day in his cellar he lay,
Where the sun endeavoured his swiftest ray,
He turned up his eyes to the distant skies.
“I’ve stuck to my last,” to Heaven he cries,
And then, at the old West Gate,
Kind fate l

Took poor old Jean le Rat.

Likewise, if we, when our task is done,
When the field is fought and the fight is won,
With poor old Jack as humbly cry,
“Twas ours to work, ’tis ours to die,”
In trust at the Golden Gate
We’ll wait

Along with Jean le Rat.

Written by C. J. Boland.