A New Year exchange at the wheel

Eight Bells

Eight Bells

by Cicely fox-Smith

Eight bells chimed from the fo’c’sle
Back to the chime from the poop;
Out tumbled the port watch, cursing;
The cock crowed loud from the coop.

The sea was bright as a mirror,
The moon was shiny as steel,
When Ginger limped aft at midnight
For to relieve the wheel.

He spat on his hands as he took it
And the course, which was “Full an’ by,”
And “‘Appy New Year,” says Ginger,
And “Same to yourself,” says I.

“‘Ere’s a bit more meat in the lobscouse,
A few more plums in the duff,
A few less kicks wi’ the ‘alfpence,
A bit more smooth wi’ the rough.”

“‘Ere’s grub whenever you’re ‘ungry
An’ drink whenever you’re dry,
An’ a ”Appy New Year,'” says Ginger,
And “Same to yourself,” says I.


From Sailor’s Delight, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Methuen & Co., London, UK, 1931, pp. 78-79. The illustration was drawn by Phil W Smith to illustrate the poem.

From Charlie Ipcar via the Cicely Fox-Smith Facebook group.