Poor Tom, Fare Thee Well

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Robert Tannahill

'Mongst life's many cares, there is none so provoking,
As when a brave seaman, disabled and old,
Must crouch to the worthless, and stand the rude mocking
Of those who have nought they can boast but their gold,
Poor Tom, once so high on the list of deserving,
By captain and crew, none so dearly were prized,
At home now laid up, worn with many years serving,
Poor Tom takes his sup, and poor Tom is despised.

2. Yet, Care thrown a-lee, see old Tom in his glory,
Plac'd snug with a shipmate, whose life once he saved,
Recounting the feats of some bold naval story,
The battles they fought, and the storms they had braved
In his country's defence he has dared every danger,
His valorous deeds he might boast undisguised,
Yet home-hearted landsmen hold Tom as a stranger,
Poor Tom loves his sup, and poor Tom is despised.

3. Myself too am old, rather rusted for duty,
Yet still I'll prefer the wide ocean to roam,
I'd join some bold corsair, and live upon booty,
Before I'd be jibed by these sucklings at home.
Poor Tom, fare thee well ! for, by heaven, 'tis provoking,
When thus a brave seaman, disabled and old,
Must crouch to the worthless, and stand the rude mocking,
Of those who have nought they can boast but their gold.

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