“John Brown’s Body”

A passage from “John Brown’s Body”

By: Stephen Vincent Benet


The sinking of the world’s old sea-bitten names,

Temeraire, Victory, and Constellation,

Serapis, Bon Homme Richard, Golden Hind,

Galleys of Antony, galleys of Carthage,

Galleons with gilded Virgins, galleasses,

Viking long-serpents, siren-haunted galliots,

Argos and argosies and the Achaean pride,

Moving to sea in one long wooden wall

Behind the huge ghost-flagship of the Ark

In such a swelling cloud of phantom-sail

They whitened Ocean–going down by the head,

Green water seeping through the battened ports,

Spreading along the scrubbed and famous decks,

Going down—going down—going down—to Mermaid-pools,

To fiddlers Green—to the dim barnacle thrones,

Where Davy Jones drinks everlasting rum

With the sea-horses of his sunken dreams.


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