Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Boy at the Nore

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Nore, The

The Boy at the Nore

By Thomas Hood (1799–1845)

I SAY, little Boy at the Nore,

Do you come from the small Isle of Man?

Why, your history a mystery must be,—

Come tell us as much as you can,

Little Boy at the Nore!

You live, it seems, wholly on water,

Which your Gambier calls living in clover;

But how comes it, if that is the case,

You ’re eternally half-seas over,—

Little Boy at the Nore?

While you ride, while you dance, while you float,—

Never mind your imperfect orthography;

But give us, as well as you can,

Your watery autobiography,

Little Boy at the Nore!

Boy at the Nore, Loquitur

I ’M the tight little Boy at the Nore,

In a sort of sea negus I dwells;

Half and half ’twixt salt-water and Port,

I ’m reckoned the first of the swells,—

I ’m the Boy at the Nore!

I lives with my toes to the flounders,

And watches through long days and nights;

Yet, cruelly eager, men look

To catch the first glimpse of my lights,—

I ’m the Boy at the Nore.

I never gets cold in the head,

So my life on salt water is sweet;

I think I owes much of my health

To being well used to wet feet—

As the Boy at the Nore.

There ’s one thing, I ’m never in debt:

Nay!—I liquidates more than I oughter;

So the man to beat Cits as goes by,

In keeping the head above water,

Is the Boy at the Nore.

I ’ve seen a good deal of distress,

Lots of Breakers in Ocean’s Gazette;

They should do as I do,—rise o’er all;

Ay, a good floating capital get,

Like the Boy at the Nore!

I ’m a’ter the sailor’s own heart,

And cheers him, in deep water rolling;

And the friend of all friends to Jack Junk,

Ben Backstay, Tom Pipes, and Tom Bowling,

Is the Boy at the Nore!

Could I e’er but grow up, I ’d be off

For a week to make love to my wheedles;

If the tight little Boy at the Nore

Could but catch a nice girl at the Needles,

We ’d have two at the Nore!

They thinks little of sizes on water,

On big waves the tiny one skulks,—

While the river has Men of War on it,—

Yes, the Thames is oppressed with Great Hulks,

And the Boy ’s at the Nore!

But I ’ve done,—for the water is heaving

Round my body, as though it would sink it!

And I ’ve been so long pitching and tossing,

That sea-sick—you ’d hardly now think it—

Is the Boy at the Nore!