Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  The Quay of Slaughden

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


The Quay of Slaughden

By George Crabbe (1754–1832)

(From The Borough)

YON is our quay! those smaller hoys from town,

Its various ware, for country use, bring down;

Those laden wagons, in return, impart

The country produce to the city mart.

Hark to the clamor in that miry road,

Bounded and narrowed by yon vessel’s load!

The lumbering wealth she empties round the place,

Package and parcel, hogshead, chest, and case:

While the loud seaman and the angry hind,

Mingling in business, bellow to the wind.

Near these a crew amphibious, in the docks,

Rear, for the sea, those castles on the stocks:

See the long keel, which soon the waves must hide!

See the strong ribs which form the roomy side!

Bolts yielding slowly to the sturdiest stroke,

And planks which curve and crackle in the smoke.

Around the whole rise cloudy wreaths, and far

Bear the warm pungence of o’er-boiling tar.

Dabbling on shore half-naked sea-boys crowd,

Swim round a ship, or swing upon the shroud;

Or in a boat purloined, with paddles play,

And grow familiar with the watery way:

Young though they be, they feel whose sons they are,

They know what British seamen do and dare;

Proud of that fame, they raise and they enjoy

The rustic wonder of the village boy.