Pirates, after all, were usually
Such young men!
At yardarms or docks they hanged them
Or on beaches now and then,
So between the prayers of parsons
At the gallows-tree
In their ears came softly lisping
The whisper of the sea —
Their own sea of sails and fighting,
Of storm and wound,
Scattered with uncharted beaches
For the men that they marooned,
Spanish towns with plate and treasure,
Jungle, fever, heat,
And the clicking of the glasses
In some safe retreat.
In that school a man grew crafty,
Limber in his hates,
Their white scars were often left them
By the bosom-mates —
What extraordinary stories
No one now can know
Died upon those wind-blown gallows
At twenty-one or so!
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