Horatio Hornblower

A Poem By Edith // 6/26/2007

Note: The quotes, the places and names, all belong to C.S. Forester (Author of Horatio Hornblower books) and A&E (maker of Horatio Hornblower movies/volumes).
I didn't finish it. The rhyming got too hard, because there is so much to explain and so much that goes on.

--- --- --- --- ---
The rain was pouring hard and the wind was blowing,
But in the water on they lead the dinghy, rowing.
It carried a young man; he was shy and unknown,
He got seasick very easily, afraid of being thrown.
He never served on a ship, but had read of it before,
Studying all he could about sailors and their lore.

The dinghy reached the Justinian, and he looked ahead,
“Jump! You’ll be alright!” Midshipman Kennedy said.
So onto the steps at the side he jumped and climbed
The way around the ship he would soon have to find.
“Welcome to Purgatory.” Mr. Kennedy helped him up
But he didn’t answer; for trying to stand was hard enough.

He followed Mr. Archie Kennedy and then came to a halt
A wave of nausea had come over him, but that was his fault.
“C-come aboard sir.” He said with a grimace upon his face
His hat was dripping, and oh how sick he felt in this place!
“H-Horatio H-Hornblower, s-s-sir. M-midshipman.” Said he
He wanted to get away and dry, down below, and quickly.

So down below he was lead, to the midshipmen’s berth
It was full of men and pigs, no place stunk so much on earth!
Finally they reached the other midshipman, all seated at a table
Horatio felt too ill to speak…following Kennedy with a wobble.
Some were dirty and whiskered; others were shaved and clean
But Horatio hardly noticed, for his seasickness made him green.

He was sure he would get sick – and in front of all these men!
Then a man uttered to Hornblower “Speak, thou apparition.”
The man had yellow-brown hair, and he sat at the head seat
In front of him was a plate of vittles: vegetables and cold meat.
“My name is Hornblower.” He said. But his mind was on death
“What an infernal piece of bad luck,” Said another beneath his breath.

Reeling over to the table he grasped the corners with hands so cold.
Archie was by him; never swaying, nor on the table did he hold.
How did he do it? His smiling face the normal color as he stood
Hornblower thought himself to die, and that he probably would.
A seventeen year-old boy, who could not take the rocking of the sea
Homesickness too, that he was, and he was quite ashamed to be.

“I doubt he even knows the difference between a head and a halliard!”
A man chuckled and leaned back as Hornblower gripped the table hard.
“No, s-sir, I’ll be sure it is the first thing I’ll look up in Clarke’s S-Seamanship.”
Now he knew it was all over … his hands began to loosen his grip.
“If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen,” He turned around and fell
“He’s seasick!” They cried, “Seasick in Spithead!” They yelled.

The ship lurched again, his stomach felt like a huge knot
But at least he could sleep now, as Clayton led him to his cot.
His seasickness leaving slowly, with help of the older midshipman
Who patted him and said “Just lie still until you feel yourself again.”
How tired he was of the swinging cot, yet how good it felt to sleep
He was now a midshipman, and in the morning must be ready to leap.
--- --- --- ---
“The Captain’s coming aboard.” Archie muttered to him
Horatio could see from far off Captain Keene was tall and thin.
The sun was rising and the boson’s mate’s whistles rang away
“If ever a man was wrongly named. He looks frailer by the day.”
Mr. Clayton stood by Horatio and Archie, hands behind his back
But it seemed as if neatness among the midshipmen there lacked.

Inside the Captain’s quarters Horatio Hornblower stood tall
Though it was hard in the cabin, for it was very small.
“Mister Hornblower?” The Captain said, and then coughed
“Yes, sir.” No other reply was needed; with words he was at a loss.
“Obey your orders, learn your duties, and no harm can come to you.”
Was what the Captain said at last. “Very well. That will do.”

Retiring to the midshipmen’s berth, Horatio sat with the others
But he noticed everyone’s fearful eyes – “Hello, brothers!”
– Said an unknown voice standing close behind him
“Cleveland, my bold friend, move out, for it is my seat you are in.”
The men seemed afraid, and Hornblower knew not why
Yet there was something about this man that made you afraid inside.

“We expected you a lieutenant by now.” Unwelcome was his company.
But Jack Simpson only gave an evil frown. “Did you really?”
“And what have we here, my sweet brother officers?” He asked at last
“A new face among our group!” And they all turned to Horatio very fast.
“Horatio Hornblower, sir, pleased to meet you.” He said to Jack
“What is it you have there?” Jack took his food, and then put it back.