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Old Admirals
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I can well recall the first time I ever put to sea, It was on the old "Calcutta" in eighteen fifty-three. I was just a lad of fourteen years, a midshipman to be To make my way in sailing ships of the Royal Navy. By the time that I was twenty-one I'd sailed the world around, Weathered storms in the China seas with the hatches battened down, And made my way by starlight off the coast of Newfoundland And dined on beer and herrings while the waves blew all around. I live in retirement now and through my window comes the sound Of seagulls and sets my mind remembering. The evening stars like memories sail far beyond the distant trees Way out across the open seas I hear them sing. Oh, the wooden ships they turned to iron and the iron ships to steel And shed their sails like autumn leaves with the turning of the wheel And I was given Captain's rank, and soon took under me the proudest ship that ever sailed for Queen and country. Ah, the old queen she passed


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