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"The Tearful Tale of Captain Dan" from Century Magazine

by Ellis Parker Butler
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from Century Magazine
The Tearful Tale of Captain Dan
by Ellis Parker Butler

'The Tearful Tale of Captain Dan' by Ellis Parker Butler

A sinner was old Captain Dan;
    His wives guv him no rest:
He had one wife to East Skiddaw
    And one to Skiddaw West.

Now Ann Eliza was the name
    Of her at East Skiddaw;
She was the most cantankerous
    Female you ever saw.

I don't know but one crosser-grained,
    And of this Captain Dan
She was the wife at Skiddaw West --
    She was Eliza Ann.

Well, this old skeesicks, Captain Dan,
    He owned a ferryboat;
From East Skiddaw to Skiddaw West
    That vessel used to float.

She was as trim a ferry-craft
    As ever I did see,
And on each end a p'inted bow
    And pilothouse had she.

She had two bows that way, so when
    She went acrost the sound
She could, to oncet, run back ag'in
    Without a-turnin' round.

Now Captain Dan he sailed that boat
    For nigh on twenty year
Acrost that sound and back ag'in,
    Like I have stated here.

And never oncet in all them years
    Had Ann Eliza guessed
That Dan he had another wife
    So nigh as Skiddaw West.

'The Tearful Tale of Captain Dan' by Ellis Parker Butler

Likewise, Eliza Ann was blind,
    Howas she never saw
As Dan he had another wife
    Acrost to East Skiddaw.

The way he fooled them female wives
    Was by a simple plan
That come into the artful brain
    Of that there Captain Dan.

With paint upon that ferry-craft,
    In letters plain to see,
Upon the bow -- to wit, both ends --
    Her name he painted she.

Upon the bow toward East Skiddaw
    This sinful Captain Dan
He painted just one single word --
    The same which it was "Ann";

And on the bow toward Skiddaw West
    He likewise put one name,
And not no more; and I will state
    "Eliza" was that same.

Thus, when she berthed to Skiddaw West
    Eliza Ann could see
How Dan for love and gratitood
    Had named her after she;

And likewise when to East Skiddaw
    That boat bow-foremost came,
His Ann Eliza plain could see
    The vessel bore her name.

Thuswise for nigh on twenty year,
    As I remarked before
Dan cumfuscated them two wives
    And sailed from shore to shore.

'The Tearful Tale of Captain Dan' by Ellis Parker Butler

I reckon he might, to this day,
    Have kept his sinful ways
And fooled them trustin' female wives,
    Except there come a haze:

It was a thick November haze
    Accompanied by frost,
And Dan, in steerin' 'crost the sound,
    He got his bearin's lost.

So Dan he cast his anchor out,
    And anchored on the sound;
And when the haze riz some next day,
    His boat had swung clean round.

So, not bethinkin' how it was,
    Dan steered for Skiddaw West;
For he had sot up all that night,
    And shorely needed rest.

Well, when into his ferry-slip
    His ferry-craft he ran,
Upon the shore he seen his wife:
    To wit, Eliza Ann.

'The Tearful Tale of Captain Dan' by Ellis Parker Butler

Says he, "I'll tie this vessel up
    And rest about a week;
I need a rest," and 't was just then
    He heard an awful shriek.

"O Villyun!" shrieked Eliza Ann.
    "Oh! What -- what do I see?
You don't not love me any more!
    You've done deserted me!"

She pointed to that ferry-craft
    With one wild, vicious stare.
Dan looked and seen the telltale name
    Of "Ann" a-painted there!

What could he do? He done his best!
    "Lost! Lost! Alas!" he cried;
And, kicking off his rubber boots,
    Jumped overboard and died!


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