DS 277 needs to be read from 276 without stopping. “He gnashed out a lonesome toast” right into the first line of the next “Willing them well.” Life in Ireland looming, but still looking backwards at maps, wondering already what his friends are up to. Life and adventure at his feet, and Henry doesn’t notice. It's hard to leave anything behind.
Well, the Dream Songs have gone on too long. Henry's on his way to Ireland, and I’m sitting here becalmed again, somewhere in my head a hundred leagues to the west of the Emerald Isle, the sailors in the launch out front rowing our barnacle-encrusted three-masted ship forward toward the waiting Liffey, that forlorn stream brownly oozing past dilapidated hovels of the Irish capital, the sluggish river studded with floating bits of unspeakable refuse, perfumed by the leaking outhouses of Dublin. The exhausted, dispirited sailors in their rowboat struggle and sweat, outrun now on the flat ocean by a school of pulsating jellyfish.
Whiskey waits, and hot soda bread, a pot of boiled potatoes melting with yellow butter, and the night-black nourishment of a thick Irish stout. Row, you bastards! There’ll be music from pennywhistles and a harp, and a soft bed for your damned lazy backs when we sail up the Liffey, and wenches with red hair and freckled noses to rub your damned lazy backs too, but we’ll never get there out of this windless void if you don’t row, damn your eyes! The sargasso weed moves faster than ye. I’ve known barnacles with more spirit. By God ye’ve got the cadaverous stares of a bucket of codfish about ye. Row, hearties! Row, boys! There’s milk and butter ahead! Grilled lamb chops and honeyed oats! Row, by God! Row…
So, we’ll leave the poor first mate for now, berating the poor struggling sailors, dreaming and singing, dipping their oars and pulling, who for their part would happily flay him but for their own desire to get through with this long, windless nightmare.
Corned beef and cabbage, boys, stories around a peat fire, cold cider and beer, and fine Gaelic poetry. For the love of heaven—Row!!!