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Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by  Edward Eggleston


 

 

DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP

[105] FRED was talking to his sister one day. He said,—

"Alice, what makes people say, 'Don't give up the ship'?"

Alice said, "I don't know. That's what the teacher said to me yesterday when I thought that I could not get my lesson."

"Yes," said Fred, "and that's what father said to me. I told him I never could learn to write well." He only said, "You must not give up the ship, my boy."

"I haven't any ship to give up," said Alice.

"And what has a ship to do with my writing?" said Fred.

"There must be some story about a ship," Alice said.

"Maybe grandfather would know," said Fred. "Let's ask him."

They found their grandfather writing in the next room. They did not wish to disturb him. They turned to leave the room.

But grandfather looked up just then. He smiled, and laid down his pen.

"Did you want something?" he asked.

[106] "We wanted to ask you a question," said Alice. "We want to know why people say, 'Don't give up the ship.' "

"We thought maybe there is a story to it," said Fred.

"Yes, there is," said their grandfather. "And I know a little rhyme that tells the story."

"Could you say it to us?" asked Alice.

"Yes, if I can think of it. Let me see. How does it begin?"

Grandfather leaned his head back in the chair. He shut his eyes for a moment. He was trying to remember.

"Oh, now I remember it!" he said.

Then he said to them these little verses:—

GRANDFATHER'S RHYME

When I was but a boy,

I heard the people tell

How gallant Captain Law-rence

So bravely fought and fell.


The ships lay close together,

I heard the people say,

And many guns were roaring

Upon that battle day.


[107]

A grape-shot struck the captain,

He laid him down to die:

They say the smoke of powder

Made dark the sea and sky.


The sailors heard a whisper

Upon the captain's lip:

The last command of Law-rence

Was, "Don't give up the ship."


And ever since that battle

The people like to tell

How gallant Captain Lawrence

So bravely fought and fell.


When disappointment happens,

And fear your heart annoys,

Be brave, like Captain Lawrence—

And don't give up, my boys!


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