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Category: Funny Narrative Poems
       Classic humorous and funny story poems. Narrative poems are written accounts of connected events in poetry format.

  BEN BLUFF  

Ben Bluff was a whaler, and many a day
Had chased the huge fish about Baffin's old Bay;
But time brought a change his diversion to spoil,
And that was when Gas took the shine out of Oil.

He turned up his nose at the fumes of the coke,
And swore the whole scheme was a bottle of smoke;
As to London, he briefly delivered his mind,
"Sparma-city," said he,--but the city declined.

So Ben cut his line in a sort of a huff,
As soon as his whales had brought profits enough,--
And hard by the Docks settled down for his life,
But, true to his text, went to Wales for a wife.

A big one she was, without figure or waist,
More bulky than lovely, but that was his taste;
In fat she was lapped from her sole to her crown,
And, turned into oil, would have lighted a town.

But Ben, like a whaler, was charmed with the match,
And thought, very truly, his spouse a great catch;
A flesh-and-blood emblem of Plenty and Peace,
And would not have changed her for Helen of Greece!

For Greenland was green in his memory still;
He'd quitted his trade, but retained the good-will;
And often when softened by bumbo and flip,
Would cry till he blubbered about his old ship.

No craft like the Grampus could work through a floe,
What knots she could run, and what tons she could stow!
And then that rich smell he preferred to the rose,
By just nosing the hold without holding his nose.

Now Ben he resolved, one fine Saturday night,
A snug arctic circle of friends to invite;
Old tars in the trade, who related old tales,
And drank, and blew clouds that were "very like whales."

Of course with their grog there was plenty of chat,
Of canting, and flenching, and cutting up fat;
And how gun-harpoons into fashion had got,
And if they were meant for the gun-whale or not?

At last they retired, and left Ben to his rest,
By fancies cetaceous and drink well possessed,
When, lo! as he lay by his partner in bed,
He heard something blow through two holes in its head!

"A start!" muttered Ben, in the Grampus afloat,
And made but one jump from the deck to the boat!
"Huzza! pull away for the blubber and bone,--
I look on that whale as already my own!"

Then groping about by the light of the moon,
He soon laid his hand on his trusty harpoon;
A moment he poised it, to send it more pat,
And then made a plunge to imbed it in fat!

"Starn all!" he sang out, "as you care for your lives,--
Starn all! as you hope to return to your wives,--
Stand by for the flurry! she throws up the foam!
Well done, my old iron; I've sent you right home!"

And scarce had he spoken, when lo! bolt upright
The leviathan rose in a great sheet of white,
And swiftly advanced for a fathom or two,
As only a fish out of water could do.

"Starn all!" echoed Ben, with a movement aback,
But too slow to escape from the creature's attack;
If flippers it had, they were furnished with nails,--
"You willin, I'll teach you that women ain't whales!"

"Avast!" shouted Ben, with a sort of a screech,
"I've heard a whale spouting, but here is a speech!"
"A-spouting, indeed!--very pretty," said she;
"But it's you I'll blow up, not the froth of the sea!

"To go to pretend to take me for a fish!
You great polar bear--but I know what you wish;
You're sick of a wife that your hankering balks,
You want to go back to some young Esquimaux!"

"O dearest," cried Ben, frightened out of his life,
"Don't think I would go for to murder a wife
I must long have bewailed!" But she only cried, "Stuff!"
Don't name it, you brute, you've be-whaled me enough!"

"Lord, Polly!" said Ben, "such a deed could I do?
I'd rather have murdered all Wapping than you!
Come, forgive what is past." "O you monster!" she cried,
"It was none of your fault that it passed off one side!"

However, at last she inclined to forgive;
"But, Ben, take this warning as long as you live,--
If the love of harpooning so strong must prevail,
Take a whale for a wife,--not a wife for a whale!"

                                                                        Thomas Hood.


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