††††††††† The builders had the ship prepare,

††††††††† And near her stood a triple guard,

†††††††††††† For fear of secret foes.

††††††††† Some, tiptoe stood to see her start,

††††††††† And would have said, with all their heart,

†††††††††††† In raptures, there she goes!


††††††††† The stubborn ship, do what they could,

††††††††† Convinced them, she was made of wood

†††††††††††† Though plann'd with art supreme;

††††††††† All art, all force the ship defy'd ‑‑

††††††††† Nor brilliant day, nor top of tide

†††††††††††† Could urge her to the stream.


††††††††† Some, with their airs aristocratic,

††††††††† And some with honors diplomatic,

†††††††††††† Advanced to see the show;

††††††††† In vain the builder to her call'd ‑‑

††††††††† In vain the shipwrights pull'd and haul'd ‑‑

†††††††††††† She could not ‑‑ would not go.


††††††††† Each anti‑federal, with a smile

††††††††† Observed the yet unfloating pile

†††††††††††† As if he meant to say,

††††††††† Builder, no doubt, you know your trade,

††††††††† A constitution you have made

†††††††††††† But should her ways have better laid.


††††††††† Well now to heave the ship afloat,

††††††††† To move from this unlucky spot,

††††††††††††† Take our advice, and give them soon,

††††††††† What should have long ago been done,

††††††††† Amendments ‑‑ You Know What.


†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ‑‑ Philip Freneau

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† September 1797


The Captainís Clerk
1989, TGM