By Edgar A. Guest


The navy boys are pleasant;

    they are friendly as can be

No matter where you meet them,

    they are jolly company.


Their eyes are quick to twinkle

    and their faces quick to grin

They are fond of mouth and music

    and they all have yarns to spin.


"But their peacefulness will vanish

    and they'll want to slit your throat

If you haven't learned their language

    and you call their ship a "boat"


You may not know aft from forward,

    or starboard from the port

Or that discipline is rigid

    when the vessel's know as "taut."


You may say, "downstairs," landlubber,

    when you ought to say, "below."

And a sailor may forgive you

    and no sign of temper show.


But a flash of indignation

    on his face you'll quickly note.

If you make this foolish blunder

    and call his ship a "boat."


Now a boat is something simple

    which by oars can be propelled.

It's a craft for lakes and rivers

    and by foes it's never shelled.


It's swung on ships in davits,

    and at times at storms at sea

Should the nobler vessel flounder,

    very useful it can be.


But from cabin boy to skipper

    You'll get every sailor's goat,

And he'll never quite forgive you

    if you call his ship a "boat."


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