REH Word of the Week: course

The Sails
(1) Outer jib:
(2) Jib:
(3) Inner jib:
(4) Stay foresail:
(5) Fore course:
(6) Fore lower topsail:
(7) Fore upper topsail:
(8) Fore lower topgallant sail:
(9) Fore upper topgallant sail:
(10) First staysail:
(11) Second staysail:
(12) Third staysail:
(13) Main course:
(14) Main lower topsail:
(15) Main upper topsail:
(16) Main lower topgallant sail:
(17) Main upper topgallant sail:
(18) (Mutton)-spanker:
    1. Reef:
    2. Reef:


1.  the lowest sail on a square-rigged mast (see sails 5 and 13 above)

[origin: ca 14th century; Middle English, from Anglo-French curs, course, from Latin cursus, from currere to run]


Bring aft the rum! Life’s measure’s overfull
And down the sides the splashing liquor slops
To mingle in the unknown seas of Doubt.
Bring aft the rum! The tide is going out;
The breeze has lain, the tattered mainsail drops
Against the mast. And on the battered hull
I hear the drowsy slap of lazy waves.
And through the port I see the sandy beach,
And sullen trees beyond, a swampland dank.
I’ve known the isles the furtherest tide surge laves—

Now like a stranded hulk I come to die
Beside a shore mud-foul and forest-rank.
Bring aft the rum! And set it just in reach.
I’ve sailed the seven seas, long, bloody years.
I’ve seen men die and ships go reeling down—
I might have robbed my fellow man in style
But I was long on force and short on guile—
So ’stead of trade I chose the buccaneers—
Rig aft a plank there, damn you! Sink or drown!—
Life is a vain, illusive, fickle thing—

Now nearly done with me—it could not hold
Allurement to allay my thirst—for rum.
Steps on the main companion? Let them come.
Here is the map; let Silver have the gold.
Gems, wenches, rum—aye, I have shed my fling.
I guzzled Life as I have guzzled rum.
Run up the sails—throw off the anchor chain—
The courses sway, the straining braces thrum,
The breezes lift, the scents of ocean come—
Bring aft the rum! I’ll put to sea again.

[from “Flint’s Passing”; this is the complete poem as shown in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 476]