|The Sailor's Prayer. 1801. Lewis Walpole Library.|
"O mighty Neptune! hear an honest British Tar--thou knowest I trouble not thy Godship every day, I therefore pray thee to grant my Prayer, for I love not long palavering and that there, d'ye see.
Grant me a stout ship, and honest Messmates--as the last of my old ones was popped off the Belerophon's bows at the Nile--poor Mat Mizen!! Give me plenty of Grog, and a good commander, and I'll warrant you I'll shave the Don's wiskers, and as to MOUNSEER, if I comes athwart his hauser again, I'll shiver his Jib, and dowse his three-coloured rag, and revenge the death of Mat Mizen, d--n me--I beg your honour's pardon for swearing, but its a way I have--however, I still say, if I get into Mounseer's wake, I'll back his top sails, split my Timbers.
Worthy Master Neptune! send us a good prize, I beseech thee, and be not sparing in brandy and tobacco--give us also a few chests of the Don's dollars, for Mounseer hasn't got none, no more than there is in your three-pronged boat-hook. When we arrive in port, send us handsome Doxies, and keep us from the lee-shore, that thou knowest I hat as I do an empty can, or a dry quid. Grant me but these, and capsize my Trunions if I don't ever praise thee, and the Messmate that wont join me, may he be stuck upon the lee-yard arm of a storm night! Lastly, I pray thee to keep me from the disgrace of the Bilboes-save me from a Guinea-man and a Tender, and I'll serve cheerfully, and sing King George and his Navy for ever.--Huzza! to the end of the chapter."
The sailor, seated on a chest on the deck of a ship, is smoking a white clay pipe, with an oval tobacco case and a tankard easily within reach. He wears pointed-toe shoes with gold buckles, white stockings, red and white striped pants, a blue jacket with three buttons at the cuffs, at least two of which are worn unbuttoned, and a black neck-handkerchief tied tightly around his neck with the ends hanging outside his jacket. His dark hair is short and curly.