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Quotes / Slave Galley

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"We pulled for you when the wind was against us and the sails were low.
Will you never let us go?
We ate bread and onions when you took towns or ran aboard quickly when
you were beaten back by the foe,
The captains walked up and down the deck in fair weather singing songs,
but we were below,
We fainted with our chins on the oars and you did not see that we were
idle for we still swung to and fro.
Will you never let us go?

The salt made the oar bandies like sharkskin; our knees were cut to the
bone with salt cracks; our hair was stuck to our foreheads; and our lips
were cut to our gums and you whipped us because we could not row,
Will you never let us go?

But in a little time we shall run out of the portholes as the water runs
along the oarblade, and though you tell the others to row after us you
will never catch us till you catch the oar-thresh and tie up the winds in
the belly of the sail. Aho!
Will you never let us go?"

Rudyard Kipling from "The Finest Story in the World"

Pulling the weight up against the wind
is the plight of the galley slave
Chained to this cold bench, six to the oar
Sentenced to an early grave
Accept, "The Galley"

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