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The Lawless Heart

From The Birmingham Age Herald, November 25, 1914. By Berton Braley.

Dull trade hath bound me in its grip,
    And never shall I be free,
Yet I dream of the decks of a pirate ship
    In the roll of the open sea;
I dream of the pennant dread and black
    That flies at the mast alway,
As we swoop along on a merchant’s track
    In the sting of the flying spray!

Oh, I am a law-abiding chap,
    Yet deep in my heart I’d be
A buccaneer with a scarlet cap
    And a Terror of the Sea;
As lawless and ruthless a bandit brute
    As history ever knew,
Roaming the seas in search of loot
    At the head of an evil crew!

Oh, here at home I am meek and mild,
    A man with a family,
Yet I dream of deeds that are dark and wild
    And of red, red fights at sea;
And under my breath I softly hum
    A stave from a pirate song,
And my throat grows parched for pirate rum,
    For I have been dry so long!

My life is ordered and shaped and bound
    And kept to its rule and line,
But my thoughts can wander the whole world round
    And my dreams—my dreams are mine!
    And I hungrily long to be
A pirate chief on a low, black ship
    In the roll of the open sea!

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