Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
450. El Capitan-General
 
By Charles Godfrey Leland
 
 
THERE was a captain-general who ruled in Vera Cruz,
And what we used to hear of him was always evil news:
He was a pirate on the sea—a robber on the shore,
The Señor Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.
 
There was a Yankee skipper who round about did roam;        5
His name was Stephen Folger, and Nantucket was his home:
And having gone to Vera Cruz, he had been skinned full sore
By the Señor Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.
 
But having got away alive, though all his cash was gone,
He said, “If there is vengeance, I will surely try it on!        10
And I do wish I may be damned if I don’t clear the score
With Señor Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador!”
 
He shipped a crew of seventy men—well-armëd men were they,
And sixty of them in the hold he darkly stowed away;
And, sailing back to Vera Cruz, was sighted from the shore        15
By the Señor Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.
 
With twenty-five soldados he came on board so pleased,
And said, “Maldito Yankee—again your ship is seized.
How many sailors have you got?” Said Folger, “Ten—no more,”
To the Captain Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.        20
 
“But come into my cabin and take a glass of wine.
I do suppose, as usual, I ’ll have to pay a fine:
I have got some old Madeira, and we ’ll talk the matter o’er—
My Captain Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.”
 
And as over that Madeira the captain-general boozed,        25
It seemed to him as if his head was getting quite confused;
For it happened that some morphine had travelled from “the store”
To the glass of Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.
 
“What is it makes the vessel roll? What sounds are these I hear?
It seems as if the rising waves were beating on my ear!”—        30
“Oh, it is the breaking of the surf—just that and nothing more,
My Captain Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador!”
 
The governor was in a sleep which muddled all his brains;
The seventy men had got his gang and put them all in chains;
And when he woke the following day he could not see the shore,        35
For he was out on the blue water—the Don San Salvador.
 
“Now do you see that yard-arm—and understand the thing?”
Said Captain Folger. “For all from that yard-arm you shall swing,
Or forty thousand dollars you shall pay me from your store,
My Captain Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.”        40
 
The Capitano took a pen—the order he did sign—
“O Señor Yankee! but you charge amazing high for wine!”
But ’t was not till the draft was paid they let him go ashore,
El Señor Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.
 
The greatest sharp some day will find another sharper wit;        45
It always makes the Devil laugh to see a biter bit;
It takes two Spaniards any day to come a Yankee o’er—
Even two like Don Alonzo Estabán San Salvador.
 

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