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Seamen Three

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Seamen three! What men be ye?
Gotham's three wise men we be.
Whither in your bowl so free?
To rake the moon from out the sea.
The bowl goes trim. The moon doth shine.
And our ballast is old wine;
And your ballast is old wine.

Who art thou, so fast adrift?
I am he they call Old Care.
Here on board we will thee lift.
No: I may not enter there.
Wherefore so? 'Tis Jove's decree,
In a bowl Care may not be;
In a bowl Care may not be.

Fear ye not the waves that roll?
No: in charmed bowl we swim.
What the charm that floats the bowl?
Water may not pass the brim.
The bowl goes trim. The moon doth shine.
And our ballast is old wine;
And your ballast is old wine.
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Seamen Three

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  • Thomas Love Peacock was an accomplished poet, essayist, opera critic, and satiric novelist. During his lifetime his works received the approbation of other writers (some of whom were Peacock’s friends and the targets of his satire), literary critics (many of whom were simply his targets), and a notoriously vocal reading public. Today, Peacock’s reputation rests almost exclusively on the merits of his seven novels, four of which—Headlong Hall, Melincourt, Nightmare Abbey, and Maid Marian—appeared in quick succession between 1815 and 1822. The remaining three—The Misfortunes of Elphin, Crotchet Castle, and Gryll Grange—were written and published at more leisurely intervals, Gryll Grange not appearing until 1861, five years before Peacock’s death. Peacock’s novels record the intellectual, social, economic, and literary discussions (sometimes battles) of early-nineteenth-century England. They are, in one sense, “conversation novels,” and many of the characters who take part in the various conversations were modeled after the leading personalities...

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