Songs of the Sea

Song Cycle by Charles Villiers Stanford, Sir (1852 - 1924)

Word count: 899

1. Drake's drum [sung text checked 1 time]

[Drake he's in his hammock and a thousand miles away,
(Captain, art thou sleeping there below?)
Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
And dreaming all the time of Plymouth Hoe.
Yonder looms the Island, yonder lie the ships,
With sailor-lads a-dancing heel-an'-toe,
And the shore-lights flashing, and the night-tide dashing,
He sees it all so plainly as he saw it long ago.]1
Drake he was a Devon man, an' ruled the Devon seas,
(Captain, art thou sleeping there below?)
Roving tho' his death fell, he went with heart at ease,
And dreaming all the time of Plymouth Hoe.
"Take my drum to England, hang it by the shore,
Strike it when your powder's running low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port o' Heaven,
And drum them up the Channel as we drummed them long ago."
Drake he's in his hammock till the great Armadas come,
(Captain, art thou sleeping there below?)
Slung atween the round shot, listening for the drum,
And dreaming all the time of Plymouth Hoe.
Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
Call him when you sail to meet the foe;
Where the old trade's plying and the old flag flying
They shall find him ware and waking, as they found him long ago!

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. Outward bound [sung text checked 1 time]

Dear Earth, near Earth, the clay that made us men,
The land we sowed,
The hearth that glowed,
O Mother, must we bid farewell to thee?
Fast dawns the last dawn, and what shall comfort then
The lonely hearts that roam the outer sea?

Gray wakes the daybreak, the shiv'ring sails are set,
To misty deeps
The channel sweeps,
O Mother, think on us who think on thee!
Earth-home, birth-home, with love remember yet
The sons in exile on th' eternal sea.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

3. Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain [sung text checked 1 time]

Drake in the North Sea grimly prowling,
Treading his dear Revenge's deck,
Watch'd, with the sea-dogs round him growling,
Galleons drifting wreck by wreck.

"Fetter and Faith for England's neck,
Faggot and Father, Saint and chain,
Yonder the Devil and all go howling,
Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!"

Drake at the last off Nombre lying,
Knowing the night that toward him crept,
Gave to the sea-dogs round him crying
This for a sign before he slept:

"Pride of the West! What Devon hath kept
Devon shall keep on tide or main;
Call to the storm and drive them flying,
Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!"

Valour of England gaunt and whitening,
Far in a Southland brought to bay,
Locked in a death-grip all day tight'ning,
Waited the end in twilight gray.

Battle and storm and the sea-dog's way
Drake from his long rest turn'd again,
Vict'ry lit thy steel with lightning,
Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

4. Homeward bound [sung text checked 1 time]

After long lab'ring in the windy ways,
On smooth and shining tides
Swiftly the great ship glides,
Her storms forgot, her weary watches past;
Northward she glides and thro' th' enchanted haze
Faint on the verge her far hope dawns at last.

The phantom skyline of a shadowy down,
Whose pale white cliffs below,
Thro' sunny mist a-glow,
Like noonday ghosts of summer moonshine gleam -
Soft as old sorrow, bright as old renown,
There lies the home of all our mortal dream.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

5. The "Old Superb" [sung text checked 1 time]

The wind was rising easterly, the morning sky was blue,
The Straits before us open'd wide and free;
We look'd towards the Admiral, where high the Peter flew,
And all our hearts were dancing like the sea.

The French are gone to Martinique with four-and-twenty sail,
The "Old Superb" is old and foul and slow;
But the French are gone to Martinique, and Nelson's on the trail,
And where he goes the "Old Superb" must go.

So Westward Ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward Ho! for Spain,
And "Ship Ahoy!" a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again
With a lame duck lagging, lagging all the way.

The "Old Superb" was barnacled and green as grass below,
Her sticks were only fit for stirring grog;
The pride of all her midshipmen was silent long ago,
And long ago they ceased to heave the log,

Four year out from home she was, and ne'er a week in port,
And nothing save the guns aboard her bright;
But Captain Keats he knew the game, and swore to share the sport,
For he never yet came in too late to fight.

So Westward Ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward Ho! for Spain,
And "Ship Ahoy!" a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again
With a lame duck lagging, lagging all the way.

"Now up, my lads," the Captain cried, "for sure the case were hard
If longest out were first to fall behind;
Aloft, aloft with studding sails, and lash them to the yard,
For night and day the trades are driving blind."

So all day long and all day long behind the fleet we crept,
And how we fretted none but Nelson guessed;
But ev'ry nigh the "Old Superb" she sailed when others slept,
Till we ran the French to earth with all the rest.

O 'twas Westward Ho! for Trinidad, and Eastward Ho! for Spain,
And "Ship Ahoy!" a hundred times a day;
Round the world if need be, and round the world again
With a lame duck lagging, lagging all the way.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry