Songs of a Rover

Song Cycle by Robert Coningsby Clarke (1879 - 1934)

Word count: 402

?. Sea-Fever [sung text not yet checked]

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume and the seagulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry [yarn]1 from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

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View original text (without footnotes)
Note: first published in Speaker (Feb. 1902)
1 Ireland: "tale"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. The Golden City of St. Mary [sung text not yet checked]

Out beyond the sunset, could I but find the way,
Is a sleepy blue laguna which widens to a bay,
And there's the Blessed City -- so the sailors say --
      The Golden City of St. Mary.

It's built of fair marble -- white -- without a stain,
And in the cool twilight when the sea-winds wane
The bells chime faintly, like a soft, warm rain,
      In the Golden City of St. Mary.

Among the green palm-trees where the fire-flies shine,
Are the white tavern tables where the gallants dine,
Singing slow Spanish songs like old mulled wine,
      In the Golden City of St. Mary.

Oh I'll be shipping sunset-wards and westward-ho
Through the green toppling combers a-shattering into snow,
Till I come to quiet moorings and a watch below,
      In the Golden City of St. Mary.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Vagabond [sung text not yet checked]

Dunno a heap about the what an' why,
Can't say's I ever knowed.
Heaven to me's a fair blue stretch of sky,
Earth's jest a dusty road.

Dunno the names o' thigs, nor what they are,
Can't say's I ever will.
Dunno about God - he's jest the noddin' star
Atop the windy hill.

Dunno about Life - it's jest a tramp alone,
From wakin'-time to doss.
Dunno about Death - it's jest a quiet stone
All over-grey wi' moss. 

An' why I live, an' why the old world spins,
Are things I never knowed.
My mark's the gypsy fires, the lonely inns,
An' jest the dusty road.

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First published in Outlook, February 1902

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry