Yorskhire Poems by Thomas Jefferson Monkman, part 14


LYRICS by Thomas Jefferson Monkman, 1885:



Talk of Athens, pride of Greece,
Talk of Venice, talk of Nice,
The Town Hall, Hull, in Lowgate stands
Competing with those classic lands
    In architectural beauty.

A noble pile of stone and brick,
Design'd by Cuthbert Broderick,
A Hall born man of rising fame,
A credit to his Town and name,
    Who's nobly done his duty.


There is a maid I prize,
    With eyes as fair and bright
As any gleaming star
    That gilds the darkest night.

Her grace is beauty unrestrain'd,
    Bewitching, too, her smile,
And speech the sweetest music
    That ever did beguile.

Her cheeks the rose's hue,
    Her footstep light as air,
Oh, truly, Annie Jane
    Outrivals all the fair.


Hark ! the drums and trumpets sounding,
    Bid us arm and march away,
Loud our shores with shouts resounding
    Tells us of the bloody fray ;
Sons of England, famed in story,
    Who would rather die than yield,
Strike for freedom, home, and glory,
    Strike upon the gory field.

Hark ! the drums and trumpets sounding,
    Onward we to battle go,
Crimson blood thro' veins is bounding,
    Hearts with martial ardour glow
Let us meet the proud invader
    Who dares trample on our shore,
And our country would degrade her ;
    Strike, then, as your sires of yore.

Strike, my lads, for England's honour,
    Strike, my lads, for England's homes,
Save your country, shame's upon her,
    Shall she shine in future totnes ?
Yes ; we'll conquer as of yore
    In the battle's glorious scene,
And bright lustre shed once more
    Around Old England and our Queen.


To Humber's churlish streams our course we fram'd
So named from drowning of a King so named-
                                TAYLOR, the Water Poet.

Upon the Humber's busy sea,
    The vessels speeding onward go,
Impell'd by fresh'ning breezes free,
    Responsive to the tidal flow ;
Between the York and Lincoln hills
    The keels are tacking here and there,
A gentle gale their canvas fills,
    Their streamers waving in the air.

The rapid stream is all aglow
    With sunshine and with spread of sail,
And watchful tugs the waters plough
    To meet the in-bound ocean mail ;
Seaward, two Danish schooners trim
    Are scudding under easy way,
While several shrimpers, fleet and slim,
    Are driving through the silver spray,

Here comes the Hero trim and neat
    From Norway's rough and rugged shore,
The pride of all the Wilson fleet,
    And here a ship from Elsinore ;
The Edith with her dual screws,
    A pretty Clyde-built brigantine,
A frigate's launch with Albion's blues,
    Are features in the naval scene.

A Swift and Seagull skim the wave,
    With Sappho under sail and steam,
And yonder crew of Northmen brave
    Are weighing anchor in the stream ;
Away down by the war-ship's bow
    A boat's crew ply their bending oars,
With long and steady sweep they row
    To hail a brig from Baltic shores.

There from the land of song and dance,
    And here from Fatherland or Rhine,
Come ships from German ports and France
    Laden with stores of fruit and wine ;
Yon barque from San Francisco brings
    A cargo of the golden grain,
And " Yo ! heave, yo ! " the sailor sings,
    Arriving from the Western main.

All hail ! the Humber's busy flow,
    With argosies from distant seas,
Long may thy " Queen " with commerce grow,
    And wave her standard in the breeze ;
Long may our merchant princes boast
    A goodly fleet with every tide,
Their port renown'd upon each coast
    And spoken of with loyal pride.


To a warmer, brighter sky,
    Swallows now are on the wing,
And from thorpe and hamlet fly
    All our gladsome guests of spring ;
All the tenants of our eaves,
    On their airy pinions free,
Flit, as fall the fading leaves,
    O'er the blue and briny sea.

They came and saw the roses bloom,
    The hedges white with hawthorn spray,
But ere come hours of winter's gloom,
    They fly to distant climes away.
They saw our meadows filled with hay,
    Our yellow stooks and golden. sheaves ;
But all these beauties pass'd away,
    Albion's shore the swallow leaves.

Birds of passage, fare ye well,
    Until the spring returns,
Then welcome back to all our dells,
    Our brooklets, streams, and burns.
As welcome as the flowers in May
    Beneath our rural eaves,
Return again, ye birds, and stay
    Till fall the autumn leaves.



I am a minstrel old and grey,
    And through our ancient vales
I wander forth to sing and play
    Where rural life prevails ;
And tho' I earn but scanty fare,
    I do not weary on my way,
For when I play a mirthful air
    I'm merry as the birds in May.

I take my stand beneath a tree
    Adjacent to the village inn,
And there I chant a moving glee
    To all the villagers within ;
I mark with joy each jocund smile
    As cheery voices to me say,
And pass a pile of pence the while,
    " We're merry as the birds in May."

And when the rustic children troop
    From school upon a rosy eve,
They cluster round, a smiling group,
    Who fain would not the minstrel leave ;
I gently touch my harp and sing,
    When gaily to me they do say-
Your songs to us much gladness bring,
    We're merry as the birds in May."

The squire upon his horse comes by,
    And bids me to his hall ;
An old born there is never dry,
    For welcome is my call ;
His daughters to me they do cling,
    My grey beard pull and quaintly say-
" O, minstrel, when your songs you sing,
    We're merry as the birds in May."

'Tis thus I wander on my way,
    And envy neither court nor king ;
For while I've power my harp to play,
    Enjoyment to me it will bring;
And though I earn but scanty fare,
    I do not weary on my way,
For when I play a mirthful air
    I'm merry as the birds in May.

Poems by Thomas Jefferson Monkman (1885)
Scanned by Graham Metcalf ©2003
OCRd and checked by Colin Hinson ©2003