Yorskhire Poems by Thomas Jefferson Monkman, part 16


LYRICS by Thomas Jefferson Monkman, 1885:



I fly along by woods and burns
    And flit across the valley,
And high above the trees and ferns
    I often make a sally ;
O'er breezy hills and verdant down
    And over new plough'd ridges,
I flutter on by country towns,
    Thro' clouds of gauzy midges ;
As thro' the air I onward go,
    Forsake my caws I'll never;
Let farmers hum, and farmers jaw,
    Still I caw on for ever.

I fly above suburban ways,
    (You've heard of me in fables),
And sport beneath autumnal rays
    In Day and Martin's sables ;
The rustic eyes me with a gun,
    All down the field and fallow,
But I'm too cunning for his fun,
    My cranium is not shallow !
As thro' the air I onward go,
    To shoot me he is clever ;
Let farmers hum, and farmers jaw,
    Still I caw on for ever.

I fly about, and in and out,
    With here a starling sailing,
And often hear the ploughboy shout
    While sitting on a railing;
I watch the yeoman taking aim,
    As over head I travel,
But careful of his little game,
    I drop not on the gravel ;
As thro' the air I onward go,
    To shoot me he is clever ;
Let farmers hum, and farmers jaw,
    Still I caw on for ever.

I fly by lawns and chimney pots,
    And hob-nob with the plovers,
I mark the pretty rural cots,
    Also the rustic lovers ;
I trip, I twirl, I ogle, glance,
    Upon the wormy fallows,
And lead the sportsman many a dance,
    More wayward I than swallows ;
I care not for the moon or stars
    In woody wilderness,
Nor like the smell of powder jars,
    The squire or hind possesses ;
As through the air I onward go,
    Forsake my caws I'll never;
Let farmers hum, and farmers jaw,
    Still I caw on for ever.


(Two Versions.)


If I had a hoss wot wouldn't go,
Do you think I'd coax him, oh, no, no,
I'd give him some whip cord d'you see,
Because I'm fond of crueltee ;
What care I far the cruelty act,
Dumb animals, you know, were made to be whacked-
                On the head ;
If they're built to pull a ton, I'll make 'em pull two,
Whatever you set a hoss he's obliged to do,
And the lawyers stick up for us and so they've a right,
If I don't kill that hoss, well jigger me tight
                So here goes the whip cord again.


If I bad a driver who lashed me so,
I'd blush for humanity, oh, oh, oh,
And teach him and all his brother numb sculls,
That a generous horse always tries when he pulls,
And that to lash a good horse when he's doing his best,
Is like travelling to the East to get to the West.
                We are, I believe,
Willing to do the best that we can,
But if you wish to kill a horse it's just a good plan,
To overtask, overload, and brutality use,
Till weakness compels us our duty to refuse-
                Being utterly unable to do it.


Come here, lad, my little orphan lad, and listen unto me,
While I tell you of the perils of the sailors on the sea.
'Tis now about nine years ago, you then were very young,
For a youngster's noisy prattle had not fallen from your tongue,
Since I sail'd with your father out on the northern main,
In a smack all trim and saucy, whose name was the " Mary Jane."
We were cruising off the Dogger, one evening late in May,
And midnight loomed upon us with scarce a starry ray ;
The breezes was Nor'-nor'-west, my lad, 'twas blowing very strong,
As the " Mary Jane" kept dancing the bounding waves among.
Well, the wind kept on increasing, and at last it blew a gale,
And by the dawn of morning we'd short'nd all our sail.
'Twas then a steamer hove in sight, upon our starboard bow,
As the glasses plainly told us from our fishing vessel's prow.
We made out she had hoisted a signal of distress,
And her chance to ride the gale out seemed hourly getting less ;
We watched her for some time, my lad, but soon below the main
The gallant barque was missing, and was never seen again;

And, my lad, 'twas something awful to hear that piercing yell,
As beneath the seething ocean the doomed vessel fell.
We'd put the " Mary Jane " about sand reached the fatal place,
But there seemed to be no souls on the water we could trace, ,
And we'd almost given all hope up, when, close upon our lee,
We saw a lady struggling in the mountain rolling sea;
Then overboard your father sprang, all heedless of the storm,
And bravely battled with the waves to save her prostrate form ;
'Twould seem as if no swimmer could live in that awful sea,
But he quickly neared the lady who was drowning onour lee ;
And now, my lad, the story is terrible to tell,
For to our daring skipper an accident befell
The lady's arms were clinging around your father's neck,
When a mountain wave came rolling and washed them both on deck ;
'Twas then be struck the mizen and blood flowed from his head,
And the " Mary Jane " bore homeward your father who was dead.
Well ! 'tis true he had his faults, and so have most o' men,
But his heart was true and trusty in the hour of danger then,
And maybe at the moment he was scarcely fit to die,
But that one brave act of daring will have raised him to the sky.
            *        *        *
At the time we made the Humber 'twas somewhere about noon,
And the church bells of Great Grimsby were pealing out a tune ;
For 'twas Sunday, you must know, and we heard the hymns of praise
That the pious folks ashore did to their creator raise.
I always shall remember that solemn sabbath morn,
For the sea was bathed in sunshine, with no trace left of the storm,
Save one trace, one fearful trace, of your father's form below,
With his heart all still and silent, and a gash upon his brow.
Well, we sail'd up with the flood, and were soon abreast of Hull,
And when your mother came on board my heart was really full
I knew not what to tell her, or hardly how to act,
And Pin sure I told her something that was far from being a fact ;
But with a woman's instinct she could tell of something wrong,
For suddenly she fainted 'mid our brawny fisher throng.
There were rough but gentle hands to bear her home to bed,
But, waking from her agony, she found her husband dead.
'Twas then in painful anguish her reason went away,
And she followed soon your father to their final bed of clay.
Your mother was a Brixham lass, as bonny as might be,
And with your father now she sleeps beneath a flow'ry lea.
There were kind hearts to watch her in her hours of deep distress,

And all was done that could be to make her anguish less
But the kindest was the lady who was rescued from the deep,
And never left your mother till her last and final sleep ;
And when she went away, my lad, she left a purse of gold,
And that gold has fed and clothed you till you're now nigh ten years old.
Bat never worship gold, my lad, 'tis not a sailor's plan,
Heaven forbid that any sailor is a mean and sordid man.
Hold your head up, pay your way, keep a line that's straight,
Put your trust in Providence and all will turn out right.
For there is One who watches from beyond the stars above,
Who will pity and protect, if you're worthy of His love,
So follow in your father's steps, be as brave of heart as he,
And then you'll be an honour to the sailors of the sea.


O'er Hotham Park, sweet bells of Cave
    Your chimes are softly stealing,
And sweetly comes, this Sabbath eve,
    The cadence of their pealing ;
Clear, soft, and low their call to prayer
    Vibrates in yonder tower,
Soft music in the evening air
    At sunset's golden hour.

How sweet the music of your bells
    Sounds in the twilight hours,
Pervading Hotham's rural dells
    And Clitherow's ancient bowers ;
Your chimes the villagers obey,
    A small and faithful band,
And slowly to God's service stray
    The tillers of the land.

The squire and ploughman wend their way
    Responsive to your call,
In silk attire and sober gray,
    From cot and stately hall;
Chime on, chime on, sweet village bells,
    In cadence soft and low,
Dear are your music's mystic spells
    At sundown's evening glow.

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