#00963
Mother Carey (Tom Lewis)

As late I went a-walking,
a-walking by the sea,
I thought I heard men talking,
I heard them call to me;
Oh! Sorrow take the city streets,
the weary city stones,
'Tis time for you to leave them
while the strength is in your bones.
Shake her and wake her, Johnny,
there's the ship for you,
Lying in the Royal Roads
waiting for a crew;
And every brace and backstay
is singing soft and low,
Mother Carey wants us
and we're all bound to go.

For we're all bound to go,
Johnny, all bound to go,
If it's late or early,
lads, if you will or no;
Sure as sun do rise, Johnny,
sure as tides do flow,
When Mother Carey wants us
then we're all bound to go.

As late I went a-walking,
a-walking by the shore,
I thought of ports I'd like to see
I hadn't seen before;
Across the strait the lighthouse
kept winking fine and free,
To show me where the road is
that leads to open sea.
Shake her and wake her,
Johnny, yonder there she rides,
Lying in the Royal Roads
swinging at the tides;
Singing to the muttering tides
that past her cables flow,
Mother Carey wants us
and we're all bound to go.

For we're all bound to go,
Johnny, all bound to go,
If it's late or early,
lads, if you will or no;
Sure as sun do rise, Johnny,
sure as tides do flow,
When Mother Carey wants us
then we're all bound to go.

As late I went a-walking,
a-walking' by the tide,
I thought m' love was with me
and walking by m' side;
So kind she did reproach me,
so soft her eyes did shine,
Yet could not hold beside her
this restless heart of mine.
Shake her and wake her,
Johnny, can't you hear them calling,
Out across the Royal Roads
and the dusk a-falling;
Time and time for me to leave you,
though I love you so,
Mother Carey wants us
and we're all bound to go.

For we're all bound to go,
Johnny, all bound to go,
If it's late or early,
lads, if you will or no;
Sure as sun do rise, Johnny,
sure as tides do flow,
When Mother Carey wants us
then we're all bound to go.

####.... Words by Cicely Fox-Smith, 1914 ....####
Music composed (1992) and recorded by Tom Lewis (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Singer!, trk#8, 1995, Self-Propelled Music, British Columbia, Canada)

Lyrics from Songs & Chanties: 1914-1916, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Elkin Mathews, London, ©1919, pp.100-102:

"This poem was probably composed near the end of the poet's stay in Victoria, British Columbia, when she was apprehensive about the fate of her beloved shipmate Dan, who was untimately lost at sea. The Strait referred to in the poem is Juan de Fuca and the lighthouse blinking is on Race Ledge. Mother Carey as a nautical fantasy character is no benevolent spirit as Cicely Fox-Smith undoubtedly knew, being familiar with John Masefield's poem Mother Carey (As Told Me By The Bo'sun)." (See below.)


Mother Carey? She's the mother o' the witches
'N' all them sort o' rips;
She's a fine gell to look at, but the hitch is
She's a sight too fond of ships;
She lives upon an iceberg to the norred,
'N' her man he's Davy Jones,
'N' she combs the weeds upon her forred
With pore drowned sailors' bones.

She's the mother o' the wrecks, 'n' the mother
Of all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it storms, or sleets, or snows;
The noise of the wind's her screamin',
'I'm after a plump, young, fine,
Brass-buttoned, beefy-ribbed young seam'n
So as me 'n' my mate kin dine.'

She's a hungry old rip 'n' a cruel
For sailor-men like we,
She's give a many mariners the gruel
'N' a long sleep under sea;
She's the blood o' many a crew upon her
'N' the bones of many a wreck,
'N' she's barnacles a-growin' on her
'N' shark's teeth round her neck.

I ain't never had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But I knows 't ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly two;
You're young, you thinks, 'n' you're lairy,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
'N' that there Davy Jones.

John Masefield, 1911 (Salt-Water Poems And Ballads, pp.46-47, The MacMillan Company, New York, ©1913.)


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