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Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)

Charley Noble 01 Mar 10 - 03:50 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 10 - 05:48 AM
Charley Noble 02 Mar 10 - 07:46 AM
pattyClink 02 Mar 10 - 12:12 PM
Artful Codger 02 Mar 10 - 04:47 PM
Snuffy 03 Mar 10 - 08:53 AM
GUEST,pattyClink 03 Mar 10 - 10:00 AM
Charley Noble 03 Mar 10 - 11:45 AM
Artful Codger 03 Mar 10 - 04:47 PM
Charley Noble 04 Mar 10 - 08:45 AM
Artful Codger 04 Mar 10 - 02:58 PM
Charley Noble 04 Mar 10 - 04:19 PM
Artful Codger 04 Mar 10 - 05:11 PM
Charley Noble 05 Mar 10 - 09:12 AM
Charley Noble 06 Mar 10 - 08:44 AM
Charley Noble 03 May 10 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,Suzi Jack nee Robertson 13 May 10 - 02:20 AM
Artful Codger 13 May 10 - 03:00 AM
GUEST,Suzi 13 May 10 - 04:19 PM
Charley Noble 13 May 10 - 07:16 PM
GUEST 13 May 10 - 08:36 PM
GUEST,Suzi 14 May 10 - 12:13 AM
Charley Noble 14 May 10 - 08:18 AM
GUEST,Suzi ' The Last of Hector, my Pal' 15 May 10 - 08:45 PM
Artful Codger 15 May 10 - 09:45 PM
Charley Noble 15 May 10 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,Suzi 15 May 10 - 11:39 PM
Charley Noble 16 May 10 - 10:57 AM
Little Robyn 16 May 10 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Suzi 16 May 10 - 07:01 PM
Charley Noble 16 May 10 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,suzi 18 May 10 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,suzi 18 May 10 - 12:49 AM
Little Robyn 18 May 10 - 07:00 AM
Charley Noble 18 May 10 - 07:18 AM
Little Robyn 18 May 10 - 03:35 PM
Charley Noble 18 May 10 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Suzi 25 May 10 - 01:11 AM
Charley Noble 25 May 10 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,GUEST,Alastair 08 Aug 10 - 11:30 AM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 10 - 12:02 PM
Charley Noble 29 Apr 12 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,pattyClink 30 Apr 12 - 07:58 PM
Charley Noble 30 Apr 12 - 07:59 PM
Charley Noble 30 Apr 12 - 10:05 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD TEA-CLIPPER DAYS (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Mar 10 - 03:50 PM

Here's a nautical poem by an old sailor-poet from New Zealand that I haven't seen before:

By Angus Cameron Robertson (Master Mariner)
Born 1867 in Skye, Scotland.
Published 1927, Dunedin, New Zealand

The Old Tea-Clipper Days

I have sailed in old tea-clippers,
Full rigged clippers, lofty, trim;
Bounding o'er the laughing waters
With the wind abaft the beam,
And her lovely, snowy-white wings --
All a-pulling in the gale:
Now behold, she rolls to leeward,
Now she dips her weather rail.

I can see her slanting wet decks,
Green with slime amidships too:
I can hear old Bill, the bos'un
Cursing at our bully crew:
I can see each hairy visage
Laughing in the briny spray
Swinging on the topsail halliards,
Singing chanties wild and gay.

Oh! the rushing of the waters
As we haul and pull with glee,
Lashing, driving in our faces,
Filling seaboots to the knee,
With our soul and body lashings
Hauled full taut around the waist,
While the bos'un curse like thunder,
"Damn your eyes! Belay! Make Haste!"

We have split the hardy pantiles
With our sheath-knives thro' and thro;
And took out the crawling maggots
Ere we hashed them for the crew,
We have felt the pangs of hunger
As we made some cracker hash -
"Dandy-fank" and "spotted harry,"
Mixed with sugar brown, a dash.

We have tacked and ran before it,
In the roaring forties - well -
We have wallow'd in the Tropics
Where the sun's as hot as Hell!
In a stark and stinking blizzard,
We have weathered old Cape Horn;
And we passed the "Flying Dutchman"
With his topsails rent and torn.

I'm now using the tune from Dick Swain's "Figurehead Carver's Song" about the Marco Polo but another tune may do even better.

Anyone else ever run across this old sailor-poet?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 05:48 AM

That's great Charley.

I might try this out using the last two lines of each verse as a refrain.

             GRex


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 07:46 AM

GRex-

I think it needs a whole lot of work, after reviewing it more carefully. Clearly the poem was composed by a master mariner and gets points for that. But lines such as these are just too cliche, as if they came from the parlor rather than the deck:

"Bounding o'er the laughing waters"

"I can see each hairy visage (substitute "face" for "visage"!)
Laughing in the briny spray"

The last four lines, however, almost redeem the poem:

"In a stark and stinking blizzard,
We have weathered old Cape Horn;
And we passed the "Flying Dutchman"
With his topsails rent and torn."

Feel free to do some folk-processing and I do agree that the last two lines may work well as a refrain.

I'm still trying to work up a tune to pull the whole thing together but no success so far. Lots of tune work but nothing really seems to nail it.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: pattyClink
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 12:12 PM

Thanks for posting this! in my house is a set of shelves made from teaboxes from an ancestor who sailed the tea clippers. What a great poem.

I can hear a likely tune in my head but I can't put a name to it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 02 Mar 10 - 04:47 PM

You may be interested in this downloadable pamphlet on Robertson's poems at The State Library of Victoria ( http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/auspoetry/inter/784096.shtml ).

This page (Poetry on New Zealand Bound: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nzbound/poems.htm ) gives several other poems by Robertson:
A Heavy Squall at Sea (which Charlie posted in the Old Sailor Poets thread)
The Old Sea Dog Days
Jack's Prayer
(and a few short poems)

The National Library of Australia has several books written by Robertson--but none online. Several were published in the 1910's (translation: now in the public domain in most nations).

A brief biographical note elsewhere stated that Robertson ran away to sea at the age of nine, spending twenty-five years as a sailor before settling in Dunedin, New Zealand.


Charlie: I think "visage" is preferable to "face"--dumbing down poems to make all sailors sound unlearned and unpoetic perpetuates a false and tedious stereotype. For tone and color, even "mug" would be an improvement over "face"; other salty alternatives are in no short supply.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 08:53 AM

The tune that sprang into my mind when reading it was the Liver Birds theme tune.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 10:00 AM

Great links, Art, thanks!   

I think there's a lot to be said for leaving the language alone. Although spoken speech is less formal than written, so we might feel awkward singing certain phrases, that's always a hazard when setting a poem to music. And some of these guys, at least the ones writing poems, were simply more well-read and eloquent than we might presume.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 11:45 AM

Hmm? Yesterday's post evidently didn't make it through.

The New Zealand Bound Website is where I harvested Robertson's poems. There's a lot of interesting information there, and poems from other people as well.

I don't agree with the opinion that words such as "visage" should not be changed from "parlor talk" to what sailors might have said "aboard ship." It's not a question of "dumbing down" the language. It's a question of how sailors spoke to one another aboard ship or in sailortown. Robertson was, indeed, a master mariner and I really like much of how he describes the world from the Great Age of Sail. And he was a well self-educated man.

However, everyone has do decide how they want to adapt a poem for singing. Some do not change a word. Others change some words. Others drop entire verses, or add chorus or refrains. Eventually the folk music community decides what version they prefer to hear. Good luck!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 03 Mar 10 - 04:47 PM

The poem was written by a real sailor of long experience, not by some music-hall poseur or hack. He wasn't infallible, but he knew what he was about, and certainly knew "aboard ship" lingo better than we do. I see "hairy visage" as an arch little wink, an ironic juxtaposition rather than a poetic indulgence. IMO, it comes down to (1) is one's judgment better than the author's? and (2) does a change make the poem into a better song (with better scansion, clarity, sonal quality or color)?

The folk community often hears only one version of a song, so they seldom have the freedom of choice you ascribe (particularly when arrangement copyrights come into play). While a performer may have a free hand in adapting old works, the "anything I do is right" attitude does a disservice to both the original authors and audiences. Hearing a deficient adaptation of a work colors people's perception of the original work itself, and of its author. And once one version becomes established, whatever its relative worth, any variations from that de facto "authorized version" tend to be viewed heretically, not according to their own worth--even if reverting to the original wording (which the audience has likely never encountered). But this line of thought is getting rather far afield. Ultimately, each adapter makes his own decisions for his own reasons, and others have no opportunity to offer feedback until the damage is done, so to speak. Another reason to be circumspect.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:45 AM

Artful Codger et al-

All good considerations. And it's certainly true in general that the person who first "adapts" a poem or "neglected song" has an advantage over all others who tinker with the song. But it's not an insurmountable position. Here's a case in point:

Royal Navy officer Hamish Maclaren composed a song titled "Yangste River Shanty" in his book SAILOR WITH BANJO back in 1929 but did not provide a tune.

I revised the lyrics, in my fashion, and set it to a traditional shanty tune.

Barry Finn took my lyrics and tune, by and large, but made it into a much more robust presentation that could actually be used as a capstan shanty. And his version of the song has gained much wider acceptance in the folk music community.

I think this is a good example of how "folk processing" leads to an improvement to the song, as a work of art, rather than an inevitable "dumbing down" process.

And when I sing "Yangtse River Shanty" now, it's much closer to what Barry sang than what I began with.

It is an open question what Maclaren would say, if he were alive, about what we have done to his song but I would like to think he'd be bemused at the thought that someone was still singing it.

What has been done with "The Outside Track" by the Australian poet Henry Lawson would be another case in point.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:58 PM

General pattern or isolated incidents? There are exceptions to every rule.

(I hasten to add that I'm not impugning your adaptations, only debating in a general way some of the points you raised. These things tend to get twisted out of context--witness the knee-jerk reactions in the current "bad grammar" thread, where some people leap to the conclusion that vernacular use is being assaulted, despite that no one has argued for sanitizing it!)

You at least do something that few other adapters do: you frequently post your revisions here, where people can offer feedback before things get too set. I'm curious: do you in fact receive much feedback? I confess I don't look at your revised versions, in case I decide to prepare my own adaptations--importing other people's copyrighted changes, even unwittingly, is a quick way to get sued. I'm currently wrestling with that with "The Preacher and the Bear", where I can't get Randy Spark's perfect ending out of my head. Even if I rewrite the buildup, it's nearly impossible to rephrase the punch line.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:19 PM

Artful Codger-

I do appreciate your tact.

My basic policy is to post both the original from which I work and my adaptation; I also do that on my website. I do want folks to know where I started and it's entirely possible that someone else might come up with something better; more credit to them.

And, no, I generally don't get a whole lot of feedback here but sometimes I'm able to harvest something useful.

When I'm modifying a recent song, I always contact the composer, assess their tolerance for rewording and, if they are flexible, request their permission to record their song and insist that they accept royalties. My bottom line is to be as generous with credit as I can, and I'm happy to report that everyone who has recorded "Yangtse River Shanty" has reciprocated as well.

Now back to finding a tune for "Old Tea-Clipper Days."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:11 PM

And I for one am grateful that you post the original versions, along with source information. But I'll stop there, before I begin a rant on misattributions and source corruptions which are not identified as such.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:12 AM

So hold onto your watch caps! I think I've found an appropriate tune (almost any tune can be made to work!) and I've done some major lyrics revision (copy and paste into Word/Times/12 to line up chords):

Poem by Angus Cameron Robertson (Master Mariner), 1927
Adapted by Charles Ipcar 3/5/10
Tune: after traditional "Johnny Todd"
Key: D (2/C)

The Old Tea-Clipper Days


C-----------------F-------C
I have sailed in old tea-clippers,
----------------------F---C---G
Sailed in ships so taut and trim;
C------------------F-------C
Bowlin' o'er the rolling ocean
--------------------G--------C
With the wind a-baft the beam;
F-------G7-----F------------C
As the rising gale grows stronger
--------------------F------C-----G
Filling out each snow-white sail:
C--------------------------F--------C
"Look sharp, lads, she rolls to leeward,
----------------------G--------C
Now she dips her weather rail."


I can see her decks a-slanting,
Green with slime amidships too;
I can hear old Bill the bos'un
Cursing out our bully crew;
I can see them hairy faces
Laughing in the briny spray,
Hauling on the tops'l halliards,
Howling chanties, wild and gay.

Oh, the rushing of the water,
As we ship a big beam sea,
Lashing spray into our faces,
Filling seaboots to the knee,
With our soul and body lashings
Tied full taut about the waist,
While the bos'un shouts like thunder,
"Damn your eyes! Belay! Make Haste!"

We have stabbed the mouldy hardtack
With our sheath-knives thro' and thro';
Flicking out the crawling weevils
'Fore we mashed them for the stew;
We have felt the pangs of hunger
Thinkin' back on cracker hash --
"Dandy-funk" and "Dog's body,"
"Some brown sugar? Why just a dash."

We have tacked and run before it,
Where the roaring forties dwell --
We have wallow'd in the Doldrums
Where the sun's as hot as Hell!
Or in a dark an' freezing blizzard,
We have weathered old Cape Horn;
And we've passed the "Flying Dutchman"
With her tops'ls rent and torn.


Notes:

"Dandy-funk" is a pudding made of crumbled hardtack, fat, and molasses served to sailors as a special treat.

"Dog's body" is a mixture of dried peas and eggs boiled in a bag (pease pudding) as one of the staple foods served to sailors.

The tune is AABA with the B lines melody reminiscent of "Scarlet Ribbons." Lord knows how these two tunes got together but it seems to work quite well.

No doubt I'll still do some additional tinkering as I actually learn to sing this song. But I think it's a promising start. Hmmm, was that a big beam sea rising to the lee?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 08:44 AM

Well, the forced rhyme between "trim" and "beam" in the first verse continued to annoy me but I may have a fix:

C-----------------F-------C
I have sailed in old tea-clippers,
-------------------F--C-----G
Bowlin' o'er the o-cean's gleam;
C--------------------F-------C
Sailed in ships so taut an' trim,
--------------------G--------C
With the wind a-baft the beam;
F--G7---------F------------C
As the risin' gale grows stronger
--------------F----C------------G
Filling out each snow-white sail,
C--------------------------F-------C
"Look sharp, lads, she rolls to leeward,
----------------------G--------C
Now she dips her weather rail."

The tune seems to be stable.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 10 - 01:38 PM

I finally got around to recording this one on my website. Give it a listen and tell me what you think: Click here for lyrics and MP3 Sample!

Here's the current set of lyrics (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

By Angus Cameron Robertson (Master Mariner), © 1927
Adapted by Charles Ipcar 3/5/10
Tune: after traditional Johnny Todd

The Old Tea-Clipper Days

C-----------------F-------C
I have sailed in old tea-clippers,
----------------F---C------G
Robin Hood an' Hal-lo-ween;
C--------------------F-------C
Sailed in ships so taut an' trim,
--------------------G--------C
With the wind a-baft the beam;
F--G7--------F------------C
As the risin' gale grows stronger,
--------------F----C------------G
Filling out each snow-white sail,
C--------------------------F-------C
"Look sharp, lads, she rolls to leeward,
----------------------G--------C
Now she dips her weather rail!"

Chorus:

F-------G7-------F-------C
I have sailed in old tea-clippers,
----------------F---C-----G
Robin Hood an' Hallo-ween;
C--------------------F--------C
Sailed in ships so taut an' trim,
---------------------G-------C
With the wind a-baft the beam.


I can see her decks a-heelin',
Green with slime amidships too;
I can hear ol' Bill the bos'un
Cursin' out our bully crew;
I can see them hairy faces,
Laughing in the briny spray,
Hauling on the tacks an' braces,
Roarin' chanties, wild an' gay. (CHO)

I recall the roarin' rumble,
As we shipped a big beam sea,
Splashin' spray into our faces,
Fillin' seaboots to the knee;
With our soul an' body lashings,
Tied full taut about the waist,
While the bos'un shouts like thunder,
"Damn your eyes! Belay! Make Haste!" (CHO)

I have stabbed the mouldy hardtack
With my sheath-knife thro' an' thro';
Flickin' out the crawlin' weevils,
Lest they end up in the stew;
We have felt the pangs of hunger,
How we loved that cracker hash --
"Dandy-funk" an' "Dog's body,"
"Some brown sugar? Why just a dash!" (CHO)

I have tacked an' run before it,
Where the Roarin' Forties dwell;
I have wallowed in the Doldrums
Where the sun's as hot as Hell!
Mind that dark an' freezin' blizzard,
As we weathered old Cape Horn,
And when we passed the "Flyin' Dutchman"
With her tops'ls rent an' torn. (CHO)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi Jack nee Robertson
Date: 13 May 10 - 02:20 AM

Angus Cameron Robertson was my great grandfather, I obviously never knew him - but think that it is fantastic that his works are provoking discussion !!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 13 May 10 - 03:00 AM

Suzi,
good to hear from you. If you have more of his poems, we'd love to see them. Especially those published before 1923 (and hence now in the public domain.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi
Date: 13 May 10 - 04:19 PM

I am currently trying to locate any books of his, (hence the google search that brought me to your chat )at the moment I only have one, Salt Sea Tang which was published in 1927. But, I shall continue to keep on searching. Regards,Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 May 10 - 07:16 PM

Suzi-

Wonderful to be in contact with you.

Is there a summary that you could pull together of your grandfather's life that could be posted to this thread? How are you related to Pauline Robertson?

This is what I harvested from the New Zealand website:

Angus Cameron Robertson

Dec. 2002. Pauline Robertson has kindly allowed poems written by her Great Grandfather to be posted on this web page. Thank you, Pauline.

This condensed biography was gleamed from the biography from the front of the book Echoes from Beyond the Wave by Angus Cameron Robertson, master mariner and author, printed in about 1910 in Dunedin, New Zealand. When they say the Bard they are referring to Angus Robertson.

The author of these few poems, and many others, was born in Broadford, Isle of Skye, in the County of Inverness, Scotland to Neil Robertson (of Straun) and Ann Cameron (the daughter of Angus Cameron, of the Lochiel clan) - were married in the Presbyterian Church, Broadford, Isle of Skye, by Rev. Dr. Donald MacKinnon, M.A., Strath. He (the Bard) is one of nine of a family. He ran away from Home, was only in the second standard, but even at that young age won a five pound prize for long distance swimming and in after years saved many a life from drowning. Some years afterwards he won nine prizes out of eleven athletic events on the Mydam in Calcutta, the same year his ship came to New Zealand on a New Years Day.

About that time he also trained at sea to wrestle and box, and became very dexterous in the use of the cutlass with either hand. He followed the sea for some seventeen years, ten of which were in sail and the other seven years in steamships. By grit and perseverance he worked himself up the position of chief officer in the first class sailing ships and steamships, as his papers, clearly testify. He holds first class certificates and testimonials for all his seafaring career. He landed in NZ as chief officer of a sailing ship in July 1899 with the previous understanding with his captain that he would be discharged in NZ.
On his arrival in Dunedin he went to see Captain Cameron, the late and highly respected Marine Superintendent of the Union Steam Ship Company, who was very pleased with his papers, and promised him the first vacancy should he wait for a while. But having waited in Dunedin for some three weeks without anything turning up, he went up to Otago Central with a number of young men to build gold dredges as a welcome change from such a long career at sea. Whilst here the South African war broke out, and he was among the first to volunteer to go to Africa with the first contingent, but, not being a horseman, could not get away. At the same time, he composed a poem to the New Zealanders who went to Africa, which appeared at that time in Mount Benger Mail and which, we believe was instrumental in sending a few more away. The poem in question begins as follows:
New Zealand Forever!

Ye sons of New Zealand, march onward to fame,
Aspiring to glory, victorious thy name,
'Neath banner of Freedom, wherever it be,
On veldt, rocky mountains, or flying at sea, etc etc.,

After this he left Roxburgh and went up to Alexandra, where he procured employment in building, dismantling, and shifting dredges up and down the River Molyneux. It was here he met Mrs. Robertson, who was at that time an officer in the Salvation Army. He has been for the last three or four years a citizen of Dunedin. His love for that beautiful city and its people is shown in his many fine poems about Dunedin. A verse from one we give hereunder:

Here in the fading twilight angels pose,
And softly fan their wings o'er fern and rose;
Dunedin flourish ever fair and bright,
Effulgent with the glow of heavenly light.

He is Hon. Bard to the Gaelic Society of New Zealand, and a honerable member of the Dunedin Pipe Band, he is also a member of the Burns Club, Dunedin and a worthy member of the Masonic Order. Another poem of his entitled "King Edward the VII Funeral March."
There is a modem craze for verse,
And some are better, some are worse,
But not all verses tell a tale.


Could you clarify when Robertson died for the record?

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 10 - 08:36 PM

Hello Charley

Pauline is a cousin of mine, who unfortunately I have never met - my father left the South Island of New Zealand to live in the North Island where he met my mother and they had 7 children. I am in the process of trying to get as many books as I can that my great - grandfather wrote, I guess trying to piece together a part of my history... I will get back to you if I come across any more information. regards Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi
Date: 14 May 10 - 12:13 AM

Also, I think that he passed away in 1945 aged 77.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 May 10 - 08:18 AM

Thanks, Suzi, for the additional information.

Your grandfather certainly led an interesting life.

I'd certainly be interested if you turn up more of his nautical poems.

I'm also sure that our sea music friends in Auckland, The Maritime Crew, would also be very interested in your grandfather's writings. Here's a link to their website: click here for website

Ceerly,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi ' The Last of Hector, my Pal'
Date: 15 May 10 - 08:45 PM

We scud away before the wind,
And leave the tropics far behind
With flowing sheet and pulling sail,
We dash along before the gale.
The hailstones sting me in the face
As up aloft I take my place
Along the weather topsail yard,
At weather earing with a pard.
We haul to windward with a song
And stretch the reef-band all along
And with a bull-wang turn belay,
Amid the howling storm and spray.
'Tis bitter cold, my hands are numb:
The frost would almost strike you dumb:
The sail is stiff and frozen hard,
As we secure it to the yard.
With reef-points frozen hard as Hell,
But what was that despairing yell?
The boy to leeward frozen cold
Had slipped away and lost his hold.
He lost his hold, and sore to tell,
Into the raging waters fell.
The night is dark, the storm is high,
And not a star in the sky.
We're running dead before it, too,
A pang of grief now strikes the crew;
For, in such case, we cannot save
Poor Hector from a watery grave.
He was my pal for many years,
And now I couldn't stay the tears
From running from my eyes so free,
But it was dark, and none could see.

Hello All,

I hope you all like this poem ...

Regards,
Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 15 May 10 - 09:45 PM

Yes, thanks, Suzi! Source publication? Date?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 10 - 10:36 PM

Suzi-

Very nice. I suspect there are more where that one came from. I've failed to find any of your great-grandfather's work at the usual used book sellers websites. So anything you can provide us will be greatly appreciated.

I also can post such poems on another website that I help moderate called Oldpoetry.com, with your permission.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi
Date: 15 May 10 - 11:39 PM

Hello

The Last of Hector, my old pal - was published in 1927 in his book Salt Sea Tang - which is 300 odd pages long, compiled of poems and stories.

I have managed to purchase a couple of books from antique / used book sellers, and am currently reading through them.

I will ask about posting his poems on your other website Charley, as I feel even though I am more than happy with this it is best just to ask other family members what they are happy with.

Regards,
Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 May 10 - 10:57 AM

Suzi-

I just checked and I did begin a page for Angus C. Robertson a month or so ago at the Oldpoetry forum with some of the poems that I harvested from the New Zealand website: click here for website

I can delete this page and the associated information if there are concerns raised by family members. I can also make corrections to the biographical information and add additional information. What I would like to do, of course, is post more poems so that they are more publicly available.

Oh, and I would love to have a photo image of your great-grandfather. My e-mail address can be found on my own website, which you may find of interest: click here for website

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Little Robyn
Date: 16 May 10 - 05:32 PM

Hi Suzi,
We're in Hawke's Bay - where are you?
If you sign in as a member I can send you a personal message.
In 1969 the NZ Folklore Soc sent Phil Garland on a search for songs but I don't know if he ever discovered your Gr grs poems.
Presumably a copy of the books would be in the Hocken Library in Dunedin.
I was interested in the poem about the Penguin because my Grandfather (with his identical twin brother) was a steward on it. But the two of them (according to family legend) were so drunk they missed the boat on the night it was wrecked.
Welcome to Mudcat. It's a great place to be.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi
Date: 16 May 10 - 07:01 PM

Hello Robyn

I am on the kapiti coast, I don't know if any of his books are in the Dunedin Library, there only seems to be reference of them in the Victoria Library Australia. I have been trying to get some of his books, and have managed to locate two. This is how I came to Mudcat.

Yes, I think I had better sign in as a member, seeing I am on here alot now!

Regards to sunny hawkes bay
Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 May 10 - 07:46 PM

Suzi-

Some of our friends have had great success getting books from Tasmania to Sydney via inter-library loan. Maybe a similar procedure would work for you as well.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,suzi
Date: 18 May 10 - 12:46 AM

Thanks Charley,

I have looked and it appears the only library that has his works is Otago University, I am unsure if they would do an inter-library loan, but will look into it.

I did post something to you over the weekend but it looks as though it hasn't appeared.

I have had a look at your webpage of my great-grandfather and that looks great, as I said earlier I am happy that his work is out there for people to see. Just one note he actually ran away to sea at the age of 7 or 8. Which is rather scary seeing my youngest is now 7!!

He was a self taught man, knowing only Gaelic when he ran away. Working his way from scoop boy on a fishing boat to Captain.

I will look up some photos and try and send the best to you, the ones I have are copies of copies !

Regards
Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,suzi
Date: 18 May 10 - 12:49 AM

Hello Robyn

I did try and sign in and become a member but it kept coming up error - so not sure what I did wrong...

Great story about your grandfather, I am trying to piece together some of my history... I love the fact that my great grandfather ran away to sea - mind you in the same breath it terrifies me how young he was, but that was the way of the world back then. Besides, if he hadn't I wouldn't be here !!

Regards,
Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Little Robyn
Date: 18 May 10 - 07:00 AM

And if Dick and Jim Williams had stayed sober, I might not be here either.
Cheers,
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 May 10 - 07:18 AM

Suzi-

Sometimes posts "don't take" on Mudcat. I usually copy my long posts to the clipboard as a back-up and then check to see if the thread moved up to the top of the list after posting.

With regard to your great-grandfather's biography, there was some inconsistency with regard to when he ran away to sea and how long he had worked as a sailor, from the information I found on the NZ website. I'll be happy to correct the record.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Little Robyn
Date: 18 May 10 - 03:35 PM

If he left home as a little kid, semi-educated, speaking only gaelic, then worked his way up to be a Captain, he did remarkably well.
The poetry of the time was inclined to be very stilted, with lots of very arty imagery but he must have been very highly thought of if he was:
"Hon. Bard to the Gaelic Society of New Zealand, and an honorable member of the Dunedin Pipe Band, he is also a member of the Burns Club, Dunedin and a worthy member of the Masonic Order."

I wonder who taught him - some friendly sailor on a long journey maybe? As an ex-teacher, I find it very hard to believe that someone with english as a second language, can rise to that level of literacy. I know James Cook worked his way up to be a Captain from lowly beginnings but he spoke english to begin with.
Very interesting people, our ancestors!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 May 10 - 04:01 PM

Robyn-

I couldn't agree more that Robertson had an exceptional career, with none of the advantages of shipowner songs who were sent to sea as apprentices. What he achieved was entirely the product of merit, and maybe a little good luck.

He fits right in with other old sailor-poets such as Bill Adams, Harry Kemp, Burt Franklin Jenness, J. E. Patterson, and William McFee, all folks who spent long years at sea and later composed some riveting poems. These were folks who knew what they were talking about from direct experience.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,Suzi
Date: 25 May 10 - 01:11 AM

Hello again

I have just received another of Angus's books Echoes from 'Beyond the Wave', alot of this work is repeated in Salt Sea Tang, but one thing of note in his biography he says he was nine when he ran away, so a difference in age from what he said in Salt Sea Tang. So I do not think we can be at all accurate in this detail.

Regards,
Suzi


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 May 10 - 08:55 PM

Suzi-

Thanks for the update. You are probably assembling enough biographical information about your great-grandfather to provide a spirited debate among your various relatives, all of whom will be convinced that they have the story right!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,GUEST,Alastair
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 11:30 AM

Hello to everyone,

I found this thread from a Google search for Angus Cameron Robertson. He was one of my maternal great great uncles which makes Suzi and I third cousins! I am researching my family history and like Suzi feel it is exciting that long dead family members still stimulate interest in the 21st century. Finding out about people's lives and what they achieved is much more interesting than a bare family tree.
Most of his poetry I have found was from the NZ Bound site although in 1915 he did publish a poem dedicated to Lochiel and Lord Lovat which I came across on the Clan Cameron Archives websire.
If Suzi sees this I would be happy to try to make contact regarding family history (if she wishes).

Alastair Stewart (Scotland)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 12:02 PM

Alastair-

Welcome aboard!

It's really wonderful how a poem/song can bring folks together who are scattered all over the world.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Apr 12 - 09:33 PM

Here's a link to a new rendition of this poem as it will appear on my forthcoming CD titled Songs from an Old Sea Chest: click here for lyrics and MP3!

Enjoy!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 07:58 PM

Wonderful! I'm going to start learning it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 07:59 PM

Here's some enthusiasm from Rudy Sunde, recently retired from the Maritime Crew in New Zealand, for this song:

I like your "Old Tea Clipper Days" - it romps along nicely. As you will
know, I am no longer in The Maritime Crew - age has suddenly crept up on me
- but I will pass the song along to the Crew and hopefully they may take it
up. Not only are the words of interest but the tune is good and being a New
Zealand author it may inspire them to sing it.


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Old Tea-Clipper Days (A C Robertson)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Apr 12 - 10:05 PM

Patty-

Put it to work but try to keep it brisk.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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