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Lyr Add: Rathlin Head (C. Fox Smith)

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WHERE THERE'S REST FOR HORSE AND MAN or HOME LADS HOME


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Charley Noble 01 Jul 11 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Ballyholme 01 Jul 11 - 01:17 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jul 11 - 02:00 PM
Charley Noble 06 Aug 11 - 08:12 PM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 11 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Aug 11 - 01:36 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: RATHLIN HEAD (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 11 - 01:03 PM

"Rathlin Head" is another beautiful poem by Cicely Fox Smith that a friend of mine, Mike Kennedy, has set to music, and which I have begun working up as well.

However, none of us are sure how best to pronounce "Rathlin." Is the "h" silent or not? Best to know before we make idiots of ourselves, for that particular reason!

Here's the original poem with some notes:

Rathlin Head

We left the murk of Merseyside, we left the flaring town;
All smouldering red by Spanish Head the stormy sun went down;
We saw the lamp blink out and in the Mull o' Galloway,
And at dead of night to Rathlin Light a long good-bye did say –

On a bitter cold night in the morning watch,
A little before the day!

Black deep of night without a star both sky and sea did fill;
So cautious crept we through the dark our engines near stood still;
All salt like tears on rope and rail the sea mist clinging grey . . .
And Rathlin Island close to port, Kintyre to starboard lay –

On a bitter cold night in the morning watch,
A little before the day!

We heard across the blind black tide the lighthouse boom forlorn,
All night we heard a Glasgow barque blowing the old cow's horn;
And groping slow we passed her by a bare ship's length away –
"A near thing with the barque," was all I heard the Old Man say –

On a bitter cold night in the morning watch,
A little before the day!

All houseless stretch the unfenced fields that cold and green do roll
Where winds do herd the berg and floe which calve about the Pole;
Oh, peace be on the small green fields of a land that's far away,
And on the little farms therein where folks a-sleeping lay –

On a bitter cold night in the morning watch,
A little before the day!

And oh, good-bye the narrow seas and forelands loud wi' foam!
There's many a turning in the road that brings the sailor home;
Full speed once more our engines throbbed as faint the east grew grey,
I turned my face to Rathlin Head, a long good-bye to say –

On a bitter cold night in the morning watch,
A little before the day!

Notes:

From Songs and Chanties: 1914-1916, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1919, pp. 95-97. This poem may be mirroring Cicely's thoughts as she left Liverpool aboard a steamer in 1911 bound for Montreal, Canada. It makes a nice "bookend" with "Long Road Home."

"Rathlin Light" is located on Altacarry Head, Rathlin Island, North Channel, Northern Ireland. "Kintyre" is a peninsula in western Scotland, 16 miles across the channel.

I'll post the various singing versions with chords and MP3 samples when they stabilize.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Rathlin Head (C. Fox Smith)
From: GUEST,Ballyholme
Date: 01 Jul 11 - 01:17 PM

Sound the "th", Charley - as in Rath-lin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Rathlin Head (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 11 - 02:00 PM

Ballyholme-

Thanks so much! "Rath-lin" it is.

Evidently there are three lighthouses on Rathlin Island. Which one is the correct one to avoid shipwreck?

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Rathlin Head (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Aug 11 - 08:12 PM

There's been some progress on this poem. My friend Mike Kennedy set it to music about a year or so ago and I've been doing some reworking of the lyrics. Here's the way I sing it now (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords: Click here for MP3!

Adapted for singing by Mike Kennedy, © 2010
Wording changes by Charles Ipcar 7/1/2011

Rathlin Head-3


Am-C------------------G-------C---------------------------F
We left the murk of Mersey-side, we left the flaring town;
-----C------------------G-Am-----------------F---------------------G
All smouldering red by Spanish Head the storm-y sun went down;
-----Am-----F-------------Am--------C----------------F
We saw the lamp gleam out, in the Mull o' Gallo-way,
--------C--------------G-------Am-----------------F-------------------------G
At the edge of night toward Rathlin Light, we steamed out from the Bay –

-----F------------------G--------Am
Be-fore the light of morning.


Black deep of night without a star, both sky and sea did fill;
So cautious crept we through the dark, our engines near stood still;
All salt like tears on rope and rail, the sea mist clinging grey –
With Rathlin Island close to port, Kintyre to starboard lay – (CHO)

We heard across the blind black tide the lighthouse boom forlorn;
All night we heard a Glasgow barque, blowing the old cow's horn,
And groping slow we passed her by, a bare ship's length away –
"A near thing with that barque, me lad," I heard the Old Man say – (CHO)

And so, good-bye the narrow seas and the forelands roaring foam!
There's many the turning in the road that brings the sailor home;
Full speed once more our engines throbbed, as faint the east grew grey;
And I turned my face to Rathlin Head, and a long good-bye did say –

---F------------------------G---------Am
In the cold grey light of morning.

Notes:

From Songs and Chanties: 1914-1916, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Elkin Mathews, London, UK, © 1919, pp. 95-97.

"Rathlin Light" is located on Rathlin Island, North Channel, Northern Ireland, while "Kintyre" is a peninsula in western Scotland. Rathlin Island is an L-shaped island with the "L" opening to the southwest. The Island therefore has headlands at the southeast point, the northwest point, and where the two legs of the "L" meet to the northeast; there is a lighthouse at each location. A lighthouse is mentioned in the song three times as the ship travels from the Irish Sea through the North Channel and then out into the North Atlantic, each a different lighthouse.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Rathlin Head (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 05:12 PM

Three times around spun this gallant thread...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Rathlin Head (C. Fox Smith)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 01:36 AM

Thanks for posting, Charley. That's a wonderful poem. So vivid!


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