Notes

Original poem
by C. Fox Smith

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Sailor's Farewell

Poem by Cicely Fox Smith, 1914,
from SHIPS AND FOLKS,
edited by Cicely Fox Smith, pub. by Elkin Mathews,
London, 1920, p. 68

Adapted by Charles Ipcar 1/27/06

Tune: after traditional "The Star of Logy Bay"

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How lovely is the white town, smiling as it lies,
With its green growing gardens, beneath the bright blue skies,
Days so full of sunshine, nights so full of glee,
Oh, a fair place, a rare place, for sailors in from sea.

A pleasant port to come to for sailors long from land,
A bright place, a light place, with mirth on every hand,
That white smiling city by the blue Pacific shore
Oh, a fair place, a rare place, I'll never see no more.

I mind the broad white plaza, senoritas come and go,
And a drowsy tune a-sounding, in the breezes that blow;
Church-bells all the morning, fiddles all the night
Oh, a fair place, a rare place, a sailorman's delight!

But it's heave and break her out now, for the best tune of them all
Is the rattle of the windlass, the clicking of the pawl,
And the steady wind a-blowing, yes, blowing off the shore,
From that fair place, that rare place I'll never see no more.

For cruel is the white town, for all it looks so fair;
There's a cloud upon the mountain, there's anger and despair;
There's a cloud upon the mountain, there's sorrow on the shore,
In that fair place, that rare place, I'll never see no more.

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SAILOR'S FAREWELL

Poem by C. Fox Smith, 1920, from SHIPS AND FOLKS,
edited by Cicely Fox Smith, pub. by Elkin Mathews, London, 1920, p. 68

Lovely is the white town, and smiling it lies
With little green gardens underneath the blue skies,
Days so full of sunshine, nights so full of glee,
Oh, a fair place, a rare place, for sailors in from sea.

A pleasant place to come to for ships long from land,
A bright place, a light place, with mirth on every hand,
Is the white smiling city by the blue Pacific shore
And I wish in my heart I may never see it more.

There's a wide white plaza where folks pass to and fro,
And a drowsy tune sounding on all the winds that blow,
Church-bells all the morning, fiddles all the night
Oh, a neat place, a sweet place, for sailormen's delight!

But it's heave and break her out and the best tune of all
Is the rattle of the windlass, the clicking of the pawl,
And the steady wind a-blowing, yes, blowing off the shore,
From the white smiling city that I would see no more.

For cruel is the white town for all it looks so fair,
There's a cloud upon the sunshine and there's sorrow everywhere,
And blue as Mary Mother's robe the sea is and the sky
But a bitter hate I'll bear it until the day I die!

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Notes:

The full story behind this poem may be a short story that CFS wrote called "Oranges" published in TALES OF THE CLIPPER SHIPS, Cicely Fox Smith, published by Houghton Mifflin Co., NY, 1926, pp. 91-106; the story describes how a young sailor ashore in a Spanish port is invited by a lovely young women to join a picnic in the hills, and how later that evening she is brutally murdered by her jealous lover.

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