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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



WORKS BY MARK GUY PEARSE



THE GENTLENESS OF JESUS. And Other Sermons.

HIS MOTHER'S PORTRAIT. And Other Stories.

A BIT OF SHAMROCK.

THE STORY OF A ROM.\N SOLDIER.

GOLD AND INCENSE. A West Country Story.

WHAT THE FLOWERS DID.

A SERVICE FOR THE SICK IN HOME AND
HOSPITAL.

THE BRAMBLE KING. And Other Old Testament
Parables.

THE GOD OF OUR PLEASURES.

IN THE BANQUETING HOUSE: A Series of Medita-
tions on the Lord's Supper.

MOSESr HIS LIFE AND ITS LESSONS.

ELIJAH : THE MAN OF GOD.

SHORT TALKS FOR THE TIMES.

NAAMAN THE SYRIAN. And Other Sermons.

THE CHRISTIANITY OF JESUS CHRIST— IS IT
OURS?

JESUS CHRIST AND THE PEOPLE.

PRAISE : MEDITATIONS IN 103RU PSALM.

THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY.

SOME ASPECTS OF THE BLESSED LIFE.

THOUGHTS ON HOLINESS.

DANIEL QUORM, AND HIS RELIGIOUS
NOTIONS.

SERMONS FOR CHILDREN.

MISTER HORN AND HIS FRIENDS; Or. GIVERS
AND GIVING.

SHORT STORIES, AND OTHER PAPERS.

"GOOD WILL": A Collection of Christmas Stories.

SIMON JASPER.

CORNISH STORIES.

HOMELY TALKS.

JOHN TREGENOWETH.

ROB RAT.

THE OLD MILLER.

THE MAN WHO SPOILED THE MUSIC. And
Other Stories.



WEST COUNTRY SONGS




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WEST COUNTRY SONGS



BY



MARK GUY PEARSE



LONDON

HORACE MARSHALL & SON

1902



?3?



V^



Mr and Mrs F. W. LAWRENCE
The Mascotte, Holmwood
Surrey



SVvuo



PREFACE

The characteristics of Cornwall and the Cornish are rapidly
passing away. More than a hundred years ago its language
died. Now its dialect is dying. It is useless to deplore it,
for it is inevitable. The Celt, in England at any rate, is
doomed to be absorbed by the Saxon. To us Cornishmen,
who love so passionately the county that is our own,
there comes a heartache as we think of the Cornwall of our
fathers lost.

Moved by such a feeling I have sought to recall the Cornwall
that I knew, and that I love with a love that grows with the
years. 1 have tried to recall something of its humour, for
the Western Celt carries ever a great laugh in his heart ;
something of its pathos, for its humour lies hard by the
fountain of tears ; its quaintness, something too of its



viii PREFACE

religion ; and, by no means least, its love, for that is the
music of their life.

I have not attempted to reproduce its dialect. Phonetic
spelling is to most of us an irritating puzzle. I have been
content rather to indicate than imitate it.

So in the hope that to Cornishmen the wide world over
this little book may revive sweet memories and treasured
associations of the dear old home, I venture to send forth
these songs of the West Country.



CONTENTS



Cornwall

A CoRNLSH Wedding Day

Vechan's Birthday .

The Grandmother

A Cradle Song

The Local Preacher

The Story of the Yello\v Hammer

A Portrait .....

A Song — *'0 Wind from out of the West"

A Song — "I met Love one day" .

A Song — " My Love is coming from over the

A Li'll Sum .....

A Day on the Ta.mar

Is Fishing Cruel? ....

The Miner in Foreign Parts — California

Australia
Klondyke

Father Earth ....

A Fisherman's Song — "I'm sittin' in my little

Jehosaphat Row .

A Gentleman — For a Time .

The '' Moses Dunn" ....
A Chrissymas Day ....



Sea'



boat



PAGE
I

4
9

i8

21

30

35
38

40

42
44
47
52
56
60

65
71
75
78
88

93
103



CONTENTS



The Lament .


.


113


The Star of Bethlehem


.


115


A Homely Counsel on Care


.


117


A Fisherman's Song— "What do


'ee say, my little




maid"


.


122


The Hopeless Dawn .


.


124


A Requiem


• • •


127


Yet Abideth Love


.


129


The New Year


• • •


131



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Frontispiece



A Hopeless Dawn ....
By Frank Bramley, A.R.A.

" No Cliffs like those that guard the Western
Shore" .....
By Mark Guy Pearse

" Sleep, my little one, sleep"
By F. Mabelle Pearse

"They was down 'pon Mevagissey Quay"
By J. Ley Pethybridge

A Day on the Tamar

By J. Ley Pethybridge

Is Fishing Cruel? ....
By S. A. Praeger

"She brought it into the light"
By N. Denholm Davis

" Within a garden, by her cottage door,
Sits an old mother knitting busily"
By F. Mabelle Pearse



Facing page 2
18

44

48

52

„ 62

118



CORNWALL

Thou hardy Mother of a hardy race,
Cornwall, thy hosts of sons are proud of thee ;
Scattered abroad in many a distant place,
Our deep, our stedfast love is true to thee.

We count no skies so fair as those at home ;
No cliffs like those that guard the Western shore ;
We see again the tossing billows foam,
We see the golden furze about the moor.



&■■



We know the valleys sloping to the sea ;
The wooded sides about the winding stream ;
The dripping mill-wheel with its greenery ;
Wet sands aglow with crimson sunset gleam.



CORNWALL

As doth the eagle, when her young can fly,
Break up the nest that they may know their power,
And learn to soar into the utmost sky,
And sweep defiant of the storm and shower,

So dost thou seek to make thy children brave :
The engine-house is silent on the hill ;
The rubbish-heaps are grass-grown as the grave ;
The kibble thrown aside, the chains are still ;

And now wherever hide the veins of ore,

There toil thy sons with brain and skilful hands ;

From Spain and Africa to Chili's shore

They give the world the wealth of far-off lands.

The lonely dweller 'mid the city's host,
Where no man greets his brother in the way,
Thrills with new life in vision of the coast
Where the wild billows break in showers of spray.




No cliffs like those that "uard the western shore.'



CORNWALL

Amid the hard and grasping ways of life
Comes a sweet breath as of some better clime,
A holy spell that calms the fevered strife,
In thought of those who fill that happier time.

Though scattered wide throughout the busy earth,
No matter where the Comishman may be,
We love and bless the country of our birth ;
Our Mother, One and All are proud of Thee.



A CORNISH WEDDING DAY

Aw, Vechan, here's your finery

And dresses all so gay ;
They're praising up the looks of 'ee,

So sweet as flowers in May ;
And your man, so brave and proud of 'ee,

Is comin' on his way ;
But your Mammy, poor old Mammy,

She don't know what to say,

I can mind 'ee all so little,

A-curled up at my breast ;
I can mind the first sweet smile of 'ee,

A-lyin' in your nest ;



A CORNISH WEDDING DAY

I can feel the little hand o' 'ee,
Against my neck at rest ;

And to have 'ee and to hold 'ee,
No heaven was so blest.



I can see 'ee comin' home long

Through the winter rain and sleet ;
I take 'ee 'pon my lap again

And warm your little feet ;
And the times when you was poorly —

I can feel your little head ;
You could sleep on Mammy's bosom

When you couldn't rest in bed.



In your little bits o' troubles
And your little bits o' fears,

When the blessed little eyes of 'ee
Was swimmin' with their tears,



A CORNISH WEDDING DAY

I can mind how Mammy's hand on 'ee
Would charm them all away,

An' the blessed little eyes o' 'ee
Was shinin' like the day.



My Vechan, little Vechan,

I've a-had 'ee all your days ;
I've a-watched 'ee goin' and comin',

I've got used to all your ways ;
I've thought of 'ee and tended 'ee,

And made 'ee all my care.
Aw, dear, it will be lonely

When my Vechan isn't there.



I can hear the bells a-ringing
For the joyful wedding-day —

There was never no such weddin
So the oldest folks do say.



A CORNISH WEDDING DAY

I could wish 'ee nothin' better
Than the man you walk beside,

And the round world couldn't find 'en
Not a sweeter maid for bride.



Forgive your silly Mammy —

O' course, I know 'tis true,
That thirty years ago and more

I went and did like you —
But your Mammy's heart is achin',

For you've left an empty place ;
And your Mammy's heart is breakin'

For the loss of your dear face.



I'm very glad you've got 'en.
And I know he loves 'ee well ;

And I'm sure the Lord will bless 'ee
With more than I can tell ;



8 A CORNISH WEDDING DAY

And there, I must not keep 'ee,
You must go along your way ;

But your Mammy, poor old Mammy,
She don't know what to say.

God send 'ee, my own Vechan,

A little one to be
Such comfort and such blessing

As you have been to me.
So brave and true as he is.

So honest and so wise ;
So beautiful as you are.

And with your own dear eyes.



VECHAN'S BIRTHDAY

Aw, Vechan, 'tis your birthday ;

I'm longin' for 'ee, dear ;
To think the place is full of 'ee,

And yet you are not here ;
To think how plain I see 'ee,

And hear 'ee all the day —
But when I go to speak to 'ee,

To find you are away !

It seems so short a time ago
I had 'ee at my breast ;

I sang my little songs to 'ee
And hushed 'ee off to rest ;



lo VECHAN'S BIRTHDAY

And then I set 'ee in your bed
And watched your eyes go home,

For there was bakin' to be done
And washin' up the cloam.*

But aw, my Vechan darling,

Your Mammy thinks to-day
If once she had 'ee in her arms

The world might go its way —
If once she had 'ee back again

She'd be afraid to stir,
Lest she should turn and look for 'ee

And find you wasn't there.

Aw, Vechan, Vechan, darling.
There's times come back to me.

When Mammy she was busy
And spoke out sharp to 'ee ;
* earthenware.



VECHAN'S BIRTHDAY u

I see again those tearful eyes,

I hear the quivering sigh,
And Hke a ghost it haunts my soul,

My little Vechan's cry !



Aw, could I but go back again

And have 'ee here with me,
What tenderness, my awn dear maid.

What love I'd bring to 'ee ;
What joy I'd count it if I could

By look, and words, and ways,
With song and sunshine fill your soul,

With sweetness fill your days.

My arms are tight about 'ee.
As I dream of 'ee by night ;

And when I wake without 'ee, chull,
I start up in a fright.



12 VECHAN'S BIRTHDAY

And scores of times, ray awn dear maid-

I can't tell how I hear —
I wake myself with calling 'ee,

" Aw, Vechan, Vechan, dear ! "



There's times that I remember —

How I wish they'd come again !
When I'd got 'ee wrapped against me,

All sheltered from the rain ;
The basket it was heavy

As I went along the road.
And your Mammy's arms was achin'.

For you was a tidy load.



I'd go that way all gladly,

And count that heaven was here,
If I could ache like that again,

With that sweet load, my dear ;



VECHAN'S BIRTHDAY 13

For though I'm bidin' quiet

Beside the cottage door,
Your Mammy's heart is achin',

The emptiness weighs more.

But 'tis a shame, my Vechan,

Your Mammy should be sad.
I think of him who loves 'ee well,

And then my heart is glad ;
And then my soul doth bless the Lord,

That when your Mammy's gone,
The love of his brave heart will hold

My Vechan for his awn.



THE GRANDMOTHER

Aw, Vechan, my awn, let me sit by your side.
With the baby asleep on my knee.

'Tis just like as if my awn little maid
Had come back once more to me ;

I don't feel a bit like a granny, my dear —
It is all as it used to be.

I can feel 'ee again so close to my side —
On earth there was nothing so blest ;

I can feel the sweet breath of my awn little maid,
As I fold 'ee again to my breast ;

And the gladness of tending 'ee all day and night

Was better to me than my rest.
14



THE GRANDMOTHER 15

Aw, Vechan, there's days that your Mammy can
mind

Of sorrow or gladness or pain ;
But of all the days of my life there is one

That stands in my mind the most plain :
'Tis the day of your comin', my awn little maid,

The day that has come back again.



'Twas October, you know, and the winds had been
wild,

The dead leaves were swept from the tree ;
But that day, my Vechan, the sky was all blue,

And the sun shone on land and sea ;
And the birds were a-singin' as if they all knew

The joy God had given to me.



Aw, Vechan, my Vechan, I tell 'ee that day
The greatest on earth it was I.



i6 THE GRANDMOTHER

'Twas strange to think that I held in my arms,
What the gold of the world could not buy ;

And for joy of havin' my awn little maid
My heart was a laugh and a cry.



I used for to think that the angels of God
Came crowdin' from heaven to see

That sweet little face as you lay in my arms,
Or was lyin' asleep on my knee ;

And I thought that there never was one of them all,
But would like to change places with me.



I mind how I slept though the winter winds howled,
And the thunder crashed in the sky ;

'Twas nothing to me, all the roll of the streets
When the waggons went rumblin' by —

But, Vechan, your Mammy was up with a start
At the first little sound of a cry.



THE GRANDMOTHER 17

Do 'ee look at the dear little face of her now—
'Tis the image of how you once lay ;

And, Vechan, she've got your very awn eyes,
And just your awn pretty way.

Aw, Vechan, my Vechan, the good Lord be praised
That I've lived for to see this day.



A CRADLE SONG

Sleep, my little one, sleep.

A cradle of pure gold I have made,

Of Ophir gold.
Shaped as was shaped the ark of old

Where Moses was laid :
Set with pearls and rubies aflame,
And precious stones of every name.
It is fashioned out of my heart's true love.
The yearning and burning and learning of love

Sleep, my little one, sleep.

Sleep, my little one, sleep.

I have fitted with softest down thy bed :



i8




"Sleep, my little one, sleep.



A CRADLE SONG 19

An angel's wing
Yielded for thee this offering,

For thy dear head.
Lay thee down, — may thy dreams be sweet.
God Himself guard thee from head to feet.
Thy bed is within thy mother's breast.
At rest and all blest in thy mother's breast.

Sleep, my little one, sleep.



Sleep, my little one, sleep.

I have woven a dainty gown for thee.

Dainty and white.
It is made of the morning's light

And is fair to see :
In every thread is wrought a charm
To hold thee safe from evil and harm.
It is fashioned out of my evening prayer.
My care that goes forth in an eager prayer.

Sleep, my little one, sleep.



20 A CRADLE SONG

Sleep, my little one, sleep.

I wrap thee round in a coverlet.

Finest of silk,
Red as the rose and white as the milk ;

And on it is set,
The story tapestried all fair,
Of angels descending the golden stair.
It is fashioned out of my heart's true love,
The bliss and the kiss of my true love.

Sleep, my little one, sleep.



THE LOCAL PREACHER

Of course the Squire was Church — strict Church-
There was nothing else for he ;

The Church was the only place, you know,
For to worship properly,

At any rate, for gentle folks
And people with property.

The Miller Penrose went forth to preach —

A Brianite " Local " was he.
" I can just go forth to tell the folks

Of the love of God to me ;
It can't do nobody not no harm,

And may do some good," said he.



22 THE LOCAL PREACHER

The Sexton came up, and the Squire told :
" Aw, your honour, I've heerd 'em say,

That Miller Penrose goeth forth to preach
'Most every Sabbath Day.

And seemin' to me 'tis a terrible thing
For he to go on that way.

" 'Tis bad enough to stay home from church,
But 'tis dreadful, seemin' to me.

For a man like that to preach to folks —
A ignorant owl like he,

As never had no lamin' at all ;

— Such things ought not for to be."

" Indeed," says the Squire, a-lookin' black,
" The Miller a preacher is he ! "

" Iss fy, your honour, 'tis true enough.
And I hope your honour will see,

And put a stop to such ghastly ways ;
'Tis terrible, seemin' to me."



THE LOCAL PREACHER 23

But now you must not go for to think

The Squire was that ill-bred
That he wanted the world to hold its tongue

'Till it 'greed with what he said,
And counted the narrow way was just

To follow where he led.

A gentleman born his honour was ;

You might search the country round,
And a kinder-hearted man for sure,

There wasn't above the ground !
A fairer and squarer than Squire Tolcarne

There was not to be found.

But the words of the Sexton haunted en :

" Penrose a preacher " ! says he,
And it seemed to the Squire a serious thing

That an ignorant man like he
Should set hisself up for to tell the folks

What the way to heaven might be.



24 THE LOCAL PREACHER

It wasn't long before Miller Penrose

Come up to the Squire's place ;
He'd finished the talk he'd come about

When he seed by Squire's face
That something he'd done — he didn't know what-

Had brought a bit o' disgrace.

Then the Squire he shut the office door ;

"Penrose," the Squire began,
" I'm amazed to hear that the Brianites

Have put your name on the plan.
Now really, you know, you must admit

You're a terribly ignorant man."

" Aw, terrible, iss, your honour, that's true,
If I don't knaw nawthen beside,

I do knaw I don't knaw nawthen, sir —
I wish it could be denied.

I can't make out them lamed books
Though fine and often I've tried."



THE LOCAL PREACHER 25

" Well, well, now Miller, if that is so,

I really am bound to say,
It's an awful thing for you to try

To teach other folks the way.
Think what a solemn thing it would be

If you led a soul astray."

*' Well, Squire, forgive me, I've thought of that,

And there never passes a day
But with all my soul and strength I lift

My heart to God and pray
That He will give me His heavenly grace

For to teach me what to say."

It chanced that the map of the Squire's estate

Lay there on the table spread ;
The fields and woods all painted green.

The houses a staring red ;
And there was marked each road and path.

And the places where they led.



26 THE LOCAL PREACHER

Then a bit of a twinkle shone in his eye

As the Miller turned around,
"That the map of your estate, is it, sir?

You knaw it well, I'll be bound ;
Of course, you're using it constantly,

And got to go over the ground."

" Of course, of course, I know it by heart,"
Says the Squire. The Miller says he,

" You do knaw each road and waterway.
And where each path may be ? "

" Of course, of course," the Squire replied,
" I know it all perfectly."

" Now, excuse me. Squire, I knaw you're one

To give a man fair play.
Can you mind when you was down to the mill-

'Twas only the other day —
You asked little Mary to come with you

And show your honour the way ? "



THE LOCAL PREACHER 27

" Oh, yes," said the Squire, " she showed me the path

That turns in there by the gate ;
I was very much obHged to her,

It led to the highway straight ;
And but for the service she rendered me

I should have gone home late."

" Well, now, your honour, 'tis like this here —

Or so it seems to me —
Little Mary would hardly knaw the name

Of what a map might be ;
And certainly would not knaw 'pon the map

The place where she lives, you see.

" My Mary isn't a scholar, I'm 'fraid,

But excuse me if I say
That she was able to show you, sir.

The place where the footpath lay,
'Cause your honour knew it on the map.

But she walks in it every day.



28 THE LOCAL PREACHER

" So, your honour, if I don't knaw the map

So well as some folks may,
I do thank God I knaw one thing —

That He has shown me the way ;
And I trust by His grace I've found out how

To walk in it every day."

So the days went by. The Squire he watched
And saw that the Miller was true,

And he heard of many a kindly deed
That the Miller used to do ;

And how, when a bit of trouble came.
He would help a neighbour through.

And it chanced one day the Squire fell ill,

The Doctor sat by his bed :
" Now, Doctor, tell me just how it stands ;

Am I going to die ? " he said.
" I want you to tell me how it will go."

But the Doctor shook his head.



THE LOCAL PREACHER 29

" If I'm going to get well, I'm quite content

If the Vicar comes and goes ;
But I tell you what I want to have

When my life draws near to its close —
/ want my people to send and fetch

That good old Miller Penrose."



THE STORY OF THE YELLOW
HAMMER

'TwAS Uncle Jan, a queer old chap,
Who knew the ways of things ;

One half a witch, the people said,

Could charm your warts and stings.

Could tell 'ee all about the time

When maidens should be wed ;

And passles of the strangest things,
By planets overhead.

The sounds of beasts and insects' buzz

He seemed to understand ;

He whistled and the crowding birds

Would feed out of his hand.
so



THE STORY OF THE YELLOW HAMMER 31

He used to wander through the woods,

And all the night would lie,
And watch the stars and things he loved —

He wouldn't hurt a fly.

His eyes and all the touch of en,

They had a kind of spell ;
And all us children loved en dear.

He had such tales to tell.

It was one summer's evening

We sat beneath a tree,
And on the rail there perched a bird, —
" Aw, my dear life ! " says he,

" Can 'ee hear his song, my darlings ?
Six notes just all the same —
And then that long-drawn sorrow ;
— A gladdy is his name.



32 THE STORY OF THE YELLOW HAMMER

" Can 'ee see his golden feathers
That trick en out so gay ?
Can 'ee hear his note so plaintive ?
I knaw what he do say.

" Once 'pon a time, 'twas long ago,
He used to be a lark ;
Went soaring right up to the sun,
And sang from dawn to dark.

" But then there came a spirit ill ;

A wicked lie he told —
' You're such a poor old homely thing

You should be dressed in gold.'

" ' Sell me your song, my dear,' says he,

' And I will make 'ee gay ;
You sha'n't go out in suit o' brown.

But decked so bright as day.'



THE STORY OF THE YELLOW HAMMER

" This evil spirit offered en

Gold for his breast and wings ;

' This here is yours if you'll give me
The soul that soars and sings.

" ' All dressed up in a golden suit

They won't think you're the same ;

And since the folks won't know 'ee 't all,
I'll give 'ee a new name.'

"And so the bargain it was struck ;

He did as he was told ;
And thought hisself a gentleman

All decked out in his gold.

" But, my dear life, his heart is broke

For what he used to be.
When he went soaring to the sun

And sang so joyfully.



34 THE STORY OF THE YELLOW HAMMER



" And now he flies from hedge to hedge —

Hark to his plaintive cry !
In place of song and soaring 'tis

' What — a — poor — rich — thing — am — I ! ' "






What a poor rich thing am I.



A PORTRAIT

So he stood, a man among us :
He the fearless, he the friendly ;
He whose genius was in service ;
More than king because a brother ;
More than conqueror in his love.

'Twas away out on the Moorland
That we found his fittest image :
Rose a solid mass of granite,
All aglow with hues of sunset,
Robed as if in richest purple.
Crowned as if with purest gold ;



35



36 A PORTRAIT

Softened was it by the mosses,
Softened by the patch of lichen ;
High above it rang the lark's song ;
And around it flew the swallow ;
And about it clung the ivy ;
And within the cleft a flower bell
Found a home and nourishment ;
Deeper in its heart a wild bird
Had her brood all snugly sheltered,
Safely hidden in the nest.



So he stood : a man among us.
Solid, settled, made of granite.
Yet aglow with summer sunshine.
His the beauty and the sweetness
Of a gentleness unfailing ;
Trusty, tender ; deep within him
A great love whose joy was service.
Love that was a strength and refuge.



A PORTRAIT 37

Most a man because a brother ;
Most a saint because a servant ;
Most divine because all human ;
Full of sunshine and of song.



A SONG

O WIND from out of the West,
Thou art singing the song of the blest ;
At the break of the day
Thou wert coming her way,

Thou hast seen her, compassed her, heard her to-day,
O wind from out of the West.

O wind from out of the North,
Thou art wings to me sweeping me forth ;
Like the seas in the spray
Thou dost bear me away ;
Thou art wings that to her do bear me away,
O wind from out of the North.



A SONG 39

O wind from out of the East,
Though the gold of the sunshine has ceased,
Here is charm, here is spell,
Here are sweet things to tell,
Find her, and sing to her things that I tell,
O wind from out of the East.

O wind from out of the South,
Thou art very breath of her mouth ;
Her spirit thou bringest.
Her sweet note thou singest.
Thy tenderness hers, her spirit thou bringest,
O wind from out of the South.



A SONG

I MET Love one day,
A-going on his way,

A light in his eyes.
And his laugh it was gay ;

His locks were all trim,
His wings were all prim,
A glow on his cheek
And rounded each limb ;

A voice like a flute,
Attuned to his lute ;

He danced on his way.


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Online LibraryMark Guy PearseWest country songs → online text (page 1 of 3)