Three Fishers
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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This poem was written in 1858 by English author and clergyman Charles Kingsley (1819-1875). It was set to music by John Hullah.

John Hullah (1812-1884) was Professor of vocal music at both Kings' and Queens' College London. One of Hullah's claims to fame is that in 1836 he wrote an opera The Village Coquettes for which Charles Dickens wrote the lyrics. It was performed only 30 times before it closed.

Three fishers went sailing out into the west,
Iout into the west as the sun went down;
Each thought on the woman who lov'd him the best,
And the children stood watching them out of the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And there's little to earn, and many to keep,
Though the harbor bar be moaning.

Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tow'r
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the show'r,
And the night-rack came rolling up, ragged and brown.
But men must work, and women must weep,
Tho' storms be sudden and waters deep;
And the harbor bar be moaning.

Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
For those who will never come back to the town;
For men must work,and women must weep,
And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.

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From Songs of America and Homeland
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