The Ballad of Grace Darling

’Twas at the Longstone Lighthouse,
There dwelt an English maid,
Pure as the air around her,
Of danger ne’er afraid,
One morning just at daybreak,
A storm-tossed crew she spied,
And though to try seemed madness,
“I’ll save the crew,” she cried.

Chorus
And she pulled away o’er the rolling sea,
Over the waters blue.
“Help, help!” she could hear the hopeless cry
Of the men of the shipwrecked crew.
But Grace had a fearless English heart,
As the raging storm she braved.
And she pulled away o’er the dashing spray,
And the stranded crew she saved.

They to the rocks were clinging,
A crew of nine all told,
Between them and the lighthouse,
The seas like mountains rolled.
Cried Grace, “Come help me, father,                           To launch the boat,” said she.
“’Tis madness,” cried her father,
“To face that raging sea.”

(Chorus)

One murmured prayer, “Heav’n, guard us!”
And then they were afloat,
Between them and destruction,
The planks of that frail boat.
Up spoke the maiden’s father:
“Return, or doomed are we!”
But up spoke brave Grace Darling:                           “Alone I’ll brave the sea!”

(Chorus)

They bravely rode the billows,
And reached the rock at length.
And saved those storm-tossed sailors,
In heaven alone their strength.
Go tell the wide world over
What British pluck can do,
And sing of brave Grace Darling
Who nobly saved that crew.

(Chorus)

 

A Lighthouse Heroine

Off the Northumberland coast of England in 1841, a paddlesteamer ran aground on the Farne Islands. The daughter of the lighthouse keeper at the Longstone Lighthouse, Grace Darling, insisted that she and her father row a boat out to rescue nine of the crew members, despite raging seas. She quickly became a folk heroine, and the anonymous ballad shown at left appeared soon after the event. In For Those in Peril, composer Francis Lynch has set these words to a new melody and crafted a duet that becomes another incident in the history of the bad blood between Howell and Griffith.


 

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