Strike the Bell

Four established songs exist to this tune: Henry Clay Work wrote Ring The Bell Watchman to celebrate news of the end of the American Civil War in 1865 (Work was also responsible for Marching through Georgia and Grandfather’s Clock). The well known Australian song Click go the Shears is said to be a slightly later (1870s) parody of Ring The Bell Watchman, and Strike the Bell is thought to be roughly contemporary with Click go the Shears – though some think the sea song might be older than either. There is also a Welsh air "Twill Back y Clo" using the same tune – and numerous more recent parodies of the pumping shanty.

 

Strike the Bell
Parked on the poop deck and walking all about,
There is the second mate so steady and so stout.
Dunno what he’s thinkin' of he doesn't know himself,
But we wish that he would hurry up and strike, strike the bell.

Strike the bell second mate, let us go below,
Look out to windward you can see it’s going to blow.
Look at your glass you can see how it has fell,
And we wish that you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell.


Down on the main deck and workin' at the pumps,
There is the larboard watch a-longin' for their bunks.
Lookin’ out to windward they can see a mighty swell,
And they wish that you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell.

Aft at the wheel, poor Anderson stands,
Graspin' at the spokes with his cold mitten’d hands,
Looking at his compass but his course is clear as hell,
And he’s wishin’ you would hurry up and strike, strike the bell.

Forward at the foc'sl' head and keeping sharp lookout,
There is Johnny standin’ he’s a-ready for to shout.
"All lights burnin' bright sir and everything is well."
And I wish the bloody second mate would strike, strike the bell.

Out on the poop deck our gallant captain stands,
Lookin' out to windward with his glasses in his hands.
We know what he’s thinkin' of we know very well.
He's a-thinking more of shortenin' sail than striking the bell.