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Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

The Three Fishers


              1Three fishers went sailing away to the west,
              2    Away to the west as the sun went down;
              3Each thought on the woman who loved him the best,
              4    And the children stood watching them out of the town;
              5    For men must work, and women must weep,
              6    And there's little to earn, and many to keep,
              7       Though the harbour bar be moaning.

              8Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
              9    And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
            10They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
            11    And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
            12    But men must work, and women must weep,
            13    Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
            14       And the harbour bar be moaning.

            15Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
            16    In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
            17And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
            18    For those who will never come home to the town;
            19    For men must work, and women must weep,
            20    And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
            21       And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Charles Kingsley, Alton Locke (1849).
First publication date: 1851
RPO poem editor: J. D. Robins
RP edition: 2RP.2.486; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/9

Composition date: 25 June 1851
Rhyme: ababccd
Form note: (where d is the refrain)


Other poems by Charles Kingsley