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Henry Clay Work (1832-1884)

Grand-father's Clock


              1My grand-father's clock was too large for the shelf,
              2So it stood ninety years on the floor;
              3It was taller by half than the old man himself,
              4Though it weighed not a penny weight more.
              5It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
              6And was always his treasure and pride;
              7But it stopp'd short never to go again
              8When the old man died.

              9[Chorus] Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            10His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            11It stopp'd short never to go again
            12When the old man died.

            13[Solo] In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
            14Many hours had he spent while a boy;
            15And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know
            16And to share both his grief and his joy.
            17For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
            18With a blooming and beautiful bride;
            19But it stopp'd short never to go again
            20When the old man died.

            21[Chorus] Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            22His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            23It stopp'd short never to go again
            24When the old man died.

            25[Solo] My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
            26Not a servant so faithful he found;
            27For it wasted no time, and had but one desire --
            28At the close of each week to be wound.
            29And it kept in its place -- not a frown upon its face,
            30And its hands never hung by its side;
            31But it stopp'd short never to go again
            32When the old man died.

            33[Chorus] Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            34His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            35It stopp'd short never to go again
            36When the old man died.

            37[Solo] It rang an alarm in the dead of the night --
            38An alarm that for years had been dumb;
            39And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight --
            40That his hour of departure had come.
            41Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,
            42As we silently stood by his side;
            43But it stopp'd short never to go again
            44When the old man died.

            45[Chorus] Ninety years, without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            46His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick)
            47It stopp'd short never to go again
            48When the old man died.

Notes

1] Work dedicated this song to his sister Lizzie.


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: Grand-father's Clock. Song and Chorus. Words and Music by Henry C. Work (New York: C. M. Cady, 1876), in Songs of Henry Clay Work, compiled by Bertram G. Work (New York: J. J. Little and Ives, ca. 1884). Facsimile in Henry Clay Work, Songs, Earlier American Music 19 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1974): 177-80. Toronto Metro Public Reference Library. M780.82 E13 no. 19.
First publication date: 1876
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/3/14

Composition date: 1876
Rhyme: ababcded


Other poems by Henry Clay Work