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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Joe Offer Origins: Grace Darling (from Walter Pardon) (20) RE: Lyr Req: Grace Darling 21 Feb 19


There are three songs titled "Grace Darling" in the Traditional Ballda Index. Ours is #1.

Grace Darling (I) (The Longstone Lighthouse)

DESCRIPTION: "Twas on the Longstone lighthouse there dwelt an Irish maid," Grace Darling. At dawn she saw "a storm tossed crew ... to the rocks were clinging." With her father's reluctant help, she launched a boat, rowed out, and "boldly saved that crew."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1946 (Ranson); 19C (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 13(240))
KEYWORDS: drowning sea ship storm wreck sailor rescue
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Sep 7, 1838 - Grace Darling and her father rescue nine of the crew of Forfarshire (source: Ranson)
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Ranson, pp. 86-87, "The Longstone Lighthouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-Sea 100, "Grace Darling" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #1441
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 13(240), "Grace Darling" ("Twas at the Longstone lighthouse"), unknown, no date; also Harding B 11(4158), "Grace Darling"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Grace Darling (II)" (subject)
cf. "Grace Darling (III)" (subject)
NOTES [674 words]: Ranson: "Grace Darling was the daughter of the light-house keeper on one of the Farne Islands (a group of Islands, also called The Staples, seventeen in number) two miles off the N.E. coast of Northumberland.... The song has evidently been adapted for Irish audiences." - BS
According to Paine, p. 188, the Forfarshire was a steamer which carried cargo fro Hull and Dundee. Built in 1834, her last trip began on September 5, 1838, from Hull. She suffered boiler problems the next day, and the engines eventually went out completely in a storm. Her pumps also were struggling (Cordingly, p. 218.) Captain Humble nonetheless decided to continue with sails only rather than seek shelter -- even though her unpowered paddlewheels would make her far less maneuverable. She was wrecked on the Farnes shoals a little before 4:00 a.m. on September 7 (Paine, p. 188).
No one seems quite sure how many were aboard; Hudson/Nicolls, p. 90, suggests a crew of 25, with 40 passengers. They say the boat broke in two on the rocks, with the stern section (with the captain and almost all of the passengers but only part of the crew) was swept out to sea,with no survivors. Cordingly, p. 218, suggests that she carried 55 passengers and crew in addition to Captain Humble and his wife. He says on p. 219 that the twelve who were on the forward section included a women, two children, a handful of other passengers, and carpenter John Tulloch, who managed to bring the survivors to a rock. They had no food and no shelter, and were soaking wet and in danger of hypothermia. And they were about a mile from the lighthouse.
The Longstone Lighthouse was built in 1826 to replace an earlier lighthouse which had been ineffective in preventing wrecks. The Darling family had long kept the lighthouse; William Darling had succeeded his father as keeper of the old lighthouse in 1815, and then had moved to the Longstone light when it was finished (Cordingly, p. 216).
William and his wife Thomasina (who apparently was considerably older than her husband) had nine children, but only two -- Grace and one boy -- were still at home in 1838, and the boy happened to be away on the night of the storm. The Forfarshire wreck was not the only time WIlliam Darling went on a rescue mission; Cordingly, p. 217, tells how he and his sons had rescued a man from the Autumn in 1834. By 1838, however, most of the boys had moved out.
Grace Darling was apparently the first to see the wrecked Forfarshire. Because it took at least two to handle their lifeboat (a 21-foot-long coble, according to Cordingly, p. 219), William Darling had to have Grace to help him go out on his rescue mission. The gale was still blowing, and their boat was open, so this was genuinely dangerous (Cordingly, p. xii).
Three of the survivors -- a clergyman and the two children -- had died before the Darlings could reach them (Cordingly, p. 220). It took two trips, but the nine passengers still living were all brought back to Longstone (Cordingly, p. 221. Several of them helped with the rowing during the rescue).
Although William and Grace both took part in the rescue, it was Grace who became famous for her part (as Cordingly says on p. 215, "For a woman to row out to a shipwreck in a storm was unheard of, and the story received even more attention for the fact that the woman was twenty-two years old, had a pleasant face and modest manner, and had a name that might have come straight from the pages of a Victorian novel). A subscription brought her about 750 pounds in gifts, and she became a popular subject of poetry and at least four books. The lighthouse became the site of a perverse sort of pilgrimages; the myriad visitors made it hard for the Darlings even to tend the lighthouse (Cprdingly, p. 222).
According to Benet, p. 275, Grace Horsley Darling was born in 1815, making her 22 years old (and hence rather a spinster) at the time of the Forfarshire wreck. She died in 1842, still a heroine, of a cough she picked up not too long after the rescue (Cordingly, p. 223).- RBW
Bibliography
  • Benet: William Rose Benet, editor, The Reader's Encyclopdedia, first edition, 1948 (I use the four-volume Crowell edition but usually check it against the single volume fourth edition edited by Bruce Murphy and published 1996 by Harper-Collins. The entry on Grace Darling, however, was deleted from the fourth edition)
  • Cordingly: David Cordingly, Women Sailors and Sailors' Women, Random House, 2001 (I use the undated, but later, paperback edition)
  • Hudson/Nicholls: Kenneth Hudson & Ann Nicholls, Tragedy on the High Seas: A History of ShipwrecksA & W Publishers, 1979
  • Paine: Lincoln P. Paine, Ships of the World, Houghton Mifflin, 1997
Last updated in version 4.3
File: Ran086

Grace Darling (II)

DESCRIPTION: Grace tells her father to launch the lifeboat in the storm to rescue "the shipwreck'd wanderers from the grave." He answers "'twere worse than madness." At daybreak she calls on him again to launch the boat. They launch the boat and save the crew.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1861 (broadside, LOCSinging sb20150a)
KEYWORDS: drowning sea ship storm wreck sailor rescue
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Sep 7, 1838 - Grace Darling and her father rescue nine of the crew of _Forfarshire_. (source: Ranson, p. 87)
FOUND IN:
REFERENCES (1 citation):
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #798, p. 53, "Grace Darling" (2 references, which appears to be this song)
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Firth b.28(3a/b) View 8 of 8, "Parody. Grace Darling" ("Oh! dearest dad, the winds are blowing"), G. Ingram and Co. (London), no date
LOCSinging, sb20150a, "Grace Darling" ("Oh! father loved! the storm is raging"), H. De Marsan (New York), 1859-1860

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Grace Darling (I) (The Longstone Lighthouse)" (subject) and notes there
cf. "Grace Darling (III)" (subject)
NOTES [83 words]: The description is based on broadside LOCSinging sb20150a.
Broadside LOCSinging sb20150a: H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site.
While broadside Bodleian, Firth b.28(3a/b) View 8 of 8 is labelled "parody" it is not comical. Instead it seems a mild paraphrase. - BS
For background on Grace Horsley Darling, see the notes to "Grace Darling (I) (The Longstone Lighthouse)." - RBW
Last updated in version 3.5
File: BdGrDa02

Grace Darling (III)

DESCRIPTION: At night in a heavy sea the "Forfarshire" steamer strikes a rock on Longstone Island. "To pieces she flew." Grace Horsley Darling hears the cries and asks her father to go to the rescue. They launch a boat and save nine of sixty.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1858 (broadside, Bodleian Firth c.12(126))
KEYWORDS: rescue drowning sea ship wreck father
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Sep 7, 1838 - Grace Darling and her father rescue nine of the crew of Forfarshire (source: Ranson)
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #168, p. 1, "Grace Darling" (1 text)
GreigDuncan1 30, "Grace Darling Our Langoleen" (1 text)

Roud #3811
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Firth c.12(126), "Grace Darling" ("I pray give attention to what I will mention"), The Poet's Box (Glasgow), 1858; also Harding B 15(118a), Firth c.12(125), 2806 c.14(25), "Grace Darling"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Grace Darling (I) (The Longstone Lighthouse)" (subject) and references there
cf. "Grace Darling (II)" (subject)
NOTES [110 words]: "Langoleen" is not in the Greig/GreigDuncan1 text. It is not in the Greig #168 article. GreigDuncan1 neither explains it nor says the song title is "editorial." Finally, I don't know what the word means. - BS
Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English defines "langolee" (no terminal n) as a ninteenth century term for "the male member"; maybe this is the reason for the lack of a definition in most of the textbooks. If we assume "langoleen" is the feminine form, then perhaps it's "beloved." Or perhaps I'm speculating out of turn.
For background on Grace Horsley Darling, see the notes to "Grace Darling (I) (The Longstone Lighthouse)." - RBW
Last updated in version 2.4
File: GrD1030

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


And here are the Digital Tradition lyrics:

THE BALLAD OF GRACE DARLING
(Cal Bagby)

'Twas on the long stone 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 wreck she spied
And up spake brave Grace Darling
I'll save the crew she cried

cho: So she pulled away on the rolling sea
Over the waters blue "help, help" she could hear the cry
Of the shipwrecked crew
But Grace had an English heart and the raging storm she braved
She pulled away o'er the rolling sea
And the crew she saved

They to the rock were clinging
a crew of nine all told.
Between them and the lighthouse
the seas like mountains rose.
Said Grace "Come help me father,
We'll launch the boat," said she.
Her father cried "'Tis madness,
To face that raging sea"
Chorus But she.........

One murmured prayer 'heaven guard us'
And then they were afloat
Between them and destruction
The planks of that frail boat.
Then spoke the maiden's father
"Return or doomed are we"
But up spoke brave Grace Darling
"Alone I'll brave the sea"
Chorus So she......

They bravely rode the billows
And reached the rock at length
They saved the storm tossed sailors
In heaven alone their strength
Oh tell the wide world over
What English pluck can do
And sing of brave Grace Darling
Who nobly saved the crew
Chorus When she......


VERSE
G D
'Twas on the long stone lighthouse
G
There dwelt an English maid
D
Pure as the air around her of danger ne'er afraid
C G
One morning just at daybreak
C
A storm tossed wreck she spied
G
And up spake brave Grace Darling
A D
I'll save the crew she cried

CHORUS
G
So she pulled away on the rolling sea
D
Over the waters blue "help, help" she could hear the cry

Of the shipwrecked crew
G
But Grace had an English heart and the raging storm she braved
C G
She pulled away o'er the rolling sea
D G
And the crew she saved


(Recorded by The Limeliters on "Through Children's Eyes")

See also: GDARLING


@sea @storm @woman @English @sailor @wreck @rescue
filename[ GDARLIN1
MB
Oct00

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Note from Joe Offer: "Ranson" in the Traditional Ballad Index is Joseph Ranson, Songs of the Wexford Coast (1975) - can somebody post the version from Ranson???


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