Fisherman Jim lived on the hill
With his bonnie wife an’ his little boys;
‘T wuz “Blow, ye winds, as blow ye will –
Naught we reck of your cold and noise!”
For happy and warm were he an’ his,
And he dandled his kids upon his knee
To the song of the sea.
Fisherman Jim would sail all day,
But, when come night, upon the sands
His little kids ran from their play,
Callin’ to him an’ wavin’ their hands;
Though the wind was fresh and the sea was high,
He’d hear’em – you bet – above the roar
Of the waves on the shore!
Once Fisherman Jim sailed into the bay
As the sun went down in a cloudy sky,
And never a kid saw he at play,
And he listened in vain for the welcoming cry.
In his little house he learned it all,
And he clinched his hands and he bowed his head –
“The fever!” they said.
‘T wuz a pitiful time for Fisherman Jim,
With them darlin’s a-dyin’ afore his eyes,
A-stretchin’ their wee hands out to him
An’ a-breakin’ his heart with the old-time cries
He had heerd so often upon the sands;
For they thought they wuz helpin’ his boat ashore –
Till they spoke no more.
But Fisherman Jim lived on and on,
Castin’ his nets an’ sailin’ the sea;
As a man will live when his heart is gone,
Fisherman Jim lived hopelessly,
Till once in those years they come an’ said:
“Old Fisherman Jim is powerful sick –
Go to him, quick!”
Then Fisherman Jim says he to me:
“It’s a long, long cruise-you understand –
But over beyont the ragin’ sea
I kin see my boys on the shinin’ sand
Waitin’ to help this ol’ hulk ashore,
Just as they used to – ah, mate, you know! –
In the long ago.”
No, sir! he wuzn’t afeard to die;
For all night long he seemed to see
His little boys of the days gone by,
An’ to hear sweet voices forgot by me!
An’ just as the mornin’ sun come up –
“They’re holdin’ me by the hands!” he cried,
An’ so he died.