“Call All Hands” [letter, 21 April 1900]

[Editor: This letter was published in The Daily Telegraph, 21 April 1900. The correspondent wrote regarding the song “Call All Hands”, by W. T. Goodge.]

“Call All Hands.”

The spirited verses, “Call All Hands,” by Mr. W. T. Goodge, of Orange, New South Wales, which first appeared in “The Daily Telegraph,” have gone the rounds of the press in the British Empire, and have elicited warm praise from many quarters. This week we have received a letter from the headmaster of a grammar school in England, who writes:—

“I shall be glad to know if the verses have been set to music, and, if so, where obtainable, and price? I think the lines are of a much higher order than those of the ‘A.M.B.,’ and very suitable for recitation. I have taught all my boys to say them. The chorus is, I think, especially fine. With one single exception, Mr. Goodge’s verses possess the great merit of being written in English pure and undefiled, the only language possible for any great English poetry. Personally, I use slang myself in conversation, but I do not like it stereotyped. I sincerely hope your Mr. Goodge will write a simple and patriotic song suitable for the English army. At present it possesses not one, as witness the phenomenal popularity of the Kipling poem, a mere concatenation of slang, but eagerly caught at because the only means possible of giving expression to our burning patriotism. The spirit of the song is excellent, but the form in which it is expressed unworthy. It is, without doubt, needless for me to add how we in the old country love and admire the spirit you colonials are showing.”

The verses were set to music by Mr. T. H. Massey, of Goulburn, and published by Paling, Ltd.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 21 April 1900, p. 5

Editor’s notes:
This letter was referenced by W. T. Goodge in his article “The sorrows of fame”.

A.M.B. = “The Absent-Minded Beggar” (1899), a poem by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), which was set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900)

concatenation = a chain or series of linked events, ideas, or things; the act of linking or connecting things together in a chain or series (“concatenate” means linked together; or, as a verb, to link things together in a chain or series)

Kipling = Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British poet and writer; he was born in Bombay (India) to British parents, with the family subsequently moving to England when he was five years old; he was particularly well-known for his children’s stories in The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book

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