Call All Hands [song by W. T. Goodge, 30 December 1899]

[Editor: This song by W. T. Goodge was published in The Orange Leader, 30 December 1899. It was previously published in The Daily Telegraph on 28 December 1899, but with several lines omitted (the The Orange Leader printed the full version). This song was written at the time of the Boer War (South Africa, 1899-1902).]

Call All Hands!

(From the Daily Telegraph.)

There’s a whisper that was borne upon the breeze—
Which the same is just a fancy kind o’ fable—
As a fact the message went across the seas
By that unpoetic agency, the cable.
All the same it sent a sympathetic thrill
Through the Anglo-Saxon folk in other lands:—
“If you’re in for stormy weather,
Kindly count us all together,
And be good enough to call all hands!”
We hear the bugle calling on the British Grenadiers,
We hearken to the marching of the Irish Fusiliers;
The piping of the Highlanders is ringing in our ears,
So be kind enough to call: “All hands!”

Call all hands! And we’ll show the doubting stranger
Albion can range her
Sons in time o’ danger!
Mistress of her destiny there’s nobody can change her;
Pass the word to call: “All hands!”

We can hold our own at any kind of sport,
As we showed with William Beach and Edward Trickett,
We are rivals of enthusiastic sort,
And we gloried in defeating you at cricket.
But we’re British to the marrow all the time
As we’ll show you when the circumstance demands;
And we’ll do the best we’re able
If you’ll kindly send a cable
That the word is passed to call all hands!

We’re going to find a place among the nations of the earth,
We’ll found a new Britannia or we’ll try for all we’re worth.
But we don’t forget the country where the Empire had its birth,
And we’re ready when you call: “All hands!”

And they talk of your “decadence,” if you please!
And the beggars never seem to have a notion
That the Britain who is mistress of the seas
Has a group of growing Britains o’er the ocean!
We prefer a reign of quietness and peace,
But if trouble comes we’ll show them how it stands—
That ten thousand miles of water
Makes the British all the tauter
When they pass the word to call: “All hands!”
We’re English as the English though the waters lie between,
We’re Irish as the Irish who are soldiers of the Queen,
We’re Scotch as any Scotchman in the town of Aberdeen,
And we’re Britons when you call: “All hands!”


[The lines in italics were omitted in the The Daily Telegraph. — W.T.G.]

The Orange Leader and Millthorpe Messenger (Orange, NSW), 30 December 1899, p. 6

Previously published (with some lines omitted) in:
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 28 December 1899, p. 7

Editor’s notes:
This song was set to music by Mr. T. H. Massey, and published under the name of “Pipe All Hands”.

The words of the song were published in dozens of Australian newspapers, mostly under the original title of “Call All Hands”, although some papers printed it under the title of “Pipe All Hands”, e.g.:
The National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW), 24 January 1900, p. 2
Truth (Sydney, NSW), 4 February 1900, p. 5

A slightly different version of this song was published during the First World War, as a single-sheet recitation, entitled “The Voice of the “Anzacs”: “All Hands””, as recited by the comedian Ed. E. Ford. It did not include the chorus or the section about sport (in italics, above), and there were some minor differences in several other lines, as follows:
We mean to take a place among the nations of the earth;
But we don’t forget the country where our Empire had its birth,
They talk of your decadence, if you please,
But the beggars never seem to have a notion
But now trouble’s come we’ll show them how it stands
When you pass the word and call all hands.
We’re as English as the English, though the water lies between;
We’re as Irish as the Irish, who are soldiers of the King;
We’re as Scotch as any Scotchman in the town of Aberdeen,
And we’re Britons now you’ve called all hands.

cable = electrical telegraph cable, which was used to send telegrams, being the fastest means of communication in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century (cable communications were greatly assisted by the development of Morse code in the 1830s and 1840s)

Edward Trickett = an Australian champion sculler (rower); he was born in Greenwich (Sydney, NSW) in 1851, and died in Uralla (NSW) in 1916

found = establish, originate, set up; lay the foundations of a new creation (e.g. to found a business, country, dynasty, institution); to bring something into existence

o’ = abbreviation of the word “of”

o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)

taut = something noted for its efficiency, good order, or conciseness; neat, tidy, trim; firm, strong (may also refer to something which has been pulled tight, or tightly drawn, such as a string, cord, or rope; something tense or strained)

William Beach = an Australian champion sculler (rower); he was born in Chertsey (Surrey, England) in 1850, migrated to Australia with his family as a small child, and died in Dapto (Wollongong, NSW) in 1935

[Editor: Replaced the single quotation mark after “enough to call all hands” with a double quotation mark.]

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