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Music by Philip Klitz
Words by Capt. Willis Johnson RN



Our sea-born chimes eight bells have told
Far o'er the wat'ry waste;
To distant ships their sound has roll'd;
The canvass drips with night-dew cold;
The mid-hour watch is placed.
Look out! Look out, my trusty crew!
Strain ev'ry anxious eye;
Tho' spray and mist obscure the view
We know the land is nigh!

And spare ye not the plunging lead,
As carefully we steer;
What star shines o'er the lee cathead,
Which now gleams forth with lustre red,
Now seems to disappear?
It is no star! I see it now!
It is the lighthouse beam,
Which, from yon tall cliff's beething brow,
Sheds forth its changeful gleam.

A sailor's thanks to those who tend
Its true, tho' fitful light,
Who, like our guardian angels, lend
Their ceasless vigils to befriend
The wandr'ing vessel's flight.
No strangers, now, the deep we roam!
Shake out, shake out the reefs; make sail;
That lighthouse is the light of home,
And hope breathes in the gale.

As still we coast the rugged steep,
The lighthouse sheds its ray;
But there's a love which does not sleep
And hearts which watch as constant keep,
When we are far away.
What transport in each breast will glow,
When with tomorrow's sun,
Our well-known signal flags shall show
The destined port we've won.



The landsmen tell you those who roam
O'er Ocean's boundless tide,
On ev'ry shore can find a home,
In ev'ry port a bride.
Heed not, sweet maid, their idle prat,
They ne'er such feelings knew
As warm the heart of thy sailor-mate,
Which beats alone for you.

What thought when storms our bark assail,
The needle trembling veers,
When night adds horror to the gale,
And not a star appears:
True to the Pole as I to thee,
It faithful still will prove,
An emblem, dear, of constancy,
And of a sailor's love.

Then turn from what the landsmen say,
Who would thy faith beguile;
They seize the time when we're away
To practise ev'ry wile;
O'er beauty bright our looks may rove,
We ne'er its influence shun,
But though the eye has many a love,
The heart knows only one.

NOTE: I cannot find any details about Captain Willis Johnson RN. My only find is the date of death of Eliza Willis in United Services Magazine for 1842 page 286. This date would be within the life time of Philip Klitz and also of Captain Johnson. There are no other details given about Eliza.

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Songs of the Mid-Watch