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Wake up, wake up, my friends, the hour is late
The days go swiftly by, such is our fate
What is the life of man, we live, we die
The deck beneath our feet, above the sky
Blow winds of fortune and speed our boat
Ebb and flow ocean on which we float (repeat)
The waves roll round the world, the sweet rain falls
The breeze goes swiftly by, the sea-bird calls
The winds roll round the world, our sails to fill
Our helmsman holds the oar, blow where they will
And when the winds do fail, as fail they must
We shall unship the oars, our backs to trust
And we will work again with honest toil
If we're to walk again on native soil.
Nicole heard this beautiful song being sung by the writer, John Caldwell at the Guildford Folk Club in Victoria. Keryn Archer taught it to us at the National Folk Festival sessions a little later. This recording from the cloudstreet album, The Fiddleship.
The illustration for this post is an engraving by the French artist, Gustave Doré.