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The China Clipper

[words Kathleen Tardif, music Peter Bellamy]

The Tea Clipper is an introductory poem by Kathleen Tardif from The China Clippers, edited by Basil Lubbock, Glasgow: James Brown & Son, 1914, page 1. Peter Bellamy sang it as The China Clipper on his privately issued cassette of 1982, The Maritime England Suite; he was accompanied by Dorothy Collins on piano and Ursula Pank on cello.

Lyrics

Kathleen Tardif's poem The Tea Clipper

O fair she was to look on, as some spirit of the sea.
When she raced from China, homeward, with her freight of fragrant tea
And the shining swift bonito and the wide-winged albatross
Claimed kinship with the clipper beneath the Southern Cross.

Close-hauled, with shortened canvas, swift and plunging she could sweep
Through the gale that rose to bar her wild pathway across the deep;
And before the gale blew over, half her drenched and driven crew,
To the tune of Reuben Ranzo, hoisted topsail yards anew.

From the haven of the present she has cleared and slipped away,
Loaded deep and running free for the port of yesterday.
And the cargo that she carried, ah! it was not China tea.
She took with her all the glamour and romance of life at sea.

Peter Bellamy sings The China Clipper

O fair she was to look on, as some spirit of the sea.
When she raced from China, homewards, with her freight of fragrant tea
And the shining swift bonito and the wide-winged albatross
Claimed kinship with the clipper beneath the Southern Cross.

Close-hauled, with shortened canvas, swift and plunging she could sweep
Through the gale that rose to bar her wild pathway across the deep;
And before the gale blew over, half her drenched and driven crew,
To the tune of Reuben Ranzo, hoisted topsail yards anew.

From the haven of the present she has cleared and slipped away,
Loaded deep and running free for the port of yesterday.
And the cargo that she carried, ah! it was not China tea.
She took with her all the wonder and the romance of the sea.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: The Clipper (Peter Bellamy).