Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter Fair

May 21, 1899. "Grace Darling, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper at the Farne Islands, a perilous group on the east coast of England, was in her 23rd year, when on the morning of Sept. 07, 1838, she gave that supreme test of the true heroine. After a wildly tempestuous night, which had disturbed her rest by thoughts of those exposed to the storm, she espied in the dawn a shipwrecked steamer. The only man at the lighthouse was her father, her brothers being away on the mainland. It was doubtful if a boat manned by a stalwart crew would live in such a sea. All this her father represented to her, but she would not be dissuaded, and he yielded to her entreaties at last. The perilous passage was made to the cruel rocks, at great expense of toil and labor, and with many misgivings of a watery grave. The nine survivors, after infinite pains, were received into the frail boat, and land was safely made at last. Only once in her brief life the exigency arose for her to manifest her heroism of soul. Her conduct then revealed the deep hidden springs of her nature, and was the expression of an habitual temperament. Never was a girl so subjected to such public adulation as Grace afterwards was, and never was any person so little affected by it. A purse of $3,000 was raised for her and medals came from the leading societies of the world. Until the day of her death, four years later, she continued to live at the lighthouse with her parents."

I had never heard of Grace Darling until Ghosts, an album by The STRAWBS which included the song "Grace Darling" written by Dave Cousins. It is one of my favorite songs and I got to see The STRAWBS perform it live in concert when I was 13-years old. Here are the words to the song --"You have been my lighthouse in every storm. You have given shelter, you have kept me safe and warm. And in my darkest night you have shone your brightest light - You are my saving Grace, Darling I love ya.- You have been the pilot who guides me home. You have been the rock as on the seven seas I roam. And when I was becalmed you were the strength in my arms - You are my saving Grace, Darling I love ya.- And when my back was torn and broken on the reef, you sailed your tiny boat across the dark seas of my disbelief. You have been the anchor and I the chain, straining as we hold ourselves together in the rain. I have found you ever there, my constant keeper's daughter fair - You are my saving Grace, Darling I love ya." Many thanks to Dave Cousins.

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