Song Lyric Sunday 6/17/18 – My Grandfather’s Clock (And Sequel)

So Song Lyric Sunday comes once again and this week our theme is time. OK, cool, I get to share some useless knowledge with everyone this week!

Have you ever wondered why they call it a “grandfather clock?” The technical name for a free-standing floor clock is “tallcase” or “longcase” clock, but how did they get the common nickname “grandfather clock?” The common and popular nickname actually comes from a song! This song was written by Henry Clay Work in 1876 and tells the tale of the narrator’s grandfather’s floor clock. The song was so popular the nickname stuck and that is why we call it a grandfather clock today (oh the things you learn from being an amateur horologist [clockmaker/watchmaker]).

So with that is the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.” As with all classic folk songs, there are countless versions, but I’m choosing a version by a little known artist named Tom Roush as I feel he does the song the most justice.

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,
So it stood ninety years on the floor;
It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short never to go again when the old man died

In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours he spent as a boy.
And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time, and had but one desire —
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place — not a frown upon its face,
And its hands never hung by its side.
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short never to go again when the old man died.

It rang an alarm in the dead of the night —
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight —
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side;
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
His life’s seconds numbering,
(tick, tock, tick, tock),
It stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Grandfather%27s_Clock#Lyrics

There is also a sequel to this song that is much lesser known. This version of the sequel is also performed by Mr. Roush and was written by Work in 1878.

Once again have I roamed thro’ the old-fashioned house,
Where my grandfather spent his ninety years.
There are strangers in charge, and the change they have wrought–
Oh! it saddens me, even to tears.
Dear old clock! when they found you were speechless from grief,
Then they went and swapped you off, case and all.
For that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
For that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

Grandfather sleeps in his grave;
Strange steps resound in the hall!
And there’s that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
There’s that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

While we talked of the old clock they all ran it down.
Tho’ they claimed that it couldn’t be made to run.
It was useless they said– it was quite out of style;
Built, no doubt, just about the year One.
And the words echoed round, with a faint, mocking sound,
As if some one gave assent to it all;
‘Twas that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
‘Twas that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

From the clock-peddler’s cart in the junk-shop it went,
Where its cog-wheels were sundered one be one;
And the brass-founder joked as they writhed in the flames–
“Melt’em up,” says he; “then they will run.”
There is grief in my heart, there are tears in my eyes.
Yet indignantly the sight I recall
Of that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
For that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.

“An extremely hard case!” said the junk-dealer’s wife,
As she carried it for kindling wood and sighed–
That mahogany case, with its quaint, figured face,
Which so long was my grandfather’s pride.
“There is hope for the small; there’s a change for us all;
For the mighty ones of Time, they must fall!”
Says that vain, stuck-up thing
(tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick),
Says that vain, stuck-up thing on the wall.
Source: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/sequel-to-grandfather-s-clock/

So that’s it for this week. I hope you learned something this week and enjoyed the songs! Until next week everyone.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday 6/17/18 – My Grandfather’s Clock (And Sequel)

  1. Aw, haven’t heard this in years! There used to be a radio programme for schools over here in the 80s that our teachers would tune into, which would teach kids old songs like this, this was one of the songs we all used to sing along to! Never heard that sequel though.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s