Back and forth the cowbells ring; onward swings the light,
Hoping that our signals bring our husbands home tonight.
The Seaview bells are ringing as they do in storm and gale,
Ringing for the safe return of every lonesome sail.
I recollect my marriage day, the day I was a bride,
The vows I made that wed me to the turn of every tide.
The wind can blow him east and west, likewise north and south,
And what a time he has to find the river’s angry mouth.
I leave the children in their cribs, hungry and unfed,
The cows loose in the pasture, the chickens on the shed.
The wind is roaring, breaking off the branches of the trees.
I struggle up the hill and face the thunder of the seas.
I ring until my hand is numb and every muscle aches.
I’ll ring until his time has come, whatever form it takes.
I’ll ring to send him courage to face the ocean’s swell.
I’ll ring until I know I hear the answer of his bell.
It’s true I live in Seaview and I’m called Eliza Jane.
When the storms blow in their fury, my duty is so plain.
I’ll hitch up my woolen petticoats and climb the hill again
And join the other womenfolk in calling home their men.
- Song by Mary Garvey
- Performed on CD by Mary Garvey, Chris Roe, & Sophie Morse