The Keeper of the Eddystone Light

This song was popularized in the 1950's by Burl Ives and became a folk revival standard. It originates from an English music hall song published in the mid nineteenth century. Various sheet music publications from this time make conflicting claims of authorship.

"Trimmin' of the glim" refers to trimming a candle or lantern. So presumably our protagonist was also a lighthouse keeper tending to his duties when his mythological mommy makes her appearance.

Eddystone light has given us plenty of fun. The hilarity continues with "The Keeper of the London Zoo", "The Keeper of the Astroid Light" and my personal favorite, "The Leader of the General Strike." "Me father was the leader of the General Strike, He slept with a Trotskyite one fine night."


Me father was the keeper of the Eddystone light
And he slept with a mermaid one fine night
From this union there came three
A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me

Yo ho ho, the wind blows free,
Oh for the life on the rolling sea!

One night, as I was a-trimming the glim
Singing a verse from the evening hymn
I head a voice cry out "Ahoy!"
And there was my mother, sitting on a buoy.

Yo ho ho . . .

"Oh, what has become of my children three?"
My mother then inquired of me.
One's on exhibit as a talking fish
And the other was served in a chafing dish.

Yo ho ho . . .

Then the phosphorus flashed in her seaweed hair.
I looked again, and my mother wasn't there
But her voice came sounding through the night
"To the devil with the keeper of the Eddystone Light!"

Yo ho ho . . .