“Ring the Bell, Watchman”


"High in the belfry the old sexton stands, Grasping the rope in his thin bony hands." He waits until he hears: "Ring the bell, watchman! ring! ring! ring! Yes, yes! the good news is now on the wing... Glorious and blessed tidings. Ring, ring the bell!"


Like many Henry Clay Work songs, the lyrics to this were too vague to gain much hold in tradition, but the tune too good to ignore. There is a sailing parody, "Strike the Bell, Second Mate"; in Australia, it produced the well-known "Click Go the Shears." - RBW

Same tune

  • Click Go the Shears (File: MA024)
  • Oh Molly Reilly (Meredith/Covell/Brown, p. 159)
  • Palmer's Suits (Meredith/Covell/Brown, p. 180)

Cross references


  1. Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 113-114, "Ring the Bell, Watchman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #13630
  4. BI, DTringbe


Author: Henry Clay Work
Earliest date: 1966
Keywords: nonballad
Found in: Australia