THE LOOKING GLASS
Poem by PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR
AT MY WINDOW
Poem by GERTRUDE EASTMENT
Poem by WILLIAM SHARP
Price, 50 cents
each net No discount
G. RICORDI & CO., Inc.
14 East 43rd Street,
And at London. Paris,
Leipzig, Rome, Palermo.
Naples, Buenos Ayres, and Milan.
Printed in U. S. A.
to Joseph Kayser
By Permission of Duffield & Co.
By permission of the Author
by G. Ricordi & Co. Inc.
The Phantom Pirate
the yellow bay
Where the scows are sleeping,
Where among the dead men
The sharks flit to and fro.
There Captain Goldsack goes
Creeping, creeping, creeping.
Looking for his treasure,
His treasure down below.
Yo ho, yo ho, yo ho--
Creeping, creeping, creeping,
creeping down below.
Down a mong the tangle weed
Where the dead are leaking
With the ebb and flow of water
Thru their ribs and hollow bones--
Isaac Goldsack stoops low,
Seeking, seeking, seeking, seeking.
What's he seeking there a-midst
A lot o'dead men's bones?
Ye ho, heave a ye ho!
Seeking, seeking,--seeking down below.
Twice a hundred year and more
Are gone across the bay.
Down across the yellow bay
Where the dead are sleeping,
But Captain Goldsack gropes and gropes
From year long day to day,
Captain Goldsack gropes below,
Creeping, creeping, yo ho! yo ho! yo
Creeping, creeping down below, yo ho!
the fall of 1997, as I searched for anything written by
William Sharp/Fiona Macleod, I discovered the score of The Phantom Pirate in the music section of the online
catalogue of the Seattle Public Library. This
was so different from the legends and old tales I had
been presenting that I scanned and posted it to the
web. My goal was to have at the least, a midi file
of the melody as a change of pace. Alas, people I
knew who could make midi files could not read music...and
the musicians I talked with who could read music didn't
have the computer expertise to make a midi file.
Two years passed. Then, in
October of 1999, a Professor Goldsack from Surrey,
emailed the following:
"A nephew drew my attention to your web site.
Perhaps he found it in scanning for our name. I read your
"story" and found it fascinating, but regret I
cannot offer any help in your search.
I am surprised that no one in our family knew of the poem
by William Sharp --- it has been around for long enough.
I wonder if he invented the name, or had come across it?
Dickens had a notebook in which he kept a list of what he
called available names. He had entered the name Goldsack,
which he had come across when visting a workhouse
We have records of family going back 200 years from
Sharp's time, but I do not think there is an Isaac among
My son and his wife are both professional singers, and in
case the Warford setting should prove of interest as
repertoire, I have tried to down load the files, but the
result is really not of useable quality...." (I
mailed a photocopy of the score to Prof. Goldsack the
Professor Goldsack later wrote:
"You are doubtless aware that the McLeod clan were
an old family from Skye, and no doubt had much romance
for William Sharp in his concern for Gaelic affairs.
Purely by chance my great great grandfather married a
Jane Hannah Macleod in 1837, in London shortly before
emigrating to Adelaide, Australia. Their eldest son
returned to England, but there is quite a large Goldsack
'dynasty' in Australia."
Geneology of an Issac Goldsack (Please tab down
later, a tape and then, an e-mail attachment arrived from
England and I could hear the music and lyrics of The
Phantom Pirate. And so, for your consideration is
Christopher Goldsack's performance of The Phantom Pirate
Phantom Pirate (RealAudio
Christopher Goldsack, baritone
John Flinders (access Other Pages)
Free download of RealAudio -
(Reminiscent of Gilbert and Sullivan...yes?)
At the beginning of
2002, I received an email from Larry Goldsack in B.C., a
member of another branch of the Goldsack family tree:
"I enjoyed your website and found
the information regarding The Phantom Pirate most
interesting, as I share the Goldsack name as well. I
started researching my Goldsack roots about 6 years ago
and found that we are deeply rooted in the Dover area of
Kent. When I began my search I had very little
information to work with. My only first hand source was
my uncle who claimed to know very little, except that we
are descended from pirates. My late father also told this
story. It seems that both these boys had been told the
story by their father, my grandfather John Goldsack
(1853-1913). When he was six years old John was sent to
St. Margaret's to live with his grandparents, ISAAC
Sarah Goldsack. When Isaac died,
his obituary in the Dover Express claimed that
prior to his death he had been the town's oldest living
resident. Isaac's parent's were ISAAC
(1789-1872) and Sarah Goldsack, also of St. Margaret's at
Cliffe, Kent. While I have found no evidence of
pirates in my direct line there is no question that many
of the Goldsacks in and around Dover were engaged in
the mariner trade."
Another email followed:
"After the last message I sent, I checked to see if
in fact Isaac (1746), the brother of my 4x great
grandfather, Henry (1755), did have any sons named Isaac.
The answer is yes! His son Isaac was born in 1781 at
Deal, Kent. This Isaac married Ann Robins in 1804 and
they had a son, Isaac Robins Goldsack in 1805. Isaac
Robins somehow made his way to London and married Rebecca
Cowdery in 1830. Their first born son was named (what
else) Isaac (1837).
Three years passed and Larry has
uncovered more information:
"I hope all is well with you. In the past 3 years
I've been actively
researching to try and discover if there was a
possibility that William
Sharp may have modeled his Phantom Pirate after a real
person named Isaac Goldsack. I've sent you information
about my direct line (the only place where Isaac Goldsack
appears), and recently I made a discovery that I find
"I had always know about Isaac Goldsack (1818,
Weymouth) who worked in the Coastguard along the Dorset
coastline and settled in St. Agnes, Cornwall. He was
still living there in 1901. The problem was I did not
know who his parents were. As Isaac is a name only
associated with my family line I felt certain that he fit
in somewhere - indeed I had a theory, but the work of
other researchers indicated that my idea must be wrong.
"On your website you list a "genealogy of an
Isaac Goldsack". I believe that this man was the
father of Isaac Goldsack (1818, Weymouth). The
information on that particular website is flawed. They
have confused Isaac (1780) with Isaac (1804) the
carpenter from Margate.
"This is what I have discovered (using Naval
records, church records and
"Isaac Goldsack was born 22 Feb 1779 at Dover. He
was baptised 12 March 1780 at St. James the Apostle,
Dover. His parents were George and Catherine (the birth
date is what he gave when he joined the Navy - he may
have added a year to his age, or he simply may have been
baptised a year after his birth).
"Isaac joined the Navy in 1797 and served until
1807. He married Hannah Smith at Dover on 1 Oct 1804. He
and Hannah had a son named George (baptised at Dover in
1805). In 1808 they had a son named Peter (baptised at
Folkestone), in 1812 the had a daughter named Elizabeth
(baptised at Folkestone) and in 1815 they had another
daughter named Maria (baptised at Folkestone).
After Isaac left the Navy he began working in the
Merchant Navy as a 'Ticketed Master' until 1845. I'm not
sure if this made him a Captain or not.
In 1818 Isaac and Hannah had a son named Isaac at
In 1827 Isaac and Hannah had a daughter named Hannah at
"Dorset records show:
George Goldsack, Mariner, married Jane Symes at Wyke
Regis (Weymouth) in 1828. A witness was Peter Goldsack.
George Goldsack (son of George, Mariner, and Jane) was
baptised at Wyke Regis in 1833.
Jane Goldsack (daughter of Peter, Mariner, and Elizabeth
baptised at Wyke Regis in 1832.
Jane Goldsack, aged 30, was buried at Wyke in March 1835.
Jane Goldsack, aged 3, was buried at Wyke in 1835.
George Goldsack, aged 2 1/2 was buried at Wyke in 1836.
"In 1851 there was a Martha Goldsack (1815, Fleet)
living at 2 Ebenezer
Place, Weymouth with Emily Roberts (1827, Weymouth). Both
had husbands who were Mariners. Martha may have been
George Goldsack's second wife - or the wife of another
"In 1861 Emily Roberts was living at 3 Ebenezer
Place (I think Emily was a daughter of Isaac and Hannah,
but have not been able to prove it yet). "Next door
was Elizabeth Goldsack (1808, Fleet). Elizabeth was a
widow receiving a Naval Pension. Elizabeth lived in the
same house until her death in 1887.
"I'm certain that Elizabeth was the wife of Peter.
Essex records show:
Hannah Goldsack married Thomas Whitaker in 1847 at
Hannah Goldsack died Q4 1859 at Bradwell.
Maria Goldsack married James Hanley in 1860 at Bradwell.
Isaac Goldsack died Q4 1865 at Bradwell.
In 1861 Isaac Goldsack was 82 years old and living in
Bradwell, Essex. He was receiving a pension from the
Coastguard. His daughter, Maria Hanley (1815, Weymouth)
and her husband, James (1806, Cork, Ireland) were living
with him. James was in the Coastguard.
In 1881 Maria Hanley was living with her sister Hannah
Whitaker at Burnham, Essex. Both were widows.
From all this information it has become clear to me that
Isaac (1779) was
the father of Isaac (1818, Weymouth), and that Isaac
(1779) spent more than 50 years working at sea before he
became a member of the Coastguard. His sons, George,
Peter and Isaac all became mariners - with Isaac also
joining the Coastguard.
"From what I understand, the early Coastguard crew
was employed to save people from shipwrecks and then
protect the wreck from plunder. Is it possible that some
crews plundered the ships themselves? Perhaps a crew,
whose Captain was one Isaac Goldsack, gained a particular
reputation for doing just that! It's fun to speculate...
"I can tell you that Isaac Goldsack (1818) was
awarded the Bronze Medal (Royal Humane Society) in 1862
after saving people from a wreck off Mounts Bay,
"I just wanted to let you know that I've been
thinking of William Sharp's poem and if he used a person
as a model for Cap'n Goldsack that I think
Isaac (1779) is perhaps the best candidate. Also, in
regards to my grandfather telling his sons that they were
descended from pirates... Isaac
(1779) was the cousin of 3x great grandfather Isaac
(1789). It is possible
that Isaac (1789) heard about his cousin's exploits at
sea and related them to his son, Isaac (1823). It is also
entirely possible that Isaac (1823) told my grandfather
the stories in the 1880s-90s. I suppose if they had
access to Sharp's poem that would have made the stories
even better (or perhaps the poem gave rise to some
fictitious stories that worked to create the pirate
I just wanted to correct a mistake I made - Emily
Roberts, possible daughter of Isaac and Hannah Goldsack -
was born c.1822 at Weymouth and not in 1827 as I noted.
Also, I forgot to mention that according to Navy records
Isaac (1779) was 5'-2 1/2" tall with brown hair and
blue eyes - if he was a pirate he certainly wasn't a
Are not grandfathers
M. Dobratz firstname.lastname@example.org