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This song

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express the same sentiment as a later and very popular song.

In the next generation the Earl of Dorset wrote a song, or rather a ballad, which has ever been popular on account of its lively, witty, airy, tuneful style, the gallant spirit which it breathes, and the circumstances under which it is alleged to have been produced. We, of course, allude to the celebrated piece_" To all you Ladies now on Land.” According to tradition, the author composed it the day before the great battle between the Dutch fleet, under Admiral Opdam“Foggy Opdam," as Dorset calls bimand the English fleet, under the Duke of York, on June 3rd, 1665; but Dr. Johnson discredits this, and asserts that Dorset “only re-touched finished it on the memorable evening. But even this," adds the doctor, “ whatever it may subtract from his facility, leaves him his courage. We have no means of judging which statement is correct, but assuredly we see no reason to deem it either an impossibility, or even an improbability, that Dorset (Lord Buckhurst at the time) should compose the song entirely on the battle eve.

A far more remarkable production is that magnificent "Sword Song" of Theodore Körner, and yet he unquestionably composed and wrote it down when bivouacing in a wood, only two hours before the conflict in which he met his death, sabre in band. Dorset's ballad is precisely such an one as we would expect froin an accomplished courtier and gallant cavalier. The first stanza strikes the key-note to the whole production :

considered essential to enable a man to command at sea. One week he might command a regiment the ensuing, a three-decker !

We shall next proceed to notice the most deservedly celebrated sea-songs down to the advent of the king of ocean lyrists. First, we have “ Ye Gentlemen of England” (said to be by Martyn Parker), the exact date of which is unknown to us. merits its long and steady popularity. The words and the music are alike really excellent. The first, and best stanza is as follows:“ Ye gentlemen of England,

That live at home at euse,
Ah! little do ye think upon

The dangers of the seas!
Give ear unto the mariners,

And they will plainly show
All the cares and the fears

When the stormy winds do blow." It is worthy of remark, that this song was a great favourite of Campbell's, and he not only wrote bis “ Mariners of England” to its air, but he also incorporated in his own glorious lyric the oft-repeated line_"

- When the stormy winds do blow."

From this period to the end of the eighteenth century, several sea-songs and lyrics by different authors appeared, which deserve special mention on account not only of their own great and distinctive merits, but also because they were immensely popular in their day, and in most instances yet continue so. We do not pretend to refer to them in chronological order, and in some instances we are, in fact, ignorant of the precise period of their production.

First, we will mention Gay’s “Blackeyed Susan " - a piece which must be familiar to many of our readers. It is simple in incident, pathetic in tone, melodiously written, and set to a very touching and appropriate air. Its popu. larity bas never flagged up to the present time, although it has been written considerably more than a century. Seamen and landsmen have alike delighted to sing it. Yet more popular with seamen, but not with landsmen, is the “ Spanish Ladies." Who wrote it we know not, but the author either was a seaman himself, or very intimately acquainted with the sea, and the tastes of sailors. The piece possesses no literary merit whatever, but it is a genuine sailor's stave, and to this day it is sung in many a forecastle

* To all ye ladies now on land,

We then at sex indite;
But first would have you understand,

How hard it is to write :
The Muses now, and Neptune, too,
We must implore to write to you.

With a fa, la, la, la, la."

All we need observe of it is that it does not breathe the spirit of a genuine sailor song, vor can we, in fact, expect that it should, for Dorset was inerely a volunteer on ship-board. At that (and even at a later) period it was quite customary for a high-born cavalier, or a military gentleman, to actually assume command of a ship-ofwar or a fleet, although he had all his life been an officer in the land service. Practical seamanship was by no means

For we have received orderg

When such a destined wretch as I,

Gallant tars are our men ;

66 The

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in every quarter of the globe. For Royal George. ” The former he these reasons we subjoin the first of founded on an incident related in the half-dozen stanzas as a specimen:- Anson's Voyage;" and truthful and

appropriate as its language is, in di“ Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies, Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain ;

rect reference to the fact alluded to,

yet the real interest of the piece - to For to sail to Old England, But we hope in a short time to see you again."

those, at least, who are not mere sur

face-readers is its deep-meaning, me“Hearts of Oak," written by Gar- lancholy personal allegory. Oft have rick, of late years has been remembered we ourselves, in our moments of dechiefly for its admirable chorus — a pression, mournfully recited these lines chorus known by every man-o'-war's. of the piece :man, as well as his own name, and

“The Atlantic billows roared, which is superlatively excellent of the kind :

Washed headlong from on board

Of friends, of hope, of all bereft;
“Hearts of oak are our shipe

His floating home for ever left!"
We always are ready-

And do sailors--practical foremast-
Steady, boys, steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again." men-appreciate and repeat Cowper's

“Castaway"? Yes ; some of them Deservedly more celebrated than any assuredly do, and we can name at of the above, is that noble song, least one interesting proof. Dana, in Storm,” the authorship of which is a his matchless “Two Years before the matter of controversy. The air itself Mast,” relates how he “ killed time” is very old, but the words are by some during the long monotonous nightattributed to Falconer, the Leith sea

watches, by repeating over to himself man (whose “ Shipwreck” is the only

a variety of things which he knew by poem of length in the language), and heart. After mentioning several, he by others, to Alexander Stevens, an

says-“The next in the order, that I actor of note in his day. We are in- never varied from, came Cowper's clined to think that of the two Stevens

Castaway,' which was a great favouris probably the author, for the sea- ite with me; the solemn measure and odes, &c., of Falconer are very infe.

gloomy character of which, as well as rior to his well-known poem, and "The the incident that it was founded Storm," is not written at all in the

upon, made it well suited to a lonely style and tone of any of his acknow- watch at sea. ledged productions. Be this as it may, The “Loss of the Royal George ” - The Storm " is undoubtedly one of is, of course, a commemoration of the the finest sea-songs ever written, and almost unparalleled catastrophe at few verses are more frequently sung Spithead, in 1782, when, by the most and quoted than the opening lines : culpable negligence, the Royal George “ Cease, rude Boreas, blust'ring railer!

capsized at her anchorage, and out of List, ye landsmen, all to me!

1200 souls on board, not less than 900, Messmates, hear a brother sailor

including Admiral Kempenfelt, peSing the dangers of the sea."

rished. Cowper's lyric-elegy, as it may Subsequently to the above, if we be termed, is a glowing, spirit-stirring mistake not, appeared two other very composition; the language is simple, popular sea-songs - viz., the “ Bay o yet terse and energetic, and some of Biscay” (by Andrew Cherry), and the the lines are peculiarly felicitous. For “Old Commodore," both excellent, instance, what a fine sentiment is exespecially the latter, which, however, pressed in the following stanza :is extremely coarse in language, but

Weigh the vessel up, graphic and truthful.

Or cdreaded by our foes, And now let us refer to two truly

Anu mutiple with our cup

The tear that England owes." grand sea-lyrics, written by a great poet, whose life and history were such that All efforts, however, to weigh the he was about the last author in the Royal George proved unavailing, world whom one would have expected owing, probably, in some measure, to to produce such pieces. We allude to the shortness of her length, which, the domestic, pious, yet patriotic bard, combined with her enormous and disWilliam Cowper, who wrote “ The proportionate height from keel to upCastaway," and the “Loss of the per-works, caused her to sink deeply

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in the sand, and rendered it very dif. a very able commentator. He endeaficult to grapple her in a proper fashion vours to prove that Dibdin, on the for raising. Thus, she could not, as whole, was little better than a charlaCowper naturally anticipated, again tan; and he distinctly says, that “his float “full charged with England's songs have never been the means of thunder ;” and even had she, yet, as contributing a single seaman to the he sadly reiterates :

country, much less of adding a " Brave Kempenfelt is gone,

thorough-bred tar to the service." His victories are o'er,

Now, against this sweeping opinion And he and his eight hundred

let us pit that of Captain

Chamier, Shall plough the wave no more !"

R.N., who, in his “ Ben Brace," exCowper's two sea-lyrics, especially claims, “How much, how very much the one last referred to, attracted con

is the nation indebted to Vibdin ! siderable notice at the time they were His songs are made for sailors, and first published; and had they then been breathe the very inspiration they reset to appropriate music and sung by quire." What, too, says Herman Incledon, or even were they, at the Melville, the great American sailorpresent day, sung by such a man as author? He says, in his “ White Henry Russell, we cannot doubt they

Jacket,” that Dibdin's songs “ breathe would attain a very distinguished popu

the very poetry of ocean ;” but, he larity.

adds, that they also savour strongly of The mention of the “Loss of the a sort of Mahomedan fatalism and senRoyal George” reminds us of a fine

sualism. And that is true enough. piece by Sheridan (who produced se

Another opinion of Dibdin's songs, veral sea-songs, generally of no great and as far as it goes we think it is a merit, yet, in some instances, popular);

very just one, was given some years written, as we understand, on the loss ago in “ Chambers's Edinburgh Jourof the Saldanah frigate, the Hon.

nal," in these words—“ His songs, on Captain Pakenham, who perished with the whole, présent an idealised and all his crew.

We give a single exaggerated embodiment of the chastanza :

racteristics, life, and habits of seamen.

They were written in war time, when “But no mortal power shall now

the nation wasexcited to a pitch of frenThat crew and vessel save ; They are shrouded as they go

zied enthusiasm by a succession of unpa

ralleled naval victories—when a prince And the track beneath her prow Is their grave."

of the blood trod the quarter-deck, and

Nelson was · Britannia's god of war.' And now for the king of the sea- Their popularity with landsmen was poets, and the laureate of the navy- then incredible. Everybody sang and he is Charles Dibdin, as all the Dibdin's sea-songs, deeming them a world knows. But perchance all the perfect mirror of sea-life and seamen's world does not know how widely opi- character. The truth is, he has exnions differ as to the real merit of aggerated both the virtues and the the said Charles Dibdin. Lord Jef- follies of sailors to an absurd degree; frey, the greatest of modern critics, and his blue-jacketed heroes are no considered Dibdin's songs to be mere more to be accepted as a fair type of “slang ;" but, Jeffrey, as he himself sailors than are Fennimore Cooper's avowed, had a perfect hatred and hor. Chingachgook and Leatherstocking as ror of the sea,* and therefore we must types of the red-men and trappers of not accept him as an altogether im- North America. .

Dibdin's partial or unprejudiced critic as con- sea-songs might be worth a dozen cerns Dibdin. But one whose judg- pressgangs' for manning the navy in ment is deserving of more regard on war time, and, for aught we can prethis subject than Lord Jeffrey's ex- dicate to the contrary, they may be presses an opinion quite as unfavoura- so again; but we reiterate our convice ble. We allude to a writer in Black- tion, that they never caused sailors to wood's Magazine, in 1829, apparently ship aboard a man-o'-war. Landsmen a naval officer himself, and certainly might volunteer by scores, through

In a hurricane of snow,

* Most amusingly is this evinced in the diary he wrote on his voyage to America, as quoted in his life by Lord Cockburn.

VOL. XLVI.NO. CCLXXII.

M

the influence of such stirring, patriotic and accordingly encouraged Dibdin to ditties ; but seamen, who knew the continue writing them, for which the ropes,' would never be induced to ship poet was eventually rewarded with a through their agency." Lastly, what pension. We fear that Dibdin's inspisays Charles Dibdin himself ?-though ration was, in part, not of the loftiest it is hardly permissible for an author nor most honourable kind. He was to bear testimony to the merits of his not a man much troubled with moral own writings. He says__"My songs scruples, nor particularly conscientious. have been the solace of sailors in long He could not possibly be ignorant that voyages, in storms, in battles, and they life in a man-of-war was then extreme. have been quoted in mutinies to the ly different from what the generality restoration of order and discipline !" of his songs represent. The tyranny We are strongly tempted to add at and the abominable injustice with least three points of admiration to the which men-of-war's-men were then above astounding assertion. That the treated, was astounding and horrifysongs may have been “the solace of ing. We have conversed with old sea. sailors in long voyages,” we are quite men on the subject, and we have read willing to believe; but “in storms !" an overwhelming amount of contem“ in battles !!" and "in mutinies !!!" porary evidence-much even legal and We happen to know something of the official - and we know that we are sca and of seamen, and we involuntarily fully justified in the above assertion. ejaculate - Tell that to the marines ! Dibdin was — and, perhaps, ever will though we suspect that even the "jol- be-unrivalled in his peculiar line of lies" will not believe it, and certainly writing, but we cannot acquit him of seamen will not, nor will we.

a reckless determination to popularise The above will show what a diversity the navy, at the expense of honest of opinion exists as to the merits of truth. In fact, he must have felt Dibdin; and we will now endeavour himself to be just a literary recruiting to deliver our own estimate, and we officer for the navy. As to the actual shall do that the more confidently be effect his lyrics had in manning ships cause we have long been familiar with of war, we agree unreservedly with the songs in question, and also with those who maintain that very few able most other sea-songs of any mark. seamen would volunteer through their

First, we must consider the circum- influence. But that impressible youths stances under which Dibdin's songs and landsmen did so in considerable were written. Britain was then fighting numbers is highly probable -- indeed, almost for existence as a nation against we should say, unquestionable; and the giant power of Napoleon I. ; und what subsequent Boards of Admiralty all classes were deeply impressed with bave thought of the practical efficacy a sound conviction, that the navy alone of the songs in this respect, is significould save their country from invasion, cantly indicated by “ Admiralty Edi. and all that might result therefrom. tions” of them. One Admiralty, not But the navy perpetually needed men ; many years ago, had a score of the and so unpopular was the service at best of Dibdin's songs separately printthe time, owing to the dreadfully ed, and presented to all men then severe discipline, and incredible hard. serving in the British navy. ships and injustice to which men-of- Regarding Dibdin's sea-songs on war's-men were systematically subject- the whole, we must charge them with ed, that seamen never could be induced a spirit of exaggeration. In our esti. to volunteer, and, notwithstanding the mation, that is their one great pervadmerciless razzias of numerous press- ing fault. We personally know what gangs, hardly a ship-of-war ever went seamen are now-a-days, and we know to sea well manned. At this epoch, what they were in Dibdin's time by Dibdin commenced writing and sing. the aid of his contemporaries, and our ing his sca-songs; and as they were decided judgment is that he has overadmirably calculated to create a feeling drawn their character as a class - reof enthusiastic pride in the navy, and presenting them to be greater philoso. to impress the public with a notion phical heroes, and happier men afloat, that a man-of-waris-man's life was not and more reckless and foolish ashore, merely one of the most heroic, but one than they really were. We are perof the happiest and most enviable, fectly aware that the character of seaMr. Pitt is said to have early appre- men generally, and especially of men. ciated the value of such compositions, of-war's-men, is perceptibly improved since Dibdin's time, owing to amelio. sea-slang and coarse profanity. A rating circumstances in their condition; third--and in the estimation of seamen but in their esprit de corps--their pro-, themselves the most serious of all Dibfessional peculiarities of thought, of 'din's faults—is his tendency to commit feeling, of speech, of action, they have ludicrous errors in describing nautical altered comparatively little ; 'and manæuvres and in using sea-terms. Dibdin's stock beau-ideal of a blue- For our part, we only marvel that he jacket must have been over-coloured did not err yet more frequently in this and melodramatic. Let us not be respect. Lastly, Dibdin was prone to misunderstood. We are at present dash off his lyrics with inexcusable speaking of Dibdin's sea-songs in the haste and carelessness; and he boasted bulk; and it is to the majority of them that he had not only written but also that we apply the above charge of ex- set to music “ thirty very prominent aggeration, and of a tendency to im. songs ” in three-quarters of an hour part incorrect notions of the life and each! Had all his songs been procharacter of men-of-war’s-men. More- duced at this high-pressure speed, the over, we have no hesition in expressing world would have long ago consigned our belief that one reason why his their author's name to merited oblisongs did not induce real able seamen vion. to enter the navy, was, because they Now we will gladly reverse the medal. knew too well how false were the pic- It is ever more pleasant to dwell on tures he drew of a jolly, happy, merry, merits than defects; and, having pointreckless life afloat.

ed out the chief errors and faults of The other faults of Dibdin we must Charles Dibdin, we will bear most brieflypass in review. He was often most cordial testimony to his rare and admi. offensively coarse (much in Smollett's rable qualities. 'He was not merely a fashion) in his language and ideas. writer of talent, but one of undeniable One of his admirers endeavours to ex. genius; and in bis peculiar line he is cuse him, on the ground that such was quite inimitable and unrivalled. All the common vice of the age -- an old his songs, even the most trifling, are and hackneyed plea on behalf of lite- pervaded by a hearty, bold, earnest, rary sinners. A second fault of his and very manly spirit ; and, although style was the ridiculously profuse man- he sometimes indulges in meretricious ner in which he introduced sea-phrases sentimentality, he is yet oftener truly and nautical technicalities. They be- and unaffectedly pathetic. Patriotism stud many of his songs as thickly as and duty are cardinal virtues, on which plums in a Christmas pudding. Now, he perpetually expatiates; and with we beg to apprise all undiscriminating almost equal persistency does he incul. admirers of the laureate of the navy, cate many other noble qualities--genethat real blue-jackets do not interlard rosity, valour, fortitude, clemency to their discourse, neither afloat nor on a fallen foe, self-reliauce, cheerful en. shore, with sea-phrases à la Dibden, or durance of hardship and privations, à la Commodore Trunnion. Some. and manly unmurmuring resignation times they use a racy; appropriate to the worst that can befall. We have professional expression or phrase, but justly charged him with general exagnot very frequently. You may talk- geration as regards the character of as we have oft talked -- with first-rate seamen and their life in the navy; but, seamen and men-of-war’s-men for hours setting aside this unfortunate (and we without hearing them indulge in sea- fear wilful and deliberate) vice of slang or nautical nomenclature, except style, he has certainly portrayed seawhen absolutely necessary to convey men in a masterly manner, intuitively their meaning. It is your half-bred grasping their prominent peculiarities, dandy sailor we say sailor, not seaman which he brings forward in strong re-who goes swaggering and swearing lief. He rarely, however, succeeds in about on shore, but at sea is not fit to drawing a striking, distinct, individual be entrusted with the wheel in a top- portrait; all his sketches are of one gallant breeze, and who cannot pass a type; all his Jacks, and Toms, and weather-earing ship-shape, nor turn a Wills, and Dicks, are embodiments of heart in a stay, nor, perhaps, even the salient distinguishing qualities of a make a long-splice in a creditable man- class, and, therefore, as such we feel ner - it is a fellow of this stamp who them to be Representative Men-ideal, cannot speak without “shivering his albeit truthful abstractions, rather than timbers, and indulging in all sorts of flesh-and-blood individuals.

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