Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

An Extensive Investigation Into The Sources And Inspiration Of National Folk Song

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24                     AMERICAN SEA SONGS.
tremendous engagement, in which the calibre of the British guns gave them every advantage, and in which the neutrality of the port was not taken into account. There was a poet on board the Essex, and he produced a long ballad describing the cruise and the retreat of the British ships after the chal­lenge ; but whether he perished in the later fight, or had no heart to add it to his verses, is not known. Among the crew of the Essex who did survive the fight was Midshipman David G. Farra-gut, who lived to achieve the greatest naval renown since that of Nelson, and be the theme of The Bay Fight, the noblest sea poem yet written.
The ballad of the Essex is entitled " A Pleasant New Song. Chanted by Nathan Whiting (through his nose) for the amusement of the galley slaves on board the Phoebe, who are allowed to sing no­thing but psalms." After describing the begin­ning of the trouble caused by " John Bull's taking our ships and kidnaping our true sailors," and the capture of British vessels in the first year of the war, the ballad takes up the cruise of the Essex.
The saucy Essex, she sailed out
To see what she could do. Her captain is from Yankee land,
And so are all her crew.
Away she sailed, so gay and trim, Down to the Galapagos,
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III