Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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AMERICAN SEA SONGS.                   29
they appeared to the adventurer of that day ; and in Moby Dick, or The White Whale, he has shown both the prose and the poetry of a whaling cruise with singular power, although with some touch of extravagance at the end. The whaling songs are, however, not very abundant, nor, it must be confessed, of a high standard of quality. To this there is one remarkable exception, which appears to be wholly unknown in American litera­ture, although it has been in print. It is entitled a " Brand Fire New Whaling Song Eight from the Pacific Ocean. Tune, Maggy Lander. By a Foremast Hand," and was printed in a little five-cent pamphlet, by E. B. Miller, in New Bedford, in 1831. It does not seem to have come under the eye of any critic who could appreciate its spirit and faithfulness, and no mention is made of it in any of the collections of American poetry. It is extremely doubtful if the author received enough from its sale to repay him for the investment of a portion of his " lay " in printing it, and his name is utterly lost in his modest pseudonym of " Fore­mast Hand; " so that he obtained neither fame nor fortune from his epic. The poem, which is too long for entire quotation, was unquestionably the work of a sailor on a whaling ship, and probably, as he says, of a foremast hand. It lacks some of the finish of professional literature, as shown in
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III