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52 A CENTURY OF BALLADS
who sang Charles Dibdin's songs continually, had himself been a sailor, and would have been the first to notice any inaccuracies. " I have never heard him," concludes Thomas, "object to a single line of any of my father's because it should perhaps have been a rope"
Dibdin's most popular song is, of course, "Tom Bowling," written on the death of his eldest brother, Captain Dibdin. Another very popular song of his was " Poor Jack." It is said that he sold "Poor Jack " and eleven other songs for ,£60 ! The fact that the publisher had made a profit of something like £500 out of "Poor Jack " alone induced Dibdin a few years later to become his own publisher, and he opened premises in the Strand under the name of " Sans-Souci," which led a popular wit of the day to compose the following quatrain :—
What more conviction need there be
That Dibdin's plan will do : Since now we see him sans souci
Who late was sans six sous.
The list of Dibdin's sea songs is so enormous that it is impossible to do more than mention one or two of the more popular. Such were "Saturday Night at Sea," " 'Twas in the Good Ship Rover," "I Sailed from the Downs in the Nancy," "Farewell, My Trim-Built Wherry"—a great favourite of John Braham's, the tenor, and