Naval Songs & Ballads - online book

3 Centuries Of Naval History In Shanties & Sea Songs With Lyrics & Notes

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Chamier, who published between 1830 and 1849 a number of novels in imitation of Marryat, included in them many nautical songs of his own of little merit. Captain Glascock also in his novels and sketches of naval life printed various lyrics. One seems to be the expression of a genuine feeling, viz. The Lieutenant's Lament:
' As sure as a gun
We shall all be undone
If longer continues the peace.'
(Naval Sketch Book, 1834, 2nd series, i. 267.)
Of nautical plays an enormous number were produced during the first half of the nineteenth century. This species of drama reached its greatest vogue about 1830. The most successful example of it was Douglas Jerrold's Black-eyed Susan; or, All in the Downs, played at the Surrey Theatre in 1829. Another successful play was Fitzball's Pilot, an adaptation of Cooper's novel of the same name, in which the hero was transformed from an American into an English sailor. The success of both was due to the acting of T. P. Cooke, who had himself served some six years in the navy and was declared by Christopher North to be ' the best sailor that ever trod the stage.' ' Mr. Cooke,' says Fitzball in his preface to The Pilot, ' added a new feature to the sailor's character. It was that of thoughtfulness and mystery—of deep-toned passion and romance.'
The popularity and the prevalence of conven­tional representations of sailors and artificial naval lyrics seem to have put an end to the production of genuine sea songs. In the vast mass of street' songs issued by various printers between 1815 and