SEA SONGS - online songbook

A collection of 70 Traditional Sea & Sailing related songs
with complete lyrics.

By W. C. Bennett, Published By Chapman And Hall London, Circa 1878

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70 Sea Songs

About This Book

There is no part of our history grander than that which records the triumphs of our seamen. Every Englishman ought to be familiar with the great men and the great deeds that have made ours the mightiest naval power that men have as yet known ; yet the daring, the magna­nimity, and the successes of our sea-kings, lie buried in our prose histories, little known to any but literary stu­dents. There are good reasons why this should be altered; why our grand old Admirals and their days of victory should become stirring melodies for the whole nation, but especially for our sailors. Our iron walls must guard our shores from all invasion, as our wooden walls through centuries have shielded us from hostile ap­proach. The English people must be made to feel that pride in our navy which shall induce them to make all needful sacrifices to maintain its full efficiency and power. Those who man our ironclads must be full of that old spirit which defeated the Armada and won Trafalgar. It is strange that our poets have done no more than they have to keep alive our pride in our ocean rule, and our determination that it shall never be lost. Let me endeavour to supply our sailors and the people with some songs which shall make our Blake and Vernon, our Anson and Exmouth more than names to them. If I succeed, I shall rightly feel that I have laboured at a work which may be held to be even of national importance. I have used the ordinary language of the people, in­tending my songs to be such as can be felt and sung by the class for which they are written. I have trusted to the grandeur of the incidents narrated and the dramatic truth of the feelings uttered, to interest and stir my readers. If it be urged that the length of some of my songs renders them unsuitable for singing, I reply that in the intervals of leisure which a sailor has, he will as readily listen to a ballad as to a song. A forecastle audience requires what the hearers of our old ballads demanded—plenty of stir­ring incidents and strong, true feeling simply expressed. These I have sought to give. My success or failure will be determined by the adoption or neglect of my songs by our blue jackets themselves. To them I send forth my volume, not without a strong hope that I shall not have written for them in vain. I have concluded my volume with two poems con­nected with the sea. The pleasant way in which my ' Songs for Sailors' have been received by my literary brethren and the people, lead me to hope these Sea Songs will not be unwelcome to English readers.

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