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.                   11
the Scotch nature, produced the beautiful fishing songs of the coast and the grand rowing and boat songs of the Western Islands, is wanting alike in him and his English associate.
It would probably astonish most readers to be told that English literature is singularly deficient in sea songs, when they have in memory the noble odes of Campbell, the long list of the Tom Bow­lings and Jack Junks of Dibdin, Cherry's Bay of Biscay and The Minute Gun at Sea, and the many good songs about ships and sea fights by Barry Cornwall, Cunningham, and many others. But these songs were not written by sailors. There never has been any English sailor, except the re­spectable William Falconer, the author of The Shipwreck, in several cantos of desiccated decasyl­labic verse, who has written of the sea in verse from the standpoint of actual experience, or to do for it in poetry what Captain Marryat, Michael Scott, and W. Clark Russell have done in prose. English sea songs have been written by landsmen ; even the charming Wapping Old Stairs is a song of the waterside, and not of the ocean; and as for the famous heroes of Dibdin's nautical songs, including Tom Bowling himself, they are very much, as Thackeray said, "har-lar" Mr. T. P. Cooke, the actor, who personated the gallant Jack Tar in a very blue jacket with very bright buttons,
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