Studies In Folk-song And Popular Poetry

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

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12                   AMERICAN SEA SONGS.
and very white duck trousers, and appealed to " England, Home, and Beauty " as represented in the cits of the gallery at Sadler's Wells theatre. Dibdin's heroes smell of stage gas rather than of tar, and their purpose and effect were very much more to persuade susceptible landsmen that the British navy was an elysium, in which beating Frenchmen was a glorious episode in an existence devoted mainly to passing the can between decks at sea and basking in the smiles of lovely Nan and faithful Poll on shore, than to tell what the seamen themselves really felt about it. The writers of the ordinary English sea songs had their lodgings in the neighborhood of Drury Lane rather than in the forecastle, and their inspiration was as strictly commercial as that of Mr. Slum, who supplied the anagrams and acrostics announcing the treasures in Mrs. Jarley's waxworks. Some of them are good in their way, as are a few of those of Dibdin and Andrew Cherry, and particularly The Saucy Arethusa, in which there is a real flavor of the sea spirit, and which was written by one Prince Hoare, a comic opera libretto writer of sixty years ago; the author, by the way, of Mrs. Micawber's favorĀ­ite song, Little Tafflin with the Silken Sash. But when one comes to look for real forecastle songs, written by a sailor, and smelling of pitch and tar, one finds very few. Doubtless some have been
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