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.                     13
lost, although there is a strong vitality to anything that is good; but except Robert Kidd, Sailing down on the High Barbarie, Captain Glen, Jacky Tar with his Trousers on, — the immortal song which appealed to the feeling heart of Captain Edward Cuttle,—
I know you would have me wed a farmer, And not give me my heart's delight ;
Give me the lad whose tarry trousers Shine to me like diamonds bright,—
The Mermaid, and few others, there is nothing which indicates that the British sailor was given to expressing himself in verse beyond the simple exi­gencies of the shanty. The case was very much the same with the American, and, under ordinary cir­cumstances, it would be as vain to look for poetical feeling in the shrewd, practical-minded, and gritty New England seaman as in his more stolid and coarse-fibred English associate. Nevertheless, so much of the best spirit of the American people was once turned toward the sea for its field of action, its naval history has been so inspiring to national pride, and its record of adventure in all parts of the world has been so remarkable that it would have been impossible that it should not have pro­duced some worthy or at least illustrative fruit in poetry.
The era of the Revolution was not distinguished
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