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Charles Dibdin, der Sohn eines Silberarbeiters, ward 1745 in Southampton geboren und ging frühzeitig nach London, um dort durch Lieder und Balladen sein Glück zu machen, musste sich aber als Klavierstimmer forthelfen. 1762 ward er Schauspieler und bald auch Schauspieldichter und lieferte nun hinter einander mehr als hundert Bühnenstücke; dennoch starb er 1814 in Dürftigkeit.

Seinen eigentlichen Ruhm erntete Dibdin als Volksdichter, er hat nahe an 1200 Lieder hinterlassen und die Mehrzahl derselben auch selbst in Musik gesetzt; viele davon sind in das Volk gedrungen und finden sich in Aller Mund, ganz vorzüglich aber im Mund der Seeleute, deren Lieb

linge sie sind. Reich an tüchtiger, patriotischer Gesinnung, einfach, warm, natürlich, gefühlvoll, erfüllen sie alle Anforderungen, die man an populäre Poesie machen kann und verdienen durchaus die Verbreitung, die sie fanden.

I sailed from the Down.

I sailed from the Downs in the Nancy,
My jib how she smack'd through the breeze,

She's a vessel as light to my fancy,

As ever sail'd on the salt seas.

So, adieu! to the white cliffs of Britain,

Our girls, and our dear native shore; For if some hard rock we should split on, We shall never see them any more. But sailors were born for all weathers, Great guns let it blow high, blow low, Our duty keeps us to our tethers,

And where the gale drives we must go.

When we enter'd the gut of Gibraltar,

I verily thought she'd have sunk; For the wind so began for to alter,

She yaw'd just as thof she was drunk.
The squall tore the mainsail to shivers,

Helm a-weather, the hoarse boatswain cries;
Brace the foresail athwart, see she quivers,
As through the rude tempest she flies.

The storm came on thicker and faster,

As black just as pitch was the sky; When truly a doleful disaster

Befel three poor sailors and I:

Ben Buntline, Sam Shroud, and Dick Handsail,
By a blast that came furious and hard,
Just while we were furling the mainsail
Were every soul swept from the yard.

Poor Ben, Sam, and Dick cried Peccavi;
As for I, at the risk of my neck,
While they sunk down in peace to old Davy,
Caught a rope and so landed on deck:

Well, what would you have? we were stranded,
And out of a fine jolly crew

Of three hundred that sail'd, never landed
But I, and I think twenty-two.

After thus we at sea had miscarried,
Another guess-way sat the wind;
For to England I came and got married,
To a lass that was comely and kind:
But whether for joy or vexation,

We know not for what we were born;
Perhaps I may find a kind station,
Perhaps I may touch at Cape Horn.

For sailors were born for all weathers,
Great guns let it blow high, blow low,

Our duty keeps us to our tethers,
And where the gale drives we must go.

Tom Bowling.

Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling,
The darling of our crew;

No more he'll hear the tempest howling,
For death has broach'd him to.

His form was of the manliest beauty,
His heart was kind and soft;
Faithful below he did his duty,
And now he's gone aloft.

Tom never from his word departed,
His virtues were so rare;

His friends were many, and true-hearted,
His Poll was kind and fair.

And then he'd sing so blithe and jolly,
Ah! many's the time and oft;
But mirth is turn'd to melancholy,
For Tom is gone aloft.

Yet shall poor Tom find pleasant weather,
When He who all commands

Shall give, to call life's crew together,
The word to pipe all hands.

Thus death, who kings and tars dispatches,
In vain Tom's life has doff'd;
For though his body's under hatches,
His soul is gone aloft.

Lovely Nan.

Sweet is the ship that under sail
Spreads her bosom to the gale:
Sweet, oh! sweet's the flowing can;

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Joanna Baillie ward um 1764 zu Bothwell in Schottland, wo ihr Vater Prediger war, geboren. Sie zog nach ihrer Eltern Tode nach Edinburg, dann nach London, wo sie am Längsten verweilte und darauf nach Hampstead, wo sie gegenwärtig in hohem Alter und unvermählt, noch lebt.

Ihre bedeutendste dichterische Leistung ist eine Reihe von Dramen, in welchen sie die vorherrschenden Leidenschaften der Menschen zu characterisiren sucht (A Series of Plays in which it is attempted to delineate the stronger passions of the mind. London 1798 fgde. 2 Bde., deutsch von Cramer, Leipzig 1806), welche aber nicht für die scenische Darstellung bestimmt sind. Ausserdem hat sie noch einige andere Dramen und kleine lyrische Poesieen geschrieben.

Allan Cunningham urtheilt sehr richtig von ihr (am ang. O. S. 107): "Johanna Baillie oder Schwester Johanna, wie Walter Scott sie gern nannte, ist eine Dichterin von grossem Verdienste und vielseitigem Talent, kräftig und mild, sarkastisch und rührend, natürlich und heroisch zu gleicher Zeit. Sie wagte sich an die Schilderung der Leidenschaften in dramatischen Gemälden und entwickelte dabei so mannichfache Kräfte, dass sie der weibliche Shakspeare genannt worden ist. In ihren anderen Gedichten herrscht viel Adel des Gefühls und ihre Lieder besitzen alle das Leben, den Humor und die Einfachheit der älteren schottischen Balladen.

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With mocks and threats, half lisped, half When drawn the evening fire about,

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Sit aged Crone and thoughtless Lout,
And child upon his three-foot stool,
Waiting till his supper cool;

And maid, whose cheek outblooms the rose,
As bright the blazing faggot glows,
Who, bending to the friendly light,
Plies her task with busy sleight:

Come, shew thy tricks and sportive graces
Thus circled round with merry faces.

Backward coiled, and crouching low,
With glaring eye-balls watch thy foe,
The house wife's spindle whirling round,
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
Its shadow throws, by urchin sly

Held out to lure thy roving eye;
Then, onward stealing, fiercely spring
Upon the futile, faithless thing.

Now, wheeling round, with bootless skill,
Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still,
As oft beyond thy curving side
Its jetty tip is seen to glide;
Till, from thy centre starting far,

Thou sidelong rear'st, with tail in air,
Erected stiff, and gait awry,
Like Madam in her tantrums high;
Though ne'er a Madam of them all,
Whose silken kirtle sweeps the hall,
More varied trick and whim displays,
To catch the admiring stranger's gaze.
Doth power in measured verses dwell,
All thy vagaries wild to tell?

Ah no! the start, the jet, the bound,
The giddy scamper round and round,
With leap, and jerk, and high curvet,
And many a whirling somerset,
(Permitted be the modern Muse
Expression technical to use,)

These mock the deftliest rhymester's skill,
But poor in art, though rich in will.

The nimblest tumbler, stage-bedight,

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To thee is but a clumsy wight,
Who every limb and sinew strains
To do what costs thee little pains,
For which, I trow, the gaping crowd
Requites him oft with plaudits loud.
But, stopped the while thy wanton play,
Applauses too, thy feats repay:
For then, beneath some urchin's hand,
With modest pride thou takest thy stand,
While many a stroke of fondness glides
Along thy back and tabby sides;
Dilated swells thy glossy fur,
And loudly sings thy busy pur,
As, timing well the equal sound,
Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
And all their harmless claws disclose,
Like prickles of an early rose;
While softly from thy whiskered cheek
Thy half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.
But not alone, by cottage fire,
Do rustics rude thy tricks admire;
The learned sage, whose thoughts explore
The widest range of human lore,
Or, with unfettered fancy, fly
Through airy heights of poesy,
Pausing, smiles, with altered air,
To see thee climb his elbow chair;
Or, struggling on the mat below,
Hold warfare with his slippered toe.
The widowed dame, or lonely maid,
Who in the still, but cheerless shade

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Of home unsocial, spends her age,
And rarely turns a lettered page;
Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
The rounded cork, or paper ball;
Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch
The ends of ravelled skein to catch,
But lets thee have thy wayward will,
Perplexing oft her sober skill.
Even he, whose mind of gloomy bent,
In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the wit of former days,
And loathes the world and all its ways;
What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
Doth rouse him from his moody dream,
Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
His heart with pride less fiercely beat,
And smiles, a link in thee to find,
That joins him still to living kind.

Whence hast thou, then, thou witless puss,
The magic power to charm us thus?
Is it, that in thy glaring eye
And rapid movements, we descry,
While we at ease, secure from ill,
The chimney-corner snugly fill,
A lion, darting on the prey?
A tiger, at his ruthless play?
Or, is it, that in thee we trace,
With all thy varied wanton grace,
An emblem, viewed with kindred eye,
Of tricksy, restless infancy?
Ah! many a lightly-sportive child,
Who hath, like thee, our wits beguiled,
To dull and sober manhood grown,
With strange recoil our hearts disown.
Even so, poor Kit! must thou endure,
When thou becomest a cat demure,
Full many a cuff and angry word,
Chid roughly from the tempting board.
And yet, for that thou hast, I ween,
So oft our favoured playmate been,
Soft be the change which thou shalt prove,
When time hath spoiled thee of our love;
Still be thou deemed, by housewife fat,
A comely, careful, mousing cat,
Whose dish is, for the public good,
Replenished oft with savoury food.

Nor, when thy span of life be past, Be thou to pond or dunghill cast; But gently borne on good man's spade, Beneath the decent sod be laid; And children show, with glistening eyes, The place where poor old Pussy lies.

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