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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 Lieblinge 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.

For sailors were born for all weathers,

Great guns let it blow high, blow low,
I sailed from the Downs in the Nancy,

Our duty keeps us to our tethers,
My jib how she smack'd through the breeze, And where the gale drives we must go.
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,

Tom Bowling.
Great guns let it blow high, blow low,
Our duty keeps us to our tethers,

Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling, And where the gale drives we must go.

The darling of our crew;
No more he'll hear the tempest howling,

For death has broach'd him to.
When we enter'd the gut of Gibraltar,
I verily thought she'd have sunk;

His form was of the manliest beauty,
For the wind so began for to alter,

His heart was kind and soft; She yaw'd just as thof she was drunk.

Faithful below he did his duty,
The squall tore the mainsail to shivers,

And now he's gone aloft.
Helm a-weather, the hoarse boatswain cries;
Brace the foresail athwart, see she quivers,

Tom never from his word departed,
As through the rude tempest she flies.

His virtues were so rare;

His friends were many, and trụe-hearted,
The storm came on thicker and faster,

His Poll was kind and fair.
As black just as pitch was the sky;
When truly a doleful disaster

And then he'd sing so blithe and jolly,
Befel three poor sailors and I:

Ah! many's the time and oft ;
Ben Buntline, Sam Shroud, and Dick Handsail, But mirth is turn’d to melancholy,
By a blast that came furious and hard,

For Tom is gone aloft.
Just while we were furling the mainsail
Were every soul swept from the yard.

Yet shall poor Tom find pleasant weather,

When He who all commands

Shall give, to call life's crew together, Poor Ben, Sar and Dick cried Peccavi;

The word to pipe all hands.
As for I, at the risk of my neck,
While they sunk down in peace to old Davy, Thus death, who kings and tars dispatches,
Caught a rope and so landed on deck :

In vain Tom's life has doff'd;
Well, what would you have? we were stranded, For though his body's under hatches,
And out of a fine jolly crew

His soul is gone aloft.
Of three hundred that sail'd, never landed

But I, and I think twenty-two.

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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.

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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Sweet to poise the labouring oar,

The roaring winds, the raging sea, That tugs us to our native shore,

In hopes on shore,
When the boatswain pipes the barge to man: To be once more
Sweet sailing with a fav’rite breeze;

Safe moor'd with thee.
But, oh! much sweeter than all these,
Is Jack's delight, his lovely Nan.

Aloft, while mountains high we go,

The whistling winds that scud along,

And the surge roaring from below, The needle, faithful to the north,

Shall my signal be To shew of constancy the worth,

To think on thee, A curious lesson teaches man;

And this shall be my song, The needle, time may rust, a squall

Blow high, blow low, etc. Capsize the binnacle and all, Let seamanship do all it can:

And on that night, when all the crew My love in worth shall higher rise,

The mem'ry of their former lives Nor time shall rust, nor squalls capsize

O'er flowing cans of flip renew, My faith and truth to lovely Nan.

And drink their sweethearts and their wives,

I'll heave a sigh, and think on thee; When in the bilboes I was penn'd,

And as the ship rolls through the sea, For serving of a worthless friend,

The burthen of my song shall be, And ev'ry creature from me ran;

Blow high, blow low, etc.
No ship, performing quarantine,
Was ever so deserted seen;
None hailed me,
woman, child, nor man:

Bold Jack.
But though false friendship's sails were furl'd
Though cut adrift by all the world,

While up the shrouds the sailor goes,
I'd all the world in lovely Nan.

Or ventures on the yard;
The landsman, who no better knows,

Believes his lot is hard,
I love my duty, love my friend,

Bold Jack, with smiles, each danger meets, Love truth and merit to defend,

Casts anchor, heaves the log, To mourn their loss who hazard ran;

Trims all the sails, belays the sheets,
I love to take an honest part,

And drinks his can of grog.
Love beauty and a spotless heart,
By manners love to show the man:

When mountains high the waves that swell To sail through life by honour's breeze,

The vessel rudely bear, 'Twas all along of loving these

Now sinking in a hollow dell, First made me doat on lovely Nan.

Now quivering in the air:

Bold Jack, with smiles, etc.

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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. 0. S. 107): “Johanna Baillie oder Schwester Jobanna, 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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Thy downcast glances, grave, but cunning,

As fringed eyelids rise and fall; Thy shyness swiftly from me running, 'Tis infantine coquetry all!

The Kitten.

Wanton drole, whose harmless play But far a-field thou hast not flown,

Beguiles the rustic's closing day, With mocks and threats, half lisped, half When drawn the evening fire about,


Sit aged Crone and thoughtless Lout, I feel thee pulling at my gown,

And child upon his three-foot stool,
Of right good will thy simple token.

Waiting till his supper cool;
And maid, whose cheek outblooms the rose,

As bright the blazing faggot glows,
And thou must laugh, and wrestle too,

Who, bending to the friendly light, A mimic warfare with me waging!

Plies her task with busy sleight: To make, as wily lovers do,

Come, shew thy tricks and sportive graces Thy after kindness more engaging!

Thus circled round with merry faces.

Backward coiled, and crouching low, The wilding rose sweet as thyself

With glaring eye-balls watch thy foe, And new-cropt daisies are thy treasure; The house wife's spindle whirling round, I'd gladly part with worldly pelf,

Or thread, or straw, that on the ground To taste again thy youthful pleasure. Its shadow throws, by urchin sly

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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,
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

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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