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to darken the air two or three hundred
miles off, and to form a bed in the sea two
feet thick and several miles wide, which
produced a shoal on the west side of
Sumatra. In Java, these ashes produced
a darkness more intense than that of night.
The sea rose suddenly on the coast of
Sumbawa from two to twelve feet, causing
a wave which rushed violently up all the
rivers, and placed the town of Tomboro
under water. So far as we are aware, this
distance is the greatest at which sound has
ever been heard.

                  ON THE THAMESJULY.

TURNED the mill to measured music, fell in soft
     cascades the spray,
Throwing clouds of silver showers on the eddies clear as
Leapt the troutling idly darting from some root-encircled
Bent the bulrush, blushed the mallow, smiled the blue

Sailed the white swans by the rushes, fanned their proud
     wings in the breeze,
Fell the flakes of summer blossom from the overladen
Sang the river with a ripple of its clear and crystal
As the sleeper stirs in slumber at the bidding of a

Whistled loud the sturdy rustic, though no longer sped
     the plough,
Chirped the cricket in the clover, chirped the brown
     wren on the bough;
Oh, that sin should e'er beset us from the moment of our
Oh, that grief should ever sadden this glad garden-land
     of Earth!

Lay the miller's boy a-dreaming in the flower-sprinkled
Blithely carolled, in the morning air, the miller's comely
Hearts are tuned to Nature's music, when her face is
     smiling fair,
And 'tis happiness in summer but to feel the sun and

Oh, that flowers e'er should wither; oh, that storms
     should e'er arise
To draw their sombre veiling o'er the calm blue of the
Yet it is so, it must be so: we could have no daybreak
If it were not that the dawn must be preceded by the


IN a recent paper* we quoted the assertion
of somebody who ought to have
known better, that "in spite of the
glory of their navy, the English have only
one thoroughly good sea song, which,
singularly enough, was written by Mr.
Hoare, an Irishman."  Shades of Martyn
Parker, Lord Buckhurst, John Gay, James
Thomson, David Garrick, Charles and
Thomas Dibdin, and Thomas Campbell
what would you say to this astounding
piece of information if it could reach you in
Elysium? As a matter of fact, the
"thoroughly good" English sea songs, not
written by Irishmen (a people who make
first-rate soldiers, but very bad sailors),
may be reckoned by scores, if not by
hundreds, and form a branch of English literature
that reflects honour on the patriotic
poets who devoted their genius to celebrate
the naval triumphs of their country.

* See ALL THE YEAR ROUND, New Series, vol. iii.,
p. 616.

It was not until the days of Cromwell
that the prowess of Great Britain upon the
ocean became so much superior to that of
Holland, France, and Spain, as to stir up
the pride of the people, and provoke an
enthusiasm which the poets put into
language, and the musicians into music.
Previous to that time England scarcely
possessed any sea songs, properly so-called.
Amid the snatches of old songs and lyrics
that are scattered through the plays of
Shakespeare, there is no trace of a sea
song, unless Stephano's song in the
Tempest, The Master, the Swabber, the
Boatswain, and I, can be so considered. Ben
Jonson, and his contemporary dramatists,
are equally silent. The earliest English sea
song extant, as far as has yet been
discovered, dates from 1576. It is a very poor
composition, and refers only to sea life in
the merchant service. The second stanza
shows that fighting was not in the mind of
the minstrel who wrote it:

Our flags be new trimmed, sit flaunting aloft,
    Our ship for swift swimming, oh, she doth excel,
We fear no enemies, we've escaped them oft,
    Of all ships that swimmeth she beareth the bell.

The first real, unmistakable, sea song
that ever became popular in England was
Martyn Parker's song, Ye Gentlemen of
England, to the old air of The Stormy
Winds do Blow. The earliest copy is in
the Pepys' Collection, and is entitled
"Saylers for my Money; a new ditty
composed in the praise of saylers and sea
affairs, briefly showing the nature of so
worthy a calling and effects of their
industry, to the tune of the Jovial Cobbler."
After the restoration of Charles the Second,
the song was remodelled, improved,
extended, and continually altered whenever
a sea fight and a victory called for the
addition of a new name and a new event to
British history. The brave old song
became braver and braver as time rolled on,
with such spirited interpolations as the
following stanza every now and then