The Sailor's Grave (William J Carey) MIDIs
Scene: Ancient Troy - Time: December, 1849.

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To the air of:
The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls
by Thomas Moore [1779-1852]

There is a wild and lonely place,
where Arabs wandering rest,
Gazing o'er the Ægean Sea
to view its foaming crest;
On a small low sandy isle,
where angry waters lave,
Where Christian friendships never smile,
we dug a sailor's grave.

We buried him at close of day,
upon that gloomy shore,
And silently gazed on his clay,
we rowed our boat once more;
From the land of the Saracen
out o'er that antien wave,
And oft we took a farewell look
upon the sailor's grave.

No cross we raised to mark
the place this Christian sleeper lay;
No mother dear to shed a tear -
to gaze thereon or pray;
No sister - with a weeping face -
among that few so brave;
But! a farewell tear, from messmates there,
slid in the sailor's grave.

His hammock was his winding sheet,
his Requiem the surges roar,
The dashing glee of that Orient sea
along that dismal shore;
Where the gazelles in wild career
from some lone mountain cave,
Dash near the place, a Christian face
sleeps in a sailor's grave.

####.... William J Carey of St John's, NL, and Tewksbury, MA ....####
Excerpted from the Newfoundland Quarterly, volume 01, number 4, March, 1902, p.20, under the title: "Past Memory; Or, A Spark From The Recollections Of A Wanderer."
The editor and publisher of the Newfoundland Quarterly, John J Evans [1861-1944], received a reply to a letter for a contribution from W J Carey, which included some of the St John's Balladeer's songs which Evans published. As an introduction to this song, Carey wrote: "In December, 1849, a young man died - a messmate of mine - who was born in Newfoundland, but some years away under a different name, as was the sad custom of that period, chiefly on account of deserting from ship to ship. I found many of my old school-mates in the British navy under strange foreign names, who were for many years lost to their people in Newfoundland. Where once flourished the great city of Troy, destroyed by the Greeks, according to Homeric history, through the rape of Helen by Paris, son of King Priam of the Ægean Islands. It was here the fleet wintered in 1849, awaiting circumstances in Russia who threatened the passage of the Bosphorus of the Golden Horn. And here the subject of my theme was buried on a low mound almost covered by water, as the wild Bashi Bassouks might do violence to a Christian if buried on main land."

From Wikipedia:
Bosphorus aka Istanbul Strait - strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, it connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara (which is connected by the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea.)
Golden Horn - historic inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of years.

Antien - old; previous; former.
Lave - to wash; bathe.
Saracen - Arab; Muslim.


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