Ocean Burial, The
DESCRIPTION: The dying sailor speaks of his loved ones and pleads with his shipmates not to be buried at sea. They do it anyway
AUTHOR: Words: Rev. Edwin H. Chapin
EARLIEST DATE: 1839 (Southern Literary Messenger; set to music 1850)
KEYWORDS: burial death dying sailor
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (12 citations):
Doerflinger, pp. 162-163, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman, p. 437, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text)
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 139-143, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 55, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text)
BrownII 261, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text)
Linscott, pp. 245-248, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text, 1 tune)
Beck-Maine, pp. 176-176, "The Ocean Burial or The Sailor's Grave" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 151-152, "Bury Me Not in the Deep Deep Sea" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard, #93, "O Bury Me Not in the Deep Blue Sea" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1644, p. 111, "The Ocean Burial" (3 references)
cf. Fuld, pp. 396-398, "Oh, Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie"
ADDITIONAL: Tristram P. Coffin and Hennig Cohen, _Folklore in America: Tales, Songs, Superstitions, Proverbs, Riddles, Games, Folk Drama and Folk Festivals_, Doubleday, 1966, pp. 61-62, "The Ocean Burial" (1 text, 1 tune)
ST FR437 (Full)
Eugene Jemison, "The Ocean Burial" (on Jem01)
LOCSheet, sm1850 470190, "The Ocean Burial," Oliver Ditson (Boston), 1850 (tune)
cf. "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie" [Laws B2] (rework of this piece)
NOTES: The 1850 sheet music of this piece credits the entire thing to George N. Allen. Since the poem was published under Edwin H. Chapin's name (as "The Ocean Buried!"), this must mean that Allen set the music. Allen's tune, however, is NOT what we know as "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie." Nor is it the related tune Gordon Bok calls the "Texas Song" (see the index entry on "Going to Leave Old Texas (Old Texas, Texas Song, The Cowman's Lament)."
To add to the confusion, Belden lists the author as William H. Sanders, based apparently on Fulton and Trueblood's Choice Readings.
The singer Ossian Dodge is reported to have been performing the piece as early as 1845. I have been unable to determine the tune he used.
On the whole, I think we must list the author of the music to this piece as "unknown."
Laws does not include this piece as one of his ballads, but gives a text (from oral tradition!) in NAB, pp. 80-81. - RBW
And just to add to the confusion, see the sheet music for "The Sailor Boy's Grave" in the Lester Levy collection, where the boy asks *not* to be buried on land, but rather "let me sleep 'neath the silent waves/The sea-nymphs watching over me." That is credited to "J. Martin, Esq. (of Clifton)," and carries a date of 1841; it seems to be an "answer song" to "The Ocean Burial," although the latter had apparently not yet been set to music. The tune is not the same as "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie," and is in fact rather dull. - PJS
References for "The Sailor Boy's Grave":
LOCSheet, sm1841 381040, "The Sailor Boy's Grave," F. D. Benteen (Boston), 1841; also sm1841 381050, sm1845 401960, "The Sailor Boy's Grave" (tune)
LOCSinging, as112080, "The Sailor Boy's Grave," Thos. G. Doyle (Baltimore), 19C - BS
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