Far, Far at Sea
DESCRIPTION: "'Twas night, when the bell had struck twelve, And poor Susan was laid on her pillow, In her ear whispered... 'Your love now lies toss'd on a billo, Far, far at sea." Awakening in a fright, she finds no reason to believe, but still she fears it true
AUTHOR: Music: C. H. Florio
EARLIEST DATE: 1837 (The Vocal Companion), but reportedly some decades older
KEYWORDS: dream sailor death separation
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Gray, p. 115, "Far, Far at Sea" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: (no author listed), "The Vocal Companion_, second edition, D'Almaine and Co., 1937 (available from Google Books), pp. 68-69, "Far, Far at Sea" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES: This is a bit of a conundrum. We have testimony that a piece "Far, Far at Sea" was sung by Charles Incledon (1763-1826), and the evidence is that it is this song. There are many broadsides (some cited by Gray, others found in the Roud broadside catalog), although as of 2009 I could not find a copy in any of the major online broadside catalogs.
But is it a folk song? It sounds a bit like a worn-down version of "Mary o' the Dee (Mary's Dream)" [Laws K20], perhaps with an echo of "Susan Strayed on the Briny Beach" [Laws K19] being responsible for the name of the girl. It seems to have been very popular for a time, then faded completely. I include it only very tentatively. - RBW
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