Island Unknown, The

DESCRIPTION: Singer has led a reckless life; leaving home, he joins the US Navy. His ship is wrecked in a storm. The lone survivor, he makes his way to a desert island. Resigned to death, he writes his life story, hopes his body will be found, and bids farewell
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (recording, Eck Robertson)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer says he has led a reckless life; leaving home, true love and parents, he joins the "jolly band" (of the US Navy). He sails, while they (and he) lament. After three weeks, his ship is wrecked in a storm. The lone survivor, he clings to wreckage, and makes his way to a desert island where no one has been before. Resigning himself to death, he writes his life story in a diary, and hopes his body will someday be found; he bids farewell to his loved ones
KEYWORDS: grief homesickness farewell parting separation travel death sea ship disaster storm wreck family lover sailor
FOUND IN: US(So)
Roud #17557
RECORDINGS:
Eck Robertson & Family, "The Island Unknown - Parts 1 & 2" (Victor 40166, 1929; on ConstSor1)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "William and Harriet" [Laws M7] (some plot parallels)
NOTES: The parallel with "William and Harriet" is obvious: a desert island, starvation, death. But the circumstances of his leaving home are different, and he is traveling alone when shipwrecked rather than with his sweetheart. Those are enough differences for me to classify this as a separate ballad -- but see the cross-reference nonetheless. - PJS
File: RcIslUnk

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