Songs of Sea Labour

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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Songs of Sea Labour (1914)

Songs of Sea Labour is a book written by Frank T. Bullen and W. F. Arnold published in may 1914 by The Orpheus Music Publishing Co. and including an appreciation written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Appreciation by Arthur Conan Doyle


You have done real good national work in helping to preserve these fine old Chanties. Like yourself I have heard them many a time when I have been bending to the rhythm as we hauled up the heavy whaling beats to their davits. It is wonderful how their musical rise and fall, with the pull coming on the main note, lightened the labour. I fear in these days of steam winches that the old stamp-and-go of ten men on a rope is gone for ever. And yet your book will help to preserve it, and to those who know and can feel, there is a smack of salt spray in every line of these rude virile verses. To them once again will come back the creak of the blocks as the falls whine through them, and the dead heavy lurch as the boat jerks upwards. As I glance through your pages and see "On the plains of Mexico," "Blow the man down," or "Rio Grande," I can hardly think of any words or tunes that appeal more intimately to all the spirit of adventure that life has left in me. I only wish you were here to sing them yourself in your inimitable way.

Yours cordially,


April 4th, 1914.