A few days ago, sorting out old boxes of family photographs, we came across a most marvelous little album. It was not a photograph album but rather a scrap book of mementos containing quotations, dedications from friends, pressed flowers, and all sorts. The dated items showed it was from around 1903.
On one page we found a poem, written down by Bessie Powell herself, but untitled and unattributed. We were so taken by this poem that we immediately decided we wanted to post it on Litrasaurus.
However, before we could post it we wanted to know something about it – we knew nothing, not even the title or author – indeed it could have been composed by Bessie herself for all we knew.
The first thing we found was a reference to just the first verse. This was in “Jacob Faithfull” written by Captain Frederick Marryat in 1834 (Book Six of the Marryat Cycle). In the book Jacob sings this first verse.
By the way, if Captain Marryat is familiar to you he was probably best known for writing “The Children of the New Forest”.
Marryat was, though, also an early pioneer of the sea story, including his semi-autobiographical novel “Mr Midshipman Easy” (another interesting bit of trivia is that he was a friend of Charles Dickens). However, this was a reference to only the first verse, not the entire poem that Bessie had written in her scrap book.
Finally we found the full poem which appeared in “The Old Sailor’s Jolly Boat” published by M H Barker in 1844. It was not attributed and, given that it was published, unattributed, a full ten years after Captain Marryat included a verse in his narrative, we assume that this must have been a popular sea song of the time.
We can find no other trace of it. Given this we fear that it risks extinction so all the more reason for Litrasaurus to share it !
Litrasaurus is very keen on keeping books, and stories, and poems alive – as Charlotte says “I give you Litrasaurus and these characters so that stories may never end and books become extinct as, sadly, so many creatures over time have done – use them to inspire and create flights of fantasy to delight yourselves, or your children and their children – create wondrous new worlds or imagine past worlds but never let imagination die – use these tools and characters to share experiences, places, thoughts, or ideas with others”.
It was particularly special that here we were finding this apparently lost poem in an old family scrap book.
There were many other poems in the scrap book but we thought this one particularly lovely, albeit it is technically a sea song rather than a poem. Below are two more from Bessie Powell’s scrap book. The one is a quote from Byron, but the other one we are not sure … maybe you know, or perhaps it is another lost poem to be saved from extinction ?