This ballad begins: 'The sea! the sea! the open sea! / The blue, the fresh, the ever free! / Without a mark, without a bound, / It runneth the earth's wide regions round.' The broadside was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow. It is not dated, but was probably published either between 1852 and 1859, or between 1891 and 1894, when Lindsay is known to have had premises at 9 King Street.
'The Sea!', written around 1837, is the best known work of the minor English poet Bryan Waller Procter or 'Barry Cornwall' (1787-1874). Procter was born in Leeds but spent most of his time in London, where his poetry and biographies were published and his plays performed. Although he is remembered for little more than 'The Sea' today, Procter's work was popular during his lifetime and attracted praise from poets such as Charles Lamb (1775-1834) and A.C. Swinburne (1837-1909), who are regarded now as far greater writers.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Possible date of publication:
1891-1894 shelfmark: RB.m.169(139)
View larger image