Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features two children who were Titanic orphans: along with their father they were passengers on the Titanic and whilst they were saved their father perished in the tragedy. It started me thinking about the dangers of the sea and that led me to another of the vintage postcards from the collection of my Great-Uncle, Fowler Beanland. The postcard features an illustration of a ship's pilot and a young girl, along with the first verse of a ballad written by the nineteenth century poet and songwriter, Thomas Haynes Bayly. The Pilot is the kind of ballad that gave the nineteenth century a bad reputation: a sticky concoction of melodrama and sentimentality. Brace yourself, here is the ballad in full:-
"Oh! Pilot! 'tis a fearful night, there's danger on the deep,
I'll come and pace the deck with thee, I do not dare to sleep."
"Go down," the sailor cried, "go down, this is no place for thee;
Fear not! but trust in Providence, wherever thou mayst be."
"Ah! Pilot, dangers often met, we all are apt to slight,
And thou hast known these raging waves, but to subdue their might",
"It is not apathy," he cried, "that gives this strength to me,
Fear not but trust in Providence, wherever thou mayst be.
On such a night the sea engulfed my father's lifeless form;
My only brother's boat went down, in just so wild a storm;
And such, perhaps, may be my fate, but still I say to thee,
Fear not but trust in Providence, wherever thou mayst be."
You have to admit, it is hardly Bob Dylan! I tried to find a musical rendition of the song on YouTube in the hope that it might grow on me when I heard it sung, but nobody has dared to share one yet. Perhaps those two young children who feature in our theme image, feared not but trusted in Providence, who knows. But if they had placed their trust in the White Star Line providing sufficient lifeboats, that trust had been clearly misplaced.
I have just remembered that I have recently booked a Baltic cruise for the summer, so I am off to source a copy of the music so that I can learn to sing it. Just the thing for the passenger talent contest.
See what other Sepians are up to this weekend by visiting the Sepia Saturday Blog, wherever thou mayst be.