Monday, March 27, 2006


Andrew Marschalk printed the ballad "The Galley Slave" at Walnut Hills (Vicksburg) in 1798. It was the first printed material in Mississippi. "The Galley Slave" is from a musical comedy titled The Purse; or Benevolent Tar, written in London in 1794 by J.C. Cross (lyrics) and William Reeve (music). No copies of Marschalk's edition are known to exist, but "The Galley Slave" was popular enough that the text is available in other forms. This text is taken from a 1797 Boston printing of The Purse; or, Benevolent Tar. See Footnote 54 for references.

The Galley Slave


O! think on my fate! Once I freedom enjoy'd
Was as happy, as happy could be!
But pleasure is fled! — even hope is destroy'd!
A Captive, alas! On the sea!
I was ta'en by the foe — 'twas the fiat of fate
To tear from me her I adore!
When thought brings to mind my once happy state,
I sigh! — while I tug at the oar.


Hard, hard is my fare! Oh! How galling my chain!
My life's steer'd by misery's chart;
And though 'gainst my tyrants I scorn to complain,
Tears gush forth to ease my full heart;
I disdain e'en to shrink, tho' I feel the sharp lash;
Yet my breast bleeds for her I adore!
While around me, the unfeeling billows will dash,
I sigh! — and still tug at the oar.


How Fortune deceives! — I had pleasure in tow,
The port where she dwelt, we'd in view;
But the wish'd nuptial morn was o'erclouded with woe,
And, dear Anna! I was hurried from you!
Our shallop was boarded, and I borne away,
To behold my dear Anna no more!
But despair wastes my spirits, my form feels decay!
He sigh'd — and expir'd at the oar.


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