Monday, November 2, 2009

Henry David Thoreau's Favorite Song

According to author Caroline Mosley, in an article cited on, Henry David Thoreau's favorite popular song was "Tom Bowling," with lyrics by Charles Dibdin. Factoring in time-travel (a form of transcendentalism, arguably), I might have guessed that HDT would have leaned in Bob Dylan's direction. Here are the "Tom Bowling" lyrics:

Tom Bowling

by Charles Dibdin

Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bowling
The darling of the crew;
No more he'll hear the tempest howling
For death has broach'd him to.
His form was of the manliest beauty,
His heart was kind and soft,
Faithful, below he did his duty,
But now he's gone aloft.
Tom never from his word departed,
His virtues were so rare,
His friends were many, and true-hearted,
His Poll was kind and fair;
And then he'd sing so blithe and jolly,
Ah, many's the time and oft!
But mirth has turn'd to melancholy,
For Tom is gone aloft.
Yet shall poor Tom find pleasant weather,
When He, who all commands,
Shall give, to call life's crew together,
The word to pipe all hands.
Thus Death, who kinds and tars despatches,
In vain Tom's life has doff'd,
For, though his body's under hatches
His soul has gone aloft.
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