Publisher: [Circa 1805].
Condition: Some smearing and ink-blots in Campbell's hand; in very good condition.
Book ID: 27102
DescriptionSingle 19 x 24 cm sheet folded to make four pages. 43 lines, unevenly divided into 4 stanzas: "Ye Mariners of England – / That guard our native seas / Whose flag has braved a thousand years / The battle & the breeze . . ."
CommentsA later draft, with revisions, of the famous naval ode by Scottish poet Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), which sings the praises of the English Navy. It was first composed in 1800 in a moment of patriotic zeal when Campbell was traveling in Europe and heard there was news of pending war with Russia. He sent his completed ode to James Perry of the London Morning Chronicle, with the note: "Alteration of the old ballad 'Ye Gentlemen of England,' composed on the prospect of a Russian war." Campbell's "Ye Mariners of England" was published in the Morning Chronicle, March 18, 1801, but Campbell continued to tinker with the lines, and after Horatio Nelson's death at sea in 1805, he altered two lines in the second stanza to note that the ocean was the grave where glorious Nelson fell. This has been the long-accepted version of the poem. The present draft has three corrections and insertions by Campbell, and the usual published format of four stanzas of ten lines each is expanded here with three additional lines, repeating refrains, such as “As ye sweep through the deep,” as if this version was intended for public reading or singing. There are other minor variations from the established text, including the word “tempest” for “winds,” “glorious” for mighty, etc.