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PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION,
Is presenting another edition of this little work, the Compiler would gratefully acknowledge the kind reception accorded it by the press, the public, and the sailor, He fondly hopes that, in its improved appearance, it will still farther deserve their approbation, either as a valuable cabinet of " Pearls of the Ocean," or as an agreeable companion, not only to those who “go down to the sea in ships," but also to those who stray along its breezy shore, and whose contemplations embrace both the wonders of creative power, and the gitater wonders of redeeming love, and result in the adoration of "God manifest in the flesh."
The position of Minister of a Mariners' Church, which the compiler of this volume has occupied for several years, has frequently brought him into contact with scenes that were highly calculated both to excite his feelings and impress his mind. These feelings and impressions he was often induced to embody in a poetic form, with a view either to the gratification of those more immediately involved, or the improvement of others whose sympathies were awakened by these events. When these effusions had increased to a considerable number, he was frequently urged to publish them in a collected form; and these requests have latterly come from the opposite sides of the globe, where some who were formerly members of his flock now seek employment and a home. He had, however, often meditated a far more extensive plan, embracing a selection of Poetry, connected with the Ocean, that might be useful to the sailor, and not unacceptable to those landsmen who were interested in the sea; and, in a maritime and commercial country like Britain, these ought to constitute a very numerous class.
It had occurred to him that the best way of classifying these pieces, would be to produce a thread of narrative, in which the Sea, the Ship, and the Sailor, might have been physically, historically, and morally discussed, and on which thread his poetical selections might have been strung, like so many “ orient pearls;” but he was led to abandon this design, on finding that it would have produced a volume so large as would have defeated his object in obtaining for these poems the widest possible circulation. The reader, however, will still perceive that the original design has had its influence in the arrangement of the pieces that compose the volume.
The origin of poetry is deeply seated in the human constitution,-a spring that has in all ages afforded streams that have powerfully influenced the human mind, either for good or evil, according as it has either been purified by grace, or has retained its original depravity; and there are few classes of men that are more affected by song than sailors; and in this volume an attempt has been made to furnish their growing intelligence with poetry of a higher order than that to which they have generally been accustomed. It is an instructive fact that, in some ancient languages, the same word was employed to express both prophet and poet. The earliest heaven-accredited prophets conveyed their communications in strains of poetry, either the most sublime or pathetic, as the nature of their subject required. Ought we not from this circumstance to learn, that the proper end of poetry is to elevate and purify the soul, and not merely to afford the transient pleasure of an imitative art; and that, when the power of the poet is exerted to gratify the degraded, or stimulate the sensual, his productions ought to be spurned as un