This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Saturday Rave: Tom Bowling by Charles Dibdin.

Charles Dibdin was a composer of operas, an actor, a singer, and a song writer. His patriotic songs were so popular that the government of the day gave Dibdin a pension of £200 a year for his contribution to the war effort against Napoleon. 

(That seems odd, but I suppose this was pretty-much the equivalent of a government nowadays paying an agency to run a Facebook campaign.)

Dibdin's most famous song is probably Tom Bowling, a naval song written, not in return for the pension, but as a response to the death of his eldest brother, Captain Thomas Dibdin (our Dibdin, Charles, is said to have been the youngest of eighteen children, and born when his mother was fifty).

Tom Bowling is a great song, though Dibdin gets his naval terms in a bit of a mix: a sheer hulk isn't a total wreck, but a hulk (a ship not designed to go to sea) carrying sheers, which are used as a crane.

Here's Dibdin, a man of great charm (though a bit of a bounder as far as women were concerned):

and here is Tom Bowling, sung by the wonderful Robert Tear:

Not a dry eye in the house...

Word To Use Today: hulk. This word comes from the Old English hulc, from the Greek holkas, barge, from helkein, to tow.

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