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Origins: Flying Dutchman

DigiTrad:
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN


Jim Dixon 14 Jun 07 - 10:20 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jul 09 - 03:11 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jul 09 - 03:31 AM
autoharper 30 Jul 09 - 10:30 AM
EBarnacle 30 Jul 09 - 10:53 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jul 09 - 01:56 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: FLYING DUTCHMAN (from Roberts & Barrand)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Jun 07 - 10:20 AM

Another version of this song is already in the Digital Tradition database, but I like this one better, not least because it uses the captain's correct name, Van der Decken, rather than Van Dyke.

There's another thread called Lyr Req: The Flying Dutchman was a phantom ship... but that's about a different song.

Copied from Golden Hind Music:

THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

'Twas on a dark and cheerless night to the southern of the Cape,
When from a strong nor'wester we had just made our escape.
Like an infant in its cradle, all hands lay fast asleep,
And peacefully we sailed along in the bosom of the deep,
And peacefully we sailed along in the bosom of the deep.

Just then, the watchman gave a shout of terror and of fear,
As if he had just gazed upon some sudden danger near.
The sea all round was cloud and foam, and just upon our lee,
We saw the Flying Dutchman come a-bounding o'er the sea.
We saw the Flying Dutchman come a-bounding o'er the sea.

"Take in our lofty canvas, lads," the watchful master cried,
"For in our ship's company some sudden danger lies,
For every man who rounds the Cape, although he knows no fear,
He knows that there is danger when Van der Decken's near.
He knows that there is danger when Van der Decken's near."

Pity poor Van der Decken. Forever is his doom.
The seas around that stormy Cape will be his living tomb.
He's doomed to ride the ocean forever and a day,
And he tries in vain his oath to keep by entering Table Bay,
And he tries in vain his oath to keep by entering Table Bay.

All hands to the rail, our gallant crew, as the ghost ship bore to sea.
Our hearts were filled with awe and fear, as she passed along our lee.
The helmsman was likewise entranced, and as all hands sighed relief,
With rending crash and mortal force, our vessel struck a reef.
With rending crash and mortal force, our vessel struck a reef.

[As sung by John Roberts and Tony Barrand on their album "Across the Western Ocean," 1973.]


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Subject: Origins: Flying Dutchman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:11 AM

The Traditional Ballad Index has a little bit of informaiton on this song:

    Flying Dutchman, The (Vanderdecken) [Laws K23]

    DESCRIPTION: The crew has just escaped a harsh wind on a dark night when the Flying Dutchman appears. The fearful captain orders the crew to take in the sail. The Dutchman fails, as always, in its attempt to enter Table Bay. The sailors pity doomed Vanderdecken
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1881
    KEYWORDS: storm ghost ship supernatural
    FOUND IN: US(MA) Ireland
    REFERENCES (4 citations):
    Laws K23, "The Flying Dutchman (Vanderdecken)"
    Doerflinger, pp. 148-149, "The Flying Dutchman" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Ranson, p. 45, "The Flying Dutchman" (1 text)
    DT 406, FLYDUTCH*

    Roud #1897
    BROADSIDES:
    Bodleian, Firth c.13(92), "The Flying Dutchman", H. Such (London), 1863-1885; Harding B 11(963) [last verse illegible], "The Flying Dutchman"; Firth c.26(130), "The Flying Dutchman!"
    File: LK23

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.



There a a few entries in Roud.

I don't know if I can link to one of the broadsides at the Bodleian Library at Oxford.


Wikipedia has quite an interesting study of the Flying Dutchman. Here's the introduction:
    The Flying Dutchman, according to folklore, is a ghost ship that can never go home, doomed to sail the oceans forever. The Flying Dutchman is usually spotted from afar, sometimes glowing with ghostly light. It is said that if hailed by another ship, its crew will try to send messages to land or to people long dead. In ocean lore, the sight of this phantom ship is a portent of doom.


http://www.occultopedia.com/f/flying_dutchman.htm also had an interesting presentation of the story of the Dutchman.


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Subject: ADD Version: Flying Dutchman
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 03:31 AM

THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

Twas on a stormy day, far southward of the Cape,
When from a (high) Nor-wester we had just made our escape,
Like an infant in its cradle, each breeze was hushed to sleep,
And peacefully we sailed along the bosom of the deep.
At length the helmsman gave a shout of terror and of fear,
As if he just had gazed upon some sudden danger near;
We looked all around the ocean, and just upon our lee,
We saw the Flying Dutchman come bounding thro' the sea.

Take in your flowing canvas, lads, our watchful master cried,
To us and our ship's company great peril doth betide:
The billows cresting with foam all angry doth appear.
The wind springs up a hurricane now Vanderdecken's near.
He comes, the Flying Dutchman! comes light o'er the lofty spray,
Preceded by the tempest dire, he makes for Table Bay,
With bird-like speed he's borne before the wind and howling blast,
But ere he can cast anchor there, the Bay, alas! is pass'd.

He scuds along too rapidly to mark his eagle's flight,
And lightning-like the Dutchman's helm full soon is out of sight,
The crews of ships far distant, now shudder at the breeze,
That bears the Flying Dutchman in fury o'er the seas.
Then mourn for Vanderdecken, for terrible's his doom,
The ocean round the stormy Cape it is his living tomb;
There the Dutchman beats about for ever night and day,
And tries in vain his oath to keep by entering Table Bay.


London: H. Such, Machine Printer and Publisher

from the Bodleian Ballads Collection, which has three copies, all more-or-less the same except for a word her or there. One copy had "When from a (high) Nor-wester" - I added the (high) in parentheses above, but it is not in the version I transcribed from.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flying Dutchman
From: autoharper
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 10:30 AM

In Chapter 6 of George Barrington's "Voyage to Botany Bay" (1795), he writes:

    I had often heard of the superstition of sailors respecting apparitions, but had never given much credit to the report; it seems that some years since a Dutch man of war was lost off the Cape of Good Hope, and every soul on board perished; her consort weathered the gale, and arrived soon after at the Cape. Having refitted, and returning to Europe, they were assailed by a violent tempest nearly in the same latitude. In the night watch some of the people saw, or imagined they saw, a vessel standing for them under a press of sail, as though she would run them down: one in particular affirmed it was the ship that had foundered in the former gale, and that it must certainly be her, or the apparition of her; but on its clearing up, the object, a dark thick cloud, disappeared. Nothing could do away the idea of this phenomenon on the minds of the sailors; and, on their relating the circumstances when they arrived in port, the story spread like wild-fire, and the supposed phantom was called the Flying Dutchman. From the Dutch the English seamen got the infatuation, and there are very few Indiamen, but what has some one on board, who pretends to have seen the apparition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flying Dutchman
From: EBarnacle
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 10:53 AM

The common point of most of the "Doomed Soul" legends is that the wanderer has made an oath to the effect of "I will do X despite Hell itself." Im general, the swearer disappears during the attempt, presumably dying and is resurrected as a spirit.

In the US, probably the most famous story of this sort occurs in Massachusetts and is known as "Peter Rugg." This was updated to William Saroyan's tale, "The Phantom Flivver."

There is a related tale which took place at the Tappan Zee on the Hudson River. It is reported by Harold W. Thompson in "Body, Boots, and Britches," 1939, p. 466. This legend refers to Rombout van Dam, who swore to row home after a late party Saturday night, violating the Sabbath. His destination was his home near Spuyten Duyvel. He may occasionally be seen rowing home. The same paragraph also refers to the Storm Ship of the Hudson. This may be a variant of a New England legend, although there are those who report having seen it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Flying Dutchman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 01:56 PM

In 1834, Heine wrote a novel retelling the legend. Sir Walter Scott, 1813, had mentioned the phantom ship in "Rokeby." The first mention in English was in 1795, as noted above, but similar legends go back to the ancient Greeks.
In 1843, Wagner premiered the opera, based on Heine and Marryat, "Der fliegende Hollander," the music of which inspired compositions for the piano and other instruments. Several are at American Memory.

Some claim the 'Dutchman' stories were based on Captain Bernard Fokke, called a flying captain because of his swift journey's to and from Java.

Blackwood's Magazine, 1821, seems to have been the source of the name van der Decken, with the story moved to the Cape of Good Hope (author anon.); "Vanderdecken's Message Home,...". Marryat, 1839, wrote "The Phantom Ship," basis for the later "Het Vliegend Schip" by the Dutchman, Romer. Edward Fitzball (1826) wrote a novel, "The Flying Dutchman." In Dutch versions, the captain's name often is Stratten.
On the stage, Henry Irving played the lead in Belasco's 1878 play, "Vanderdecken."

In Canada, a legendary ship plying the Northwest Passage has been the subject of a recent thread. The tale may have been inspired by the legend of the Dutchman.

A legend probably known in every nation that produced sea-faring people.


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