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A Life on the Ocean Wave is a song by Henry Russell published in 1838. The song originated from the poet Epes Sargent. One day he and Russell were walking on The Battery in New York City watching the ships enter the harbour. This scene inspired Sargent to write a poem, which Russell then put to music. The song proceeded to become popular in both England and the United States.

In 1882, the Deputy Adjutant General Royal Marines requested that the Bandmaster of each Royal Marine Division (Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham) submit an arrangement for a new regimental march for the corps, if possible based on a naval song. Kappey, the Bandmaster of the Chatham Division, submitted an arrangement of A Life on the Ocean Wave, with an eight bar trio from The Sea by Sigismund Neukomm, which was authorised for use as the regimental quick march of the Corps of Royal Marines in 1882.

In the United States, it is the official march of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The song has also been associated with the Portuguese revolution of 1974, the Revolução dos Cravos.

The tune, played by the Band of the Royal Marines, is played over the opening credits of the 1992 BBC television film; An Ungentlemanly Act, about the first days of the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.


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Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

A Life on the Ocean Wave
by Epes Sargent
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A Life on the Ocean Wave.
"A Life on the Ocean Wave," by Epes Sargent (1813-80), gives the swing and motion of the water of the great ocean. Children remember it almost unconsciously after hearing it read several times.

    A life on the ocean wave,
      A home on the rolling deep,
    Where the scattered waters rave,
      And the winds their revels keep!
    Like an eagle caged, I pine
      On this dull, unchanging shore:
    Oh! give me the flashing brine,
      The spray and the tempest's roar!

    Once more on the deck I stand
      Of my own swift-gliding craft:
    Set sail! farewell to the land!
      The gale follows fair abaft.
    We shoot through the sparkling foam
      Like an ocean-bird set free;--
    Like the ocean-bird, our home
      We'll find far out on the sea.

    The land is no longer in view,
      The clouds have begun to frown;
    But with a stout vessel and crew,
      We'll say, Let the storm come down!
    And the song of our hearts shall be,
      While the winds and the waters rave,
    A home on the rolling sea!
      A life on the ocean wave!

PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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