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The Red Rover's Song

Date: c 1859
Overall: 335 x 258 mm, 0.02 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00036387
Place Manufactured:New York

User Terms

    This sheet music was a composition for a piano with a vocal accompaniment. The cover features a black and white lithograph by Endicott in Broadway, New York of a pirate holding a raised sword and sail, bearing the image of a skull and cross bones. Red Rover was a pirate character in the maritime novel 'The Red Rover', by American writer James Fenimore Cooper. Over time this character became a popular figure in 19th century culture.
    Significance'The Red Rover's Song' illustrates the popularity of maritime themes in sheet music production during the 19th century. Sheet music was a popular form of entertainment during this period and was relatively cheap and widely distributed.
    HistorySheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were sold fairly cheaply, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows.

    Maritime scenes, events and stories were commonly depicted on sheet music covers. The launch, commission or arrival of a specific ship was often commemorated in the lyrics and cover designs. For people living in the 19th century the sea and maritime vessels was an everyday part of life, necessary for the transportation of commercial cargo, passengers, mail and naval forces.

    James Fenimore Cooper was a sailor who lived in and was influenced by France and England. He wrote stirring tales of maritime adventures on the Atlantic, and published 'Red Rover' in 1827. Cooper's most famous novel was 'The Last of the Mohicans'.

    The first line of 'The Red Rover's Song':

    A merry life is ours, I trow,
    while o'er the billow surge we go.
    Our birthright joy! to care unkown,
    For time and pleasure are our own.
    O'er bounding main we boldly dash
    Mid thunder's peal and lightning's flash
    Related People
    Publisher: E Riley & Co

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