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He sleeps but not 'mid the arctic snow

Date: 1867
Overall: 333 x 256 mm, 0.04 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00036393
Place Manufactured:New York

User Terms

    'He sleeps but not mid the arctic snow' was a requiem dedicated to the late Dr Elisha Kent Kane and depicts his portrait on the cover. The title refers to Kane's work in the Arctic, marking the beginning of scientific investigation and exploration in the region. Kane was a popular figure in America and his funeral in 1857 was the largest to be held in USA history, until the death of Abraham Lincoln. This piece was composed for piano and voice.

    Significance'He sleeps but not mid the arctic snow' demonstrates how sheet music was used to commemorate popular public figures and events in the 19th century.
    HistoryDr Elisha Kent Kane was a senior medical officer in the US Navy who undertook two expeditions exploring the Arctic, in search of Sir John Franklin's lost party in 1850 and 1853. During the second expedition Kane gathered information on Greenland, providing more knowledge of the region than had been offered before. He became a famous celebrity during the 1850s known for his honour, heroism and bravery, and popular public speeches detailing his expeditions. Kane died at the age of 37 in Cuba on 16 February 1857, suffering from a recurring illness brought on by rheumatic fever.

    Sheet 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 events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows.

    The first stanza of 'He sleeps, but not 'mid the arctic snow';

    He sleeps but not ' mid the Arctic snows.
    On which his deeds shed glory;
    He sleeps but not where the Bravo flows,
    Where his name is linked with story
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