Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment c. 1980.

According to Professor Scott, this American temperance song by the Reverend Ufford draws a parallel between the perils of the ocean's "dark wave" and the risks of drowning in sea of iniquitous liquor. The life-line is needed to save anyone who may be "drifting away." (Compare the earlier "I Come from the Beautiful Rhine," a song in favor of the pleasures of wine.)


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Last modified 10 September 2007