A Play for the Ages: ‘The Pirate’s Legacy: or, The Wreckers Fate’

You just never know what you’ll stumble upon in google books. This gem, a mid-nineteenth-century drama by Charles H. Saunders, has it all–daring wreckers, beautiful maidens, old salts and shipwrecks galore. I love the song that opens the play, sung by several wreckers sitting around a large table “covered with drinking-cans, bottles, &c., &c.”

When the thunder loudest roars,

And the lightning flashes free,

When the drenching rain in a deluge pours,

And mad waves lash the sea:

O, then the wrecker hies,

With his grapnel and his coils,

To the beach where the shipwrecked sailor lies,

Where the surf in its fury boils.


When the minute-gun is heard

In the pauses of the storm,

When the noble ship, like a tired bird,

On the gale is swiftly borne:

Then the wreckers’ luring light

Gleams merrily o’er the sea,

And the sunken rock, in its awful might,

Leaves the wreckers’ power free.

What could be better than that? If ever there was a play that should be reprieved this summer–“The Pirate’s Legacy” is it!

To read “The Pirate’s Legacy: or, The Wrecker’s Fate” click here.



Filed under Along the Coast, Shipwreck culture, Shipwreck Kitsch

5 responses to “A Play for the Ages: ‘The Pirate’s Legacy: or, The Wreckers Fate’

  1. Oh man – this is fantastic. They sure don’t write them like they used to. I just gave an impromptu reading of the first few pages here in the New World Laboratory (Texas A&M.) I would love to see this live! Each spring the Nautical Archaeology Program hosts a “Shipwreck Weekend” community event. I would be tempted to say we should give a live performance there, though some of the language might be a bit bawdy for mixed company. Good find, either way!

    • Jamin Wells

      yeah — it’s pretty great! (I have a handful of these — will post them eventually — that are all, more or less, the same). “Shipwreck Weekend” after hours sounds like the perfect venue for a revival. I’d definitely make the trip (from NOLA) to see it!

      Thanks for the comment–

  2. I’m going to pass this on to a songwriter/singer I know who loves pirates! Thank you for posting!

  3. Reblogged this on Steam at Harper's Ferry and commented:
    Ships on the Shore is a great blog. Today’s post is especially awesome!

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