THE TITANTIC [sic]

(trad./Lula Davis) (1951)


Passengers crowding the lifeboats.

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Lyric as collected and transcribed by Irene J. Carlisle from Lula Davis, Fayetteville, AK, May 10, 1951;
published in W. K. McNeil (ed.), Southern Folk Ballads, Vol. II, Little Rock, AK, 1988, pp. 104.

Mrs. Davis was born at Iconium, Missouri, but her family moved to Ozark, Arkansas, when she was only seven years old. She and her husband moved to Fayetteville in 1927 and lived there or in nearby Springdale, Arkansas, afterwards. Mrs. Davis was a member of a family that had great regard for old ballads and folksongs. A small, frail woman who worked in a local garment factory, Davis reportedly had a sweet tremulous singing voice. She learned this version of "The Great Titanic" as a girl in Missouri, so she had, at the time of collection, known it for more than thirty-five years.

W. K. McNeil, ibid., p. 107.

Sailing out on the Titantic [sic],
Some ninety miles from shore,
When suddenly it struck an iceberg,
And sank to rise no more.
CHORUS:
Lost on the great Titantic
Sinking to rise no more;
The number, sixteen hundred
That failed to reach the shore.
There were paupers, merchants, and rich men
Sailing out on this boat;
And when it sank in the ocean
You could see their bodies float.

The men stood back like heroes,
Sending their wives to the shore;
They kissed, shook hands, and parted,
To meet on earth no more.

The band was playing sadly,
"Nearer, My God, To Thee;"
lt seemed to play its utmost
As it sank in the deep blue sea.

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