By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
With an introduction and notes by
Homer Eaton Keyes, B.L.
Assistant Professor of Art in Dartmouth College
Crowded in the rank and narrow ship, -
Housed on the wild sea with wild usages, -
Whate'er in the inland dales the land conceals
Of fair and exquisite, O! nothing, nothing,
Do we behold of that in our rude voyage.
California and her Missions
Diagram of Ships
Explanation of Diagram
Two Years Before the Mast
Twenty-Four Years After
Two years before the mast were but an episode in the life of
Richard Henry Dana, Jr.; yet the narrative in which he details the
experiences of that period is, perhaps, his chief claim to a wide
remembrance. His services in other than literary fields occupied
the greater part of his life, but they brought him comparatively
small recognition and many disappointments. His happiest
associations were literary, his pleasantest acquaintanceships
those which arose through his fame as the author of one book.
The story of his life is one of honest and competent effort,
of sincere purpose, of many thwarted hopes. The traditions
of his family forced him into a profession for which he was
intellectually but not temperamentally fitted: he should have
been a scholar, teacher, and author; instead he became a lawyer.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., August 1, 1815, Richard Henry Dana, Jr.,
came of a line of Colonial ancestors whose legal understanding and
patriotic zeal had won them distinction.