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The poem is about the ship Saladin. Back in 1844 Halifax held its last public execution. Tried and sentence to death were the crew of Saladin for piracy and mutiny. It was a large crowd; the 52nd regiment formed a circle around the scaffold to keep back spectators. It was a fairly quick trial; starting from early June to the day of the execution on the 30th July, 1844. Later on, after the Saladin was decommissioned, people were selling fragments of the ship. It was sort of like when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 - people selling little pieces of the wall for a hefty price. Fenerty declined. He thought that it should be left as it were, untouched. The poem was probably written around 1845 (just after the execution). In it he mentions Grace Darling; a young girl who risked her life to save others who were caught in the middle of a storm at sea (she was successful),

Or were it but a fragment of the ting bark which bore
A fearless maiden o’er the deep, and amid the tempest’s roar;
And told of her whose feeble form could toil and danger brave
To answer wail of hopeless hearts; to succour and to save.

Grace Darling died in 1842. This also suggests when the poem was written. Fenerty would have included Darling in to the poem since she was an interesting topic of those days, and Fenerty liked to write about famous people just after they past on. The footnote of this poem says, "These lines were written upon being offered a fragment of the pirate ship Saladin." Fragments of the ship were probably being circulated not long after the execution and its decommission. Fenerty continues with his footnote saying, "The crew of which were tried and executed in Halifax, many years ago." This helps with piecing together who actually wrote the Stewart script. If it were someone other than Fenerty (who perhaps had all Fenerty's poems and wanted to publish them in one book), then the footnote would not make any sense (this footnote was added afterwards, and spoke as if it were the author of the poem who wrote the footnote).

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