Tom Bowling. The type of a model sailor in Smollett's Roderick Random. (To rhyme with rolling.) The Tom Bowling referred to in Dibdin's famous sea-song was Captain Thomas Dibdin, brother of Charles Dibdin, who wrote the song, and father of Dr. Dibdin, the bootlegbooksc.
Here a sheer hulk lies poor Tom Bowling, The darling of the crew.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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