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THE ESPERANCE MORRIS BOOK. -II.
NOTES ON THE SEA SONGS AND SHANTIES.
With regard to the shanties here given, it cannot be maintained that they offer the pun • of that
kind of The palmy days of the shanty are lone: past,
and those who would know it in its prime musl consult the admirable little hook of Captain Whall, " Ships, Sea-songs, and Shanties." All that we can claim for these is that they are of the old hanty once common on
all sailing ships, but by the advent of steam now so nearly destroyed. In every case they were taken down from the mouths of seamen, and are still sung on board sailing els, though "Shenandoah" (the tune ol which most nearly resembles thai given by Captain Whall) is, we believe, very nearly extinct. Often only one verse of the original words remains, alter which the singer extemporises. The passing of the years, however, has inflicted less injury on the tunes, and the vitality and freshness which is still - found in the followin Jes musl be our excuse
for presenting them in these pages.
The interest ol the shanty lies in the fad that il is a song of occupation, that is. a song sun.: by the sailor while at work. It helped to lighten his labour, and indeed some work could scarcely be done without it ; the shanty-man struck up the air. the vest fell in with the chorus, and to the swinging rhythm the work was done. To those who would know something of the various kinds of shanties and how they were sung, we recommend the vivid pages on shanties in Mr. John Masefield's " A Sailor's Garland."
The origin of the word " shanty " is uncertain, but it is more than probable that the derivation generally ascribed to it—the French " chanter "—is incorrect. We therefore follow Captain Whall in adopting (he spelling which gives some clue to the pronunciation of the word.
The coloured sketch on the cover of this book is reproduced from a souvenir piece of pottery made at the end of the eighteenth century. The songs were noted from the Mining of Mr. Kinch and Mr. Wilton in the summer of [910 and from the singing of Mr, Desmond in March, 1911.
THE BANKS 0' SACRAMENTO.
Sung by Mr. Arthur Wilton, of New York, and
Mr. William Kinch, of Littlehampton.
The tune is a fine version of the well-known "Camptown
Races," but the rhythm is slower, because, as Mr. John
Masefield points out, it is a capstan shanty. The singers
could only sing the one exceedingly inadequate verse—
When my horse is dry, I shall lead him to the well ;
To mc hoodah, to me hoodah I When my horse is dry, I shall lead him to the well,
To me hoodah, doodah, doo!
1 that they extemporised. The words printed here are adapted from those which Mr. Masefield has included in his " Sailor's Garland."
Sung by Mr. Cornelius Desmond, S.S. Lancastrian. This was originally a song, not a shantv, and the proper words with the tune will be found in "Ships, Sea-songs,
and Shanties." The first verse here given corresponds to the last verse of Captain Whall's version. The beautiful tune, with its pentatonic flavour, is very suggestive of some of the American Indian tunes, and may well have originated in that source. It was used as a capstan shanty.
A LONG TIME AGO.
Sung by Mr. Cornelius Desmond.
A halliard shanty. Mr. Desmond sang to this a version of " There was an old farmer in Sussex did dwell," to be found in Dixon's volume of ballads and songs of the peasantry, in the Percy Society's publications. The ballad was originally sung to the tune of " Lilliburlero," with a whistling chorus. Mr. Masefield says that similar words, " There once was a family lived on a hill," were sometimes sung to " A long time ago." As Mr. Desmond's ballad was not very suitable to this book, we have substituted the words of " A long time ago " from " A Sailor's Garland." It is interesting to note that the two refrains together form the entire tune of the shanty " Paddy Doyle," to be found in " Ships, Sea-songs, and Shanties," Tozer's " Sailors' Songs," and elsewhere.
THE LIVERPOOL GIRLS.
Sung by Mr. Desmond.
We know nothing of this swinging tune, though it is evidently a fairly modern one. Captain Whall, who in the course of his long experience has never met with it, is also of this opinion. The words, which can scarcely be credited with any pretension to poetical expression, are unfortunately incomplete.
GOOD-BYE. PARE YOU WELL.
Sung by Mr. Arthur Wilton.
We have printed Captain Whall's version of the words, as Mr. Wilton extemporised after the first verse. It will be seen that his words correspond to the second verse of Captain Whall's, who notes this as a " regulation song for getting up anchor abroad." Wilton said that he sang it for hoisting topsails. The tune resembles that given bv Captain Whall, though not identical with it.
Sung by Mr. William Kinch.
Mr. Kinch called this a " song for quiet home-going." Mr. Kidson is of the opinion that it is the work of some musically inclined sailor. The tune certainly bears the stamp of the mid-Victorian period. It has a good sweep, but it is not very distinguished, and seems to need a rather elaborate accompaniment. In " Ships, Sea-songs, and Shanties " there is a version of it (the second verses are identical), but both there and in " Naval Songs," published in New York in 1883, the tune is barred differently, and perhaps rightly. It is here barred to suit the stress which Mr. Kinch gave in his singing of it.