Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
Rowing Songs, & Water Legends with lyrics & sheet music

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As the ship is originally wrought from the live oak-forests of Florida, and the pine mountains of Norway, the iron-mines of England, the hemp and flax fields of Russia, so the songs current upon her decks are the composite gifts of all sea-loving peoples. In almost all nations we find that each individual trade and occupation has its own particular songs, differing many times even in provinces of the same country, so, naturally, maritime countries have many kinds of sailors' songs, each port often being respon­sible for some particular chanty. Many of these seem lacking in meaning, but to us of the shore only. Depend upon it something commends them to the tar's notice. They must contain good mouth-filling words, with the vowels in the right place, and the rhythmic ictus at proper distance for chest and hand to keep true time ; and at any rate these sea-songs are redolent of the freshness of the sea-breeze.
Talking of the dangers which menace our sailors reminds me of a story I heard d propos of this. A clergy­man much interested in the blue-jackets was one day talk­ing to one whom he wished to bring round to his way of thinking.
" How long have you been at sea ?" he began.
11 Twenty years," was the reply.
rt Was your father a sailor ? "
u Yes. He was drowned at sea."
" And your grandfather ? "
" He was also lost at sea/'
" But this is an awful prospect for you, my poor man. Are you not afraid to go to sea ? "
Jack screwed up his eye, and put a fresh quid into his mouth preparatory to answering.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III