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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Introduction.                       xxi
" Quits, parson ; where did your father die ? " " In bed, of course, like a good Christian." ,f And your grandfather ? " " He died in his bed too."
"That's bad, parson," says Jack, " are you not afraid to go to bed ? "
The foregoing may be taken as a sample of a sailor's feelings when interviewed on the subject of his perilous life. The danger is there, and he is fully alive to it, and, as I have said before, is never familiar when speaking of the sea. But in any encounter like that just referred to, in which the slightest shade of doubt as to Jack's daring to trust himself on it, is mooted: the one who hazards the doubt is almost certain to get the worst of it.
I am quite aware that if I allude to the bad accommo­dation and scanty and coarse fare, as' the portion of our sailors, I tread on dangerous ground. Our times are supposed to be changed times, and changed for the better too, for the blue-jackets; I trust it may be so. In speaking of Jack's lot, I do so comparatively, not from any wish to enter into so vexed a question as our sailor's condition has now become. With regard to the improvidence that is so characteristic of seafaring men, I cannot help thinking that, however much it is to be con­doned on the score of their peculiar life, it is as much to be deplored for the lack of energy that fails to perceive and seize upon the means of remedy which are so palpably at hand, namely, the establishment of a compulsory sea­men's fund. Other trades and occupations make provi­sion for their members when age shall have robbed them of their power of labour, or illness have laid them tempo­rarily aside ; but for the sailors there is no such provision.







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