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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20                Music of the Waters.
Solo.—He learnt to write on Wednesday, He learnt to fight on Thursday, On Friday he beat the master, On Saturday we lost Reuben, And where do you think we found him ? Why, down in yonder valley, Conversing with a sailor. He shipped on board of a whaler ; He shipped as able seamen do ; Oh, pity Reuben Ranzo. The captain was a bad man, He took him to the gangway, And gave him five-and-forty. The mate he was a good man, He taught him navigation ; Now he's captain of a whaler, And married the captain's daughter, And now they both are happy. This ends my little ditty, This ends my little ditty. Chorus.—Ranzo, boys, a Ranzo ! Belay there, lads, belay.
There is yet another song which has for hero this same mysterious and unsailorlike personage, though the cohe­rency of the foregoing is not adopted in the second song. The word " hilo," which is here introduced, is a word of fathomless meaning. There is a very humorous descrip­tion of this chanty given by a writer in Harper's Magazine (July, 1882), in an article on sailors' songs; he says: "Perhaps Max Miiller could attach some meaning to ' hilo,' but in that case he would do more than any sailor ever did. It will not do to suggest that it is really two words—' high' and ' low.' It occurs in too many other songs, as an active verb, to leave us any room to doubt that to ' hilo ' was to be, to do, or to suffer something. It cannot be gathered from the insufficient data at our com­mand, whether or not the act of' hiloing' was commendable

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