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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160              Music of the Waters.
In a course of more than a hundred and eighty leagues, the " corn-coloured river," as an old chronicle calls the Loire, flows through meadows, vineyards, woods, and great cities, without once finding a barren or a desert spot. From its source to the sea, on either side, the eye sees only flocks feeding, chimneys smoking, and ploughmen who seem singing at their ploughs. The stream glides noiselessly over its sandy bed among islets nodding their plumes of osier, willow, and poplar. In all the landscape there is a delightful though rather unvarying softness, a subdued quiet, which gives to everything around you that attractiveness which is somehow always found with affluence and ease. It is almost a piece of Arcadia, with more water and less scud. Upon the river dwell a race who partake of its character. They have not the jeering turbulence of the Seine boatmen, nor the sullen fierceness of those of the Rhdne, nor the heaviness of the men who navigate the Rhine. The bargeman of the Loire is of a peaceful dis­position ; vigorous without coarseness, and merry without excess, he lets his life flow on through things as he finds them, like the water which carries him between its fertile banks. With a few exceptions, he has no restraints of locks, no hard labour at the oar, no tedious towing work to undergo. The wind, which finds free course through the immense basin of the river, enables him to sail both up and down. Standing at the enormous helm, the boatmaster attends only to the course of the barge, while his mates help it along by " spurring " the bottom of the water with iron-shod poles. At intervals, a few words are exchanged







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