Music Of The Waters - online book

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
196             Music of the Waters.
question. But the view which has obtained most general acceptance is that which connects the word with the Latin Cymba and the Greek Kv/j,pr/, the light boat in which Charon ferried souls across the Styx. Charon's boat, as it is represented on gems and marbles, resembles the bar-chetta, and Charon himself uses a paddle to guide his boat behind. To this day, the passenger across a Venetian ferry, lays his obol on the gunwale of the gondola, much as Charon's ghostly fares were wont to do. On a moon­less silent night the waters of the Grand Canal are no mean counterfeit of that nether-world river, Lethe, the waters of oblivion." 1
The gondoliers are a deeply conservative race. Custom is their true religion—in its ordinary sense it is an affair of the women—church-going amongst them has now almost ceased to be a habit. Amongst the fishermen and sailors of the trading-ships, the case is different. Each boat has its patron saint somewhere on its bows, many with a prayer painted beneath ; and in the captain's cabin you are sure to find a picture of the Madonna wreathed with offerings of olive-branches, lemons, and Indian corn : a small light in a glass globe usually burns before this little shrine. The captain of a trading-boat on its way out to sea would hardly pass the little chapels which are built here and there on the great piles, without repeating a " Salve Regina " or a " Pater Noster," as he stands bare-headed in the wind.
The fishermen of Chioggia as they row home on a summer night while away the time, as the gondoliers pass theirs in song, with endless tales of Angelica and Orlando, Astolfo and Ruggiero, and all the pageantry of the Caro-lingian myth, and the Reali di Francia.
The stars are to the Venetians bei segreti (beautiful secrets) ; the pole star is the type of constancy and the sailors' hope.
1 Seepages 107—116, " Life on the Lagoons," by Horatio F. Brown. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co.

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