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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242                Music of the Waters.
be born web-footed. Yet their sails were found in every sea, and, like resolute merchants as they were, they left to others the glory whilst they did the world's carrying. Their impress upon the sea-language was neither faint nor slight. They were true mariners, and from Manhattan Island to utmost Japan, the brown bright sides, full bows, and bulwarks of the Dutchman tumbling home were as familiar as the sea-gulls. Many words of daily use on shipboard are of Dutch origin ; for instance, " bowsprit" is a compound of English and Dutch. The word "boom " is also due to the low land of dykes, as is " camboosc" For all their clumsy appearance, their vessels are laid on lines that are both true and sharp ; and the hardy Norsemen Vikings, and stately patrician Romans (who, by-the-bye, were at best but sea-soldiers and marines), learnt to their cost in the days when the rulers of the sea had yet to be proved, that in the squat, solid Dutchman they had a formidable rival.
And the Dutch are still to the fore in all matters mari­time ; their thriving, busy ports are ample proof of that; take, for instance, Amsterdam—that most beautiful city on the Amstel: " The seamen seated on the quays, their legs hanging down, or leaning against the black balustrades, having a grave and solemn appearance. All are smoking, seemingly reflecting, but not thinking; silent, but not dreaming. Fishermen from Marken returning to their island ; fishermen of Amsterdam who fish for the anchovy ; barrel-formed Tjalks loaded with merchandise; the little steamboat which carries the passengers and letters for Harlengen ; all waiting at the sluices for the great gates which allow five ships to enter abreast, to open."
I have quoted this passage from Henri Havard's delight­ful " Dead Cities of the Zuyder Zee." He says, " In the distance the ironclad frigates were seen, and we could hear the sailors singing their old sea-songs, nearly the same in all countries amongst mariners." Monsieur Havard's remark is peculiarly applicable to the Dutch. They have







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