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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RUSSIAN SAILORS' SONGS.
Like the army, the Russian Navy was the creation of Peter the Great. In coming to the throne he found his empire without any port save Archangel: at his death he left a fleet of the line in the Baltic, and his name feared as a naval hero in the Black Sea and the Caspian; and that clause in his will in which he states, " that Russia, which I found a brook and left a river, must, under my successors, grow to a mighty sea, destined to fertilize worn-out Europe, and advance its waves over all obstacles, if my successors are only capable of guiding the stream," shows in what direction the great man's thoughts for the welfare of Russia ran, and how merely supplementary to it he regarded the army.
From the earliest times there has been a slight halo of maritime glory around the Russian name. The half fabu­lous Varangians, Northmen, or Normans, who conquered Russia as they did France and England, and from whom the Russian nobility still boast their descent, were victorious by sea as well as by land, and the glories of Ruric and Vladimir belong to the Russian nation as much as the victories of Alfred and the Plantagenets belong to us.
But after the fall of Novgorod, when the Baltic provinces fell into the power of the Swedes, the Poles, and the Germans, and Archangel was the only outlet left her, the maritime importance of Russia decreased, the Russians occupied themselves entirely with internal commerce, and the spirit of the Varangians disappeared, or only lingered among the Cossacks of the Dnieper and the Don.







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