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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258              Music of the Waters.
title and rank in musical parlance. The Baltic, with its many different divisions, has numbers of sea-songs, that is, songs of the sea, some being of the same type as Dibdin's. The Gulf of Finland is also rich in song-lore, the outcome, doubtless, of the famous Finnish mythology, and many of them probably will be legends of those pirates of old whose invasions were so dreaded. The Black Sea, chosen by all the ancient poets as the theatre of their hero's exploits, the scene of Ulysses' wanderings amongst the Laestrigons or Tauri, must also, one would think, have preserved many curiosities of rhyme. The fabled daughters of Achelous and Calliope had charmed all navigators until Ulysses approached the coast:
" And lo ! the siren shores like mists arise ; Sunk were at once the winds ; the air above And waves below at once forgot to move ; Some demon calmed the air and smoothed the deep, Hush'd the loud winds and charmed the waves to sleep."
Pope's Odyssey, Book iv.
" The oracle condemned them to die when a man should pass without stopping. Ulysses, warned of the danger, stopped his ears with wax, and safely passed them, bound to the mast. So they were changed into rocks, off Sorrento, where they still exist, a terror to mariners. Another legend says they became rocks because Orpheus surpassed them in singing." 1
Lapland, it is said, has no sea-songs now, though I should fancy there must be at least a few handed down, from those old legends of the Laps driving a thriving trade by selling winds to the sailors, who, as Longfellow says, whistled for them :
" Only a little hour ago I was whistling to St. Antonio, For a capful of wind to fill our sail, And instead of a breeze he has sent a gale."
' Cox's " Aryan Mythology."

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