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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Music of the waters.              295
At the head of the pleasure-boats of the Nile a man usually stood, with a long pole in his hand, to sound every now and then, and to prevent the boat running upon any of the numerous sand-banks in the river (which, from their often changing at the time of the inundation, are not always known to the most skilful pilot); a precaution adopted sometimes too late by the modern boatmen of the Nile. The same weird sort of chant or plumbing song is used for this as by the Lascars on the Brahmaputra.
The papyrus boats, mentioned by Pliny, must have been the same as the " Vessels of bulrushes," spoken of in Isaiah ; indeed they are frequently alluded to by ancient writers. Plutarch describes Isis as going in search of the body of Osiris " through the fenny country, in a bark made of the papyrus, whence it is supposed that persons using boats of this description are never attacked by crocodiles, out of fear and respect for the goddess." There is a song men- ■ tioned in connection with the building of these same boats, but it does not appear to have been put on record, as far as I have been able to ascertain.

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