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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342                Music of the Waters.
A belief in the supernatural is strongly rooted in the minds of the sea-going community ; amongst necromantic agencies, bells occupy a very prominent place. Occasion­ally, during a hurricane, the death-bell is clearly heard borne along the angry billows; a superstition alluded to by Sir Walter Scott :—
" And the belfrie rang, And the sea-maid sang, The dirge of lovely Rosabelle."
Southey, in his famous ballad of the "Inchcape Bell," has immortalized one of these bell legends. Once on the sands near Blackpool, out at sea, stood the church of Kilgrimal, now completely submerged ; wanderers near this spot, however, are still said from time to time to be terri­fied by the dismal chimes of the bells as they send forth their doleful peals over the murmuring sea. The people of Pembroke, too, hear a sunken bell ring from its watery grave when a storm is rising. It is supposed to be the great bell of St. David's, Pembrokeshire, which was carried off during the Cromwellian wars ; the robbers managed to get it on board ship, but in passing through Ramsey Sound the vessel was wrecked—a direct result, the superstitious said, of profanely treating the bell. Denmark has many of these legends. There is one at Gossingen about two bells which were ordered to be cast in the town of Lubeck. These bells were brought by sea to Schleimunde ; but, as ill-luck would have it, one of them fell into the sea and was lost. From that day, whenever the remaining bell is being rung, it distinctly proclaims " My companion lies in the Schleimunde."
During tempests at Malta it is usual to ring all the bells in the Roman Catholic churches for an hour, that the wind may cease and the sea be calmed. This custom also prevails in Sicily and Sardinia. There is a Cornish legend that the bells of Bottreaux church were sent by ship, but when the vessel was in sight of the town, the blasphemy

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