Music Of The Waters - online book

Sailors' Chanties, Songs Of The Sea, Boatmen's, Fishermen's,
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Music .of the Waters.             347
ROMANCES OF THE MERMAIDS.
"The sighs that from thy seamen pass Might set a fleet a-sail; And the faces that look in the mermaid's glass Are as long as the mermaid's tail."
Richard Garnett.
MORVA OR MORVETH (SEA-DAUGHTERS).
The intimate connection between the inhabitants of Brittany, of Cornwall, and of Wales, would appear to lead to the conclusion that the Breton word Morverch, or mer­maid, had much to do with the naming of the Cornish paiish of Morva (signifying Locus maritimus, a place near the sea). The church of Morva, like most of the churches on the coast of Cornwall, was built by and for fishermen, to whom the superstitions of mermen and " merry-maids " had the familiarity of a creed.
Whether the mermaids belong to the ^Egean Sea, or the Mediterranean, the Pacific, or the Atlantic, we may rest as­sured their mission is ever the same—to lure to destruction, by the marvellous beauty of their persons, and by the bewitching songs " plaintive as the waves." Mermaids are but rarely considered as benefactors. Legends and tales of them generally associate them with some catastrophe.
Mr. Robert Hunt, in his " Popular Romances of the West of England ; or, the Drolls, Traditions, and Superstitions of old Cornwall," devotes a chapter to tales of the Cornish mermaids ; there is one, " The Mermaid's Rock," which I quote, as it is very short, very much to the point, and certainly may be taken as a type of mermaid romance in general:—
" To the westward of the beautiful Cove of Lemorna is a rock which has through all time borne the above name. There exists the popular fancy of a lady showing herself here previous to a storm—with, of course, the invariable comb and glass. She is said to have been heard singing







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