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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350              Music of the Waters.
songs, is mentioned as the ruler of the sea, and as such he had the name of Nikarr. In the depth of the sea he played the harp with his subordinate spirits, who occasion­ally came up to the surface of the water to teach some favourite mortal their wonderful instrument.
It is a suggestive fact that several nations in different parts of the world possess an ancient tradition, according to which some harp-like instrument was originally derived from the water.
Another Scandinavian water-deity was Herta, or the Storm-compeller, according to tradition, a goddess who presided over storms.
" What can be more sweet to see Than the sailor's agony ? While around the wild waves roar, And lash with furious rage the shore."
The Droitwich canal (Worcestershire), in passing through Salwarpe, is said to have cut off a slice of a large, old, half-timbered structure, supposed to have been formerly a mansion-house ; and in revenge for this act of mutilation, the ghost of a former occupier revisits his old haunts, affrights the domestics, and may be seen on dark nights, with deprecatory aspect, to glide down the embankment and suicidally commit himself to the waters below.
" The changes which have taken place in the sea-life cannot be wholly restricted to the transformations of the ship-building yard. There is a mighty difference, indeed, between the line-of-battle ship of fifty years ago and the armour-clad of to-day—between the Atlantic passenger clippers of which Fennimore Cooper wrote and the iron mail-steamers which have succeeded them ; but there are changes in other maritime directions fully as remarkable, though, perhaps, not so deeply accentuated to the shore gaze. Where are the old customs of the ocean ? Whither has fled the traditionary character of the sailor ? His canvas remains ; he still has his topsails, albeit halved,

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