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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Musio of the Waters.             351
to hoist, his topgallant-sails to sheet home, his royals to set; spite of steam, there are still scores of the pld-fashioned windlasses for him to carol his hurricane songs over ; still scores of the old-fashioned capstans to twist round,' drunk, monotonous, and melodious ;' davits at which he may cast his anchor, as did his forefathers ; forecastles as clammy as the most reeking of the holes in which the Jacks of other days lay snoring, with purple faces, in clouds of cock­roaches. But, for all that, it will not do to pretend that the sailor is what he was. I do not speak of the carica­tures of the fictionist—the monstrous pigtailed figures with lanthorn jaws, broken teeth, wooden legs, and bloodshot eyes ; the race of Hatchways, Trunnions, and Pipses, who stagger, full of drink and ' language/ in dismal procession through the pages of the sea-novelists, losing, to be sure, something of their inexpressible garnishing as they enter the truer oceanic atmosphere of the Coopers and the Marryats of the present century. I refer simply to the old sailor, to the plain man-o'-war's man and merchantman of bygone years, not to the Frankenstein in flowing breeches and hat on nine hairs, who trod the stage and procured his circulation in one, two, and three volumes, in the respect­able name of Jack, prior even to the days when Sir Lancelot Greaves found the irresponsible anatomy willing to ship—
"' The broad habergeon, Vant brace and greves and gauntlet.'
Let me be understood. The British or American manner of to-day is as hearty, nimble, dexterous, determined a fellow as ever he was at any time during the choicest and most glorious period of his nation's history. He needs but opportunity to test him. It is in his tradi­tions, habits, superstitions, that he differs from his pre­decessors. I do not think it is the iron of his latter-day calling that has entered his soul and changed him; the very distinguishable difference is owing to a natural decay of marine sentiment. He is no longer superstitious—

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