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.                 355
Auctioneer.óWe'll drag him along to his burial-place, 0 pull, my boys, and make a noise. You, poor old horse, what brought you here, After carrying turf for many a year From Bantry Bay to Ballyack, When you fell down and broke your back ? You died from blows and sore abuse, And were salted down for the sailor's use. The sailors they the meat despise, They turned you over and (ahem'd) your eyes, They ate the meat and picked the bones, And gave the rest to Davy Jones ; And if you don't believe it's true, Go look in the harness cask, and find his shoes."
" The music to this extraordinary song," says the writer, " was strange and crude, but marked by a weird, mournful melody, recalling what one has read of the caoine that was formerly sung by the Irish over their dead. . . . Each line was sung twice over by the auctioneer, and the crew followed in chorus with the alternate refrain." The cere≠mony of " Burying the- Dead Horse " is now almost an obsolete one, and is rarely witnessed save on Australian-bound passenger-ships. As to its origin I cannot find any authentic information, the custom is certainly confined to the British mercantile service. " The Dead Horse" is typical of one month's pay advanced on shore, and which, after twenty-eight days, has been worked out. The horse's body is made out of a barrel, and his extremities of hay or straw, covered with canvas, the mane and tail of hemp, or still better, of manilla ; the eyes consist of two ginger-beer bottles, which are sometimes filled with phosphorus. When the horse is completed, he is lashed to a box, which is covered by a rug and then drawn along, in Egyptian fashion, on a grating.
A very humorous description of this ceremony, and

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