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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358                Music of the Waters.
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" It is in the superstitions of the sea that we must search for the beginning and history of many of the customs which in modified forms lingered down to the period of a late generation of seafarers. They veined the life with elements both of humour and romance, and I do not scruple to say that much of the poetry of the profession of the sea has perished with the extinction of the simple forecastle credulities of other ages. In the beginning of European navigation, in the times of Diaz, Cabot, Colum­bus, De Gama, and earlier yet, the mariner was a Roman Catholic, devout, profoundly superstitious, perpetually invoking the protection of the Blessed Virgin and the saints of heaven, finding miracles in the common opera­tions of nature, peopling the deep with wondrous monsters, glorifying its blue breast with the gleam and colour of the enchanted island, gazing awe-struck about him as.he sailed along, and willing to believe anything he was told. I could give you no better illustration of this than the remark of the Jesuit, Anthony Sepp, in his account of a voyage from Spain to Paraguana : ' Towards the evening,' says he, ' we saw an entire rainbow quite across the sky, resembling our rainbows.' Resembling our rainbows ! As though the worthy father supposed that rainbows in those unfamiliar seas were very different from the same radiant arches which span the showers of Italy, Spain, and Germany. They were prepared for all sorts of wonders, and their imaginations created what their eyes could not see. The lightning was not that of Europe ; the thunder was the reverberation of some hellish conflicts between armies formed of fiends of satanic stature ; the very rain







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