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3 Centuries Of Naval History In Shanties & Sea Songs With Lyrics & Notes

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playing a levite at each cabine doore, and bidding good morrow wishing a Merry Christmas. After they goe to their station, viz. on the poope, and sound three levitts in honour of the morning' (Diary of Henry Teonge, 1825, pp. 12, 91, 117). Balthorpe's ship, the St. David, only had a fiddler. On Christmas Day,
' Our Fidler then did play and sing
At cabin door, made steerage ring,
With cheerful voice bid them good morrow.
I think that he did verses borrow
From some famed poet, for he'd sing
Brave merry songs made all to ring.'
Before the voyage began, as the ship lay in Portsmouth Road,
' Our Fidler did in triumph fetch His fiddle from aboard a ketch Called the Portsmouth, and did play Oft times to pass the time away. Sometimes to pass sad cares away On Forecastle we dance the Hay; Sometimes dance nothing, only hop about— It for good dancing passes 'mongst the rout; Yet, on my word, I have seen sailors More nimble dance than any taylors.'
{The Straights Voyage.)
Dr. John Covel gives a still more detailed account of the diversions of the sailors. ' If the weather be fair and permit it we seldome fail of some merry fellows in every ship's crew who will entertain us with several diversions, as divers sorts of odde sports and gambols; sometimes with their homely drolls and farses, which in their corrupt language they name interlutes, sometimes they dance about the mainmast instead of a maypole, and they have variety of forecastle songs, ridiculous enough '