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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Phil d'Conch Maritime work song in general (98* d) RE: Maritime work song in general 15 Jun 20

As above:
“Nau, nau, nau. (Cestuy Celeume, dift Epistemon, n'eft hors de propos & me plait) car le iour eft feriau. Infe, infe, Bon. Os'eferia Epiftemon, ie vous commande tous bien efperer. Ie voy a Caftor à dextre.”
[Pantagruel, Les Oevvres de M. Francois Rabelais, Docteur en Medicine, 1596]

“Vea, vea, vea! huzza! This shout of the seamen is not amiss, and pleases me, for it is holiday. Keep her full thus. Good. Cheer up, my merry mates all, cried out Epistemon; I see already Castor on the right.”
[Pantagruel, Vol. 2, Urquhart, 1892]

VEYRA, a sea cheer; quas. veer a’.
VORSA, a sea cheer; quas. force a'.”
[The Complaynt of Scotland, glossary]

Vayra, veyra are words probably related to the Spanish word 'Vira!'—'Heave' or 'Hoist'—heard from ports of the Mediterranean to those of the Far East.

The pausarius in action:

Of the Boats and Skiff
A fresh Spell is to releeve the Rowers with another Gang, give the Boat more way for a dram of the bottell, who saies Amends, one and all, Vea, vea, vea, vea, vea, that is, they pull all strongly together.”
[1627, A Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and The Summer Isles, Vol.II, Smith, 1907 ed.]

Two things:
a) The oarsmen will typically be greater in number than the rowing stations.

b) Big boats don't stop or start on a dime. The gods of interia demand a certain degree of accelerando in the restart tempo. otoh - emergency braking can be lethal to the oarsmen.

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