The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85881   Message #1594292
Posted By: Charley Noble
31-Oct-05 - 02:00 PM
Thread Name: C. Fox Smith PermaThread
Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith PermaThread
(Stowing Cargo Chant)

There goes one:
Hurrah, my boys, strike one:
For one now is gone,
And there's many more to come
For to make up the sum
Of one hundred so long ... (ad. lib.)

Notes from CFS, p. 84

This is, strictly speaking, more of a chant than a shanty. It dates from the eighteen-fifties, and provides an interesting example of the sort of solo recitation used formerly by sailors when performing individual tasks. It is worth noting that the opening phrase – "There goes one:" is that used by captains of bellringers when beginning a peal.

The particular occasion when this chant was used was when stowing cargo, such as saltpetre in bags, which, after it had been placed in the hold, had to be hammered in to obviate any risk of shifting, with heavy wooden mallets known as "commanders."

It was really spoken or intoned rather than sung, with the stress (corresponding to the blows of the mallet) on the italicised words.