The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #90128   Message #1705624
Posted By: Dave (the ancient mariner)
29-Mar-06 - 10:10 AM
Thread Name: happy? - Mar 29 (Blood Red Roses)
Subject: RE: happy? - Mar 29 (Blood Red Roses)
When I was a young lad in England some old sailors (whalers who were 80+ years old in 1960) told me the origins of the song "Blood Red Roses" When a whale was harpooned from a rowing boat, unless it was penetrated and hit in a vital organ it would swim for miles sometimes attacking the boats. When it died it would be a long hard tow back to the ship, something they did not enjoy. If the whale was hit in the lungs it would blow out a red rose shaped spray from its blowhole. The whalers refered to these as Bloody Red Roses, when the spray became just frothy bubbles around the whale as it's breathing stopped it looked like pinks and posies in flower beds, especially if the sun was shining on it. Go down you blood red roses go down (means hurry up and die you big bastard, we dont want a long hard tow) Oh you pinks and posies (great its finally dead)

Most whalers hated the killing, and many quit the life, shamed into it by the deaths of these huge wondefull creatures. Those that stayed and hunted are like the modern sealers, it is an economic reason not a love of the life that keeps it going. Sailors are sentimental souls not just foul mouthed hardcases; and I believe their description of the songs origins to be correct.

Yours, Aye. Dave