The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220 Message #2872137
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
25-Mar-10 - 11:10 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
The famous (i.e. due to being cited by Doerflinger as his earliest chantey reference) passage in THE QUID (1832), containing observations of a passenger in an East India Company ship, is as follows:
All who have been on board ship must recollect heaving at the capstan. It is one of the many soul-stirring scenes that occur on board when all hands are turned up; the motley group that man the bars, the fiddler stuck in a corner, the captain on the poop encouraging the men to those desperate efforts that seem, to the novice, an attempt at pulling up the rocks by the root. It's a time of equality; idlers, stewards and servants, barbers and sweepers, cooks' mates and cooks-mate's ministers, doctors' mates, and loblolly boys; every man runs the same road, and hard and impenetrable is that soul that does not chime in with the old ditties, "Pull away now, my Nancy, O!" and the long "Oh!" that precedes the more musical strain of
"Oh her love is a sailor,
His name is Jemmy Taylor,
He's gone in a whaler,
To the Greenland sea:"
"Oh! if I had her,
Eh then if I had her,
Oh! how I could love her,
Black although she be."
The fiddle player is notable. The singing appears to be "for fun."