The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2892869
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
23-Apr-10 - 01:50 PM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Later on in THE ARK OF ELM ISLAND, there is an exchange that includes shanties.

"Why can't we have a song?" said John. " Charlie is a first-rate singer; he can read music; and Isaac can sing, too. He's been three winters to singing-school; and I and Fred can sing the chorus."
" I don't know any song," said Charlie. " All I can remember is, —

" 'Was ever you in Aberdeen,
Bonny laddie, Highland laddie,
To see the duke in his Highland green,
My bonny Highland laddie ?'"

HIGHLAND LADDIE. Incidentally, in all the references to this song, I don't think we've yet seen the Scots form "hieland." Though that was presumably the "original," perhaps it was that ~American~ chantey singers simply said "highland," and that "hieland" is a later affectation (or a form used by northern British sailors, of course).

"I can learn you Flour's cherry-bird song," [i.e. HILO BOYS] said Isaac. They sat down on the hen-coop, and Isaac repeated the song till Charlie had it by heart. He then hummed over the tune till Charlie got that, and sung one verse.
"That's it," said Isaac; "that's the time. Now let's make believe get under way. John, go up and loose the main-topgallant sail. I'll get a snatch-block, so that one can take in the slack, and we'll have a song, and hoist it up."

Fred took in the slack, and they soon made Elm Island ring with, —

" Hilo, boys, a hilo."

" If you don't look out, Ben," said Joe, " these boys will heave the anchor up, or cut the cable, and run away with your brig. They have got the topgallant sails and royals hoisted up and sheeted home already."

So while earlier HILO BOYS occurred while the windlass was being operated, here they imply it is for halyards.

Boys never know when to stop when they once get excited ; for what one can't think of another can.
"Let us loose the main-topsail," cried John, "then we can have a longer song. This is too short a hoist."
" We can't furl it," said Charlie. " Ben will furl it for us."
" We can't hoist it — can't begin to."
" Yes, we can," said Isaac; " for we can take it to the capstan."
"O, that will be bully! I know a capstan song."

" 'Heave and she goes, stamp and she goes;
Chorus. — O, my poor sailor-boy, heave and she goes.'"

Sounds like a very old-fashioned capstan song.