The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151478   Message #3536851
Posted By: Lighter
12-Jul-13 - 08:07 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: 'topsails all a quiver'
Subject: RE: Folklore: 'topsails all a quiver'
John H. Harland, "Seamanship in the Age of Sail" (1984), p. 83:

"The clewlines shared a quarter block with the topgallant sheets, and sometimes the reef tackle fall, multiplying the trouble if the strop of this block carried away."

To "strop a block" doesn't appear in the song, but secondarily it meant meant to dip the wick.