The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #29272   Message #368775
Posted By: Haruo
04-Jan-01 - 08:47 PM
Thread Name: Lyr/Tune: Re Moby-Dick CL
Subject: BS/Lyr/Tune: Re Moby-Dick CL
BS: Speaking of Whaling Ballads (Moby-Dick CL)

2001 is the sesquicentennial of the publication of Moby-Dick, or the Whale, one of the great classics of American fiction.
As the most prominent translator of Melville into (you guessed it!) Esperanto, one of my goals (indeed, my New Millennium's Resolution) is to provide a readable (to the extent permitted by the source) online Esperanto M-D, as much of it as possible by the end of the year (the exact dates of first publication were 18 October, and November 14, 1851 (British and American, respectively).
Moby Dick is mainly a prose work, but it has some verse in it, including some song lyrics, and so of course I'm interested in knowing what tunes to use, whether other verses are known, whether anybody has sung them, etc., etc. (some are well known, others are new to me). I'm not sure if all of them (e.g. the Cowper and the Lamb) were ever sung or even intended to be sung; they may be "poetry" ;-). If you have a copy of Moby Dick at hand I encourage you to open it and get the passages in their contexts. And I'm aware there are (numerous) other threads that touch here and some of the lyrics, or variants, are in the DT, so go ahead and provide links. Here are most (probably not all) of the pertinent portions of the text:
From "Extracts" (prefatory to the novel)
'Bright shone the roofs, the domes, the spires,
      And rockets blew self driven,
To hang their momentary fire
      Around the vault of heaven.

'So fire with water to compare,
      The ocean serves on high,
Up-spouted by a whale in air,
      To express unwieldy joy.'

Cowper, on the Queen's Visit to London.          

'Io! Paean! Io sing,
To the finny people's king.
Not a mightier whale than this
In the vast Atlantic is;
Not a fatter fish than he,
Flounders round the Polar Sea.'

Charles Lamb's Triumph of the Whale.          

'A mariner sat in the shrouds one night,
       The wind was piping free;
Now bright, now dimmed, was the moonlight pale,
And the phospher gleamed in the wake of the whale,
       As it floundered in the sea.'    Elizabeth Oakes Smith.

'Oh, the rare old Whale, mid storm and gale
     In his ocean home will be
A giant in might, where might is right,
     And King of the boundless sea.'

Whale Song.          


'So be cheery, my lads, let your hearts never fail,
While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale!'

Nantucket Song.          

Chapter 9 ("The Sermon")
This chapter contains Father Mapple's hymn, "The Ribs and Terrors in the Whale", which Melville based on a metrical psalm in use in the Dutch Reformed Church of New York (the church he was raised in), "Death, and the Terrors of the Grave". I am interested in knowing what tune the NY Dutch sang the latter to (and whether it is a translation of an (e.g. Dutch or Huguenot) original, and if so, what?). I have both Father Mapple's hymn and its Dutch Reformed source in my online hymnal, set to OLD HUNDREDTH, which I think is a likely tune for the Dutch, but it strikes me (and others have suggested, without proposing any) that in a New England whalemen's Bethel mayhap a Billings fuging tune or even an adapted chantey might be a better choice. Suggestions?
Chapter 39 ("First Night-Watch") (Stubb, the second mate, alone in the fore-top)
We'll drink to-night with hearts as light,
    To love, as gay and fleeting
As bubbles that swim, on the beaker's brim,
    And break on the lips while meeting.
Chapter 40 ("Midnight, Forecastle")
Harpooneers and Sailors
Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies!
Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain!
      Our captain's commanded —
1st Nantucket Sailor (leading the others)
     Our captain stood upon the deck,
          A spy-glass in his hand,
     A viewing of those gallant whales
          That blew at every strand.
     Oh, your tubs in your boats, my boys,
          And by your braces stand,
     And we'll have one of those fine whales,
     Hand, boys, over hand!
So be cheery, my lads! may your hearts never fail!
While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale!
Chapter 119 ("The Candles") (Stubb, to Starbuck, the first mate)
               Oh! jolly is the gale,
               And a joker is the whale,
               A' flourishin' his tail, —
Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky lad,
     is the Ocean, oh!

               The scud all a flyin',
               That's his flip only foamin';
               When he stirs in the spicin', —
Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky lad,
     is the Ocean, oh!

               Thunder splits the ships,
               But he only smacks his lips,
               A tastin' of this flip, —
Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky lad,
     is the Ocean, oh!

Okay, go ahead...