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Lyr Add: Pier-Head Chorus (John Masefield)

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Charley Noble 23 Nov 07 - 08:42 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Pier-Head Chorus (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 07 - 08:42 PM

Here's my recent adaptation for singing of John Masefield's nautical poem "Pier-Head Chorus" (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

From SALT WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Co., NY, © 1912, p. 51.
Adapted by Charles Ipcar 7/30/07
Tune: after "Little Black Train"
Key: F (5/C)

A Pier-Head Chorus

C------------------F---C
Now I'll be chew-ing salt horse and biting flinty bread,
F
Dancing with the stars upon the fo'c's'le head;
C-------------F---C
Harkening to the bow-wash and the welter of the tread –
-----F--------------------------------------C
Of a thousand tons of clipper running free.

Chorus:

C--F---C------------F---C
For the tug has got the tow-rope, she'll lead us to the Downs,
----F
Her paddles churn the river-wrack to muddy greens and browns;
----C------------------F--C
But I have swapped the river-wrack and all the filth of towns
--------F-------------------------------------C
For the rolling, surging, combers of the sea.
--------F---------------------------------G--C
For the rolling, surging, combers of the sea.

For we'll sheet her tops'ls home, glide on down the Bay,
The sea-line blue with billows, the land-line blurred and grey;
The bow-wash will be piling high and thrashing into spray,
As the clipper's fore-foot tramples down the swell. (CHO)

She'll log a giddy seventeen and rattle out the reel,
The weight of all that run-out line will be a thing to feel,
As the bacca-chewing shellback shambles aft to take the wheel,
And the sea-sick little middy strikes the bell. (CHO)

And here's a MP3 link to how I actually sing it: click and go to MP3 sample

Here's the original poem:

From SALT WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Co., NY, © 1912, p. 51.

A Pier-Head Chorus

Oh I'll be chewing salted horse and biting flinty bread,
And dancing with the stars to watch, upon the fo'c's'le head,
Hearkening to the bow-wash and the welter of the tread
Of a thousand tons of clipper running free.

For the tug has got the tow-rope and will take us to the Downs,
Her paddles churn the river-wrack to muddy greens and browns,
And I have given river-wrack and all the filth of towns
For the rolling, combing cresters of the sea.

We'll sheet the mizzen-royals home and shimmer down the Bay,
The sea-line blue with billows, the land-line blurred and grey;
The bow-wash will be piling high and thrashing into spray,
As the hooker's fore-foot tramples down the swell.

She'll log a giddy seventeen and rattle out the reel,
The weight of all the run-out line will be a thing to feel,
As the bacca-quidding shell-back shambles aft to take the wheel,
And the sea-sick little middy strikes the bell.

Notes:

A classic "outward bound" poem!

"Salted horse" is how the sailors often refered to the preserved meat they were served.

"Rattle out the reel" is a reference to how the speed of a sailing ship used to be determined with the log-line.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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