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Cheer'ly Man - history

Gibb Sahib 19 Oct 13 - 07:19 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Oct 13 - 07:21 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Oct 13 - 07:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Oct 13 - 07:24 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Oct 13 - 07:26 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Oct 13 - 07:27 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jun 15 - 01:11 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jun 15 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,# 19 Jun 15 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,# 19 Jun 15 - 01:28 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jun 15 - 02:23 PM
Rumncoke 19 Jun 15 - 09:48 PM
Mrrzy 19 Jun 15 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 May 19 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 May 19 - 08:58 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 May 19 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,Gerry 24 May 19 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Jun 19 - 12:43 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 01 Jun 19 - 12:49 PM
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Subject: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 07:19 PM

This is an excerpt from a DRAFT of something I'm working on. The aim is to discuss "Cheer'ly Man" in its role/position along the development of shipboard work-songs and chanties.

Preceding this excerpt (in the thing I'm working on) is a discussion of early (from 18th century) shipboard working cries / chants / songs. NB: Most formatting (e.g. italics for emphasis) and footnotes are lost here.

"Cheer'ly Man": the proto-chanty?

According to my interpretations above, two phenomena, of sound created to accompany shipboard work, in Anglophone vessels, preceded the phenomenon of singing chanties in that context. One was instrumental music, which was heard during the first three decades of the 19th century in both military and (less so) merchant vessels. In the case of the latter, this phenomenon appears to have been gradually replaced by singing chanties after the 1830s, whereas in naval vessels the practice continued at least into the 1860s. As far as the history of chanties is concerned, this phenomenon represents a dead end, though it seems that at least one sailor work-song, "Drunken Sailor” (below) is in the style of the types of fiddle tunes that were once played. The other phenomenon, a vocal one, was the coordinating "cry," in use since the mid-18th century. Although some cries fell out of regular use in the early 19th century, some such cries of a "yo heave ho" variety persisted into the 1850s, and a similar phenomenon continued in use alongside chanties for short tasks until the end of the sailing era. Although these cries predated chanties, I do not believe that they developed into them directly, preferring to understand them as establishing a precondition that allowed for the later adoption of chanties.

This does not mean that European work-singing never "progressed" beyond simple cries. While I do not believe that the cries developed _into_ the chanty form as such, they did appear to develop. For hauling tasks, one rather distinct item developed that was more elaborate than a simple pull and which, while still distinguishable from later chanties, had some traits in common. This item may have been the first widely established sailors' work-song of the 19th century: "Cheer'ly Man." The song was applied to longer hauling tasks than could be served by a mere "heave ho." The most obvious of these would be that of hauling halyards. As noted, in vessels (i.e. military) with large crews, this job could be accomplished, without coordination per se, by simply "walking away" with the rope. A smaller crew, however, would need to organize the task into a series of short pulls. Although the idea that "Cheer'ly Man" developed to fill this need is speculative, one can see that the form of this song is like a series of cries, with "cheer'ly man" forming the phrase—hardly a chorus—in which all join in singing (or shouting) and on which all pull. An assortment of phrases, often of a bawdy nature, were called out by the soloist.

Though other or earlier work-cries were evidently too variable, non-descript, or incidental to receive titles, "Cheer'ly Man," perhaps due to its definite "chorus" phrase, was known by name. The song appears referred to by name several times in the first half of the 19th century. Like the "sing-outs," it lived on alongside later-styled chanties to be remembered even by sailors interviewed by J.M. Carpenter in the 1920s. Still, when writers of later days mentioned it, they regularly attributed it to an early period. When Englishman John Short, who began his sea career in the late 1850s, was interviewed by Sharp, he opined that it must have been the "first chantey ever invented." The American journalist Alden incorrectly believed that "Cheerly men," which he called an example of a song "unmistakably the work of English sailors of an uncertain but very remote period," was limited to English seamen. Nonetheless, he was able to distinguish it from the chanties of his day (1882).

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 07:21 PM

As far as can be reasonably speculated, "Cheer'ly Man" originated some time in the first couple decades of the 19th century. A British writer in 1834 described the song. He remarks that the song had been present in this context "For time out of mind," for which one might presume a couple decades, if not more.

>>On board a revenue cruiser, for want of music, it is customary for one of the men to give them a song, which makes the crew unite their strength, and pull together. The following is a specimen of this species of composition:

O, haul pulley, yoe.
                    Cheerly men.
O, long and strong, yoe, O.
                    Cheerly men.
O, yoe, and with a will,
                    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O.

A Long haul for Widow Skinner,
                    Cheerly men.
Kiss her well before dinner,
                    Cheerly men.
At her, boys, and win her,
                    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O.

A strong pull for Mrs. Bell,
                    Cheerly men.
Who likes a lark right well,
                    Cheerly men.
And, what's more, will never tell,
                    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O.

O haul and split the blocks,
                    Cheerly men.
O haul and stretch her luff,
                    Cheerly men.
Young Lovelies, sweat her up,
                    Cheerly men.
Cheerly, cheerly, cheerly, O.<<

The text given was most likely bowdlerized, for the author also mentions that it was "not celebrated for its decency."
We may consider the earliest positive dating for "Cheerl'y Man" to be July 1925. A passenger was leaving Quebec in a brig when he observed,

>>The topsail haliards, or rope by which the topsail is hoisted, was next ordered to be manned, and the hoisting was accompanied by a lively song, the words of which, being the extemporary composition of the seaman who led, afforded me a good deal of amusement.— One man sung, and the rest joined lustily in the chorus. The following is a specimen:—

Oh rouse him up,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Newry girls,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Now for Warrenpoint,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Rouse him up cheerly,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Oh mast-head him,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Oh, with a will,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Cheerly men,
Oh, oh, yeo,
Oh, yeo, cheerly;
Oh, yeo, cheerly. <<

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 07:22 PM

No other specific songs for halyards are mention around this time; "Cheerl'y Man," then, appears to have been the song of choice attached to this activity. Even as other songs came into existence for halyard work in the mid-1830s, "Cheer'ly Man" remained eminent beside them. It makes notable appearances in the work of Dana (sea experience 1834-36).

>>When we came to mast-head the top-sail yards, with all hands at the halyards, we struck up "Cheerily, men," with a chorus which might have been heard half way to Staten Land.<<

Later references attach it to other hauling tasks, especially that of catting anchor. In early 1840s London, aboard a brigantine, the song was "familiar":

>>Then as the anchors came up to the hawse pipes, and when the cats were hooked on, there came over the still waters of the Downs the familiar song, "Cheerily, men!" from all quarters... <<

Herman Melville, who had experience working in South Pacific whalers, 1841-3, mentioned in his novels the "lively" and "deep mellow old song," variously as "Ho, cheerly men!," "Ho-o-he-yo, cheerily men!," and "Ho! the fair wind! oh-he-yo, cheerly men!" for catting anchor and squaring yards. The wide applicability of the song for hauling tasks is seen in the following reference describing a scene from April 1842, in a ship bound out from New York.

>>The men have been at work most of this day getting the guns up out of the hold and mounting them. They were stowed away below shortly after leaving New York. Being quite heavy, it took several men to hoist them up out of the hold, and they raised the song of "Cheerily, oh cheerily," several times. This is a favorite song with the seamen. One acts as leader, and invents as he goes along, a sentence of some six or eight syllables, no matter what. To-day some of the sentences were, "Help me to sing a song;" "Now all you fine scholars;" "You must excuse me now," &c.; then comes in a semi-chorus "Cheerily oh!" then another sentence, and a full chorus, "Cheerily oh ~~~~~~ cheerily." <<

Such a "full chorus" appears to have merely been a melismatic extension of the syllable "oh" or other nonsense. This elongated gesture seems to have indicated a cadence, a rounding out of a set of pulls. Thus unlike most chanties the refrain was not of a significant metrical length; it did not balance the length of the solo, but rather came as a simple cry at the end.
"Cheer'ly Man" was still known as a halyard song into the 1850s. While chanties would have been current at this time, the following author includes "Cheer'ly" as an example of a topsail halyard song.

>>In a little schooner in which I made a voyage up the Mediterranean, we had some excellent singers; and scarcely was a rope touched, sail set, or other heavy work done, without a song: and this may, in some measure, be accounted for by the encouragement given them by our captain, who would often promise all hands a tot of rum, if they did their work in a seamanlike manner, and sang well…

Polly Racket, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull),
Pawned my jacket, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull),
And sold the ticket, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull);
Ho, hawly, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull).

Rouse him up, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull),
Pull up the devil, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull);
And make him civil, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull),
Oh, hawly, hi-ho, cheerymen—(pull). <<

In this example, there is a clear four-phrase stanza-like form. In other words, it was not just a matter of "say a line, then pull at the end," but rather the melodic cadences and the "hawly" phrase caused sets of four lines to be grouped. It is in this sense that "Cheer'ly can be positively considered a more sophisticated form than earlier work-cries—a song.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 07:24 PM

The earlier mentioned Irishman who traveled to Australia in 1853 remembered this version for halyards, which he gives two "verses" with score.

>>Cheerily men!
Oh upreef'd topsail hi ho!
Cheerily men!
High in the sky, hi ho!
Cheerily men!
Oh! rouse him up, her, hi ho!
Cheerily, men!
Oh! he hi ho,
Cheerily, men!...

Cheerily men! 

Who stole my jacket, hi ho!
                    Cheerily men! 

Sold the pawn ticket, hi ho!
                    Cheerily men! 

Oh, that was shameful, hi ho!
                    Cheerily men! 

Oh ! he hi ho,
Cheerily men! <<

"Cheerl'y" man was known to the first writers to address chanties in a focused fashion. In Allen's Oberlin Monthly piece (1858), it is a halyard song.

>>Oh haulee, heigho, cheeryman!
O! pull like brothers, heigho, cheeryman,
And not like lubbers, heigho, cheeryman;
O! haulee, heigho, cheeryman… <<

Likewise, the Once a Week article (1868) has it,

>>Pull together, cheerily men, 

'Gainst wind and weather, cheerily men. 

For one another, cheerily men, O, 
Cheerily men, O, cheerily men…

Oh, rotten pork, cheerily men, 

And lots of work, cheerily men, 

Would kill a Turk, cheerily men. oh,
Cheerily men.

Nothing to drink, cheerily men, 

The water does stink, cheerily men, 

And for Christians, just think, cheerily men, 
Oh, cheerily men. <<

We may suppose that an 1860s form is what was learned by Capt. Whall, who printed it with tune.

>>O Nancy Dawson, Hio!
Cheer'ly man;
She'd got a notion, Hio-o
Cheer'ly man;
For our old bo'sun, Hio!
Cheer'ly man,
O! Hauley, Hio-o!
Cheer'ly man… <<

And likely of a similar time period, Capt. John Robinson's version—one of the earliest chanties in his memory—with score, is simply titled "Catting the Anchor":

>>Pull one and all.
Hoy, Hoy, Cheery men!
On this cat fall!
Hoy! Hoy! Cheery men!
Answer the call!
Hoy, Hoy! Cheery men!
Hoy, Haulee, Hoy! Hoy! Cheery men! <<

Three more rhyming verses follow. It is clear from Whall's and Robinson's writing that the fourth (e.g. "Hoy, Haulee") line was sung entirely in chorus.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 07:26 PM

As already seen by Alden's reference noted above, this song was still observable in the 1880s. As to why he believed it was a purely English song, I can only speculate: Not being like most other chanties in form, which Alden considered to be mainly American, "Cheerl'y" may have appeared particularly English by contrast. Also in the 1880s, L.A. Smith collected a version, which she called "Sally Racket."

>>Then there is the well-known topsail-halyard song, "Sally Racket," greatly used by the sailors when loading their ships with timber at Quebec. In this chanty some of the lines are much longer than others, and to any one not acquainted with Jack Tar's style of singing, it would seem impossible to make them come in, but the sailors seem to be able to manage it. Like "Reuben Ranzo," the solo lines of Sally Racket are always repeated, the same chorus occurring after each solo line:

Sally Racket, hoy oh,
Cheerily, men.
Sally Racket, hoy oh!
Cheerily, men.
Sally Racket, hoy oh!
Cheerily, men; a haughty hoy oh! cheerily, men... <<

Subsequent stanzas are similarly "strung out." Smith notes, interestingly yet not surprisingly, that the pull came on the word "men." What may be surprising is that, at least as she understood it, another pull was taken during the soloist's "oh." This seems doubtful.
Smith's calling the song "Sally Racket" is haphazard, and only tells us that one of the common verses (or the verses she heard) used that name. As seen in earlier examples, the text often had an extemporized quality, and it was, in earlier times at least, improvised. Nonetheless, women's names, including "Nancy Dawson" and "Sally Racket," are attested more than once. The version mediated by Terry, based on what was sung to him by a Capt. R.W. Robertson and likely bowdlerized, includes a woman's name in each stanza. It is possible that, with time, texts of "Cheer'ly Man" standardized somewhat. However, as Hugill illustrates, there is similarity in soloist's content between "Cheer'ly" and the song with a chorus of "haul 'er away," raising the possibility that the "Sally Racket" verses were borrowed into "Cheer'ly" from elsewhere, for example the Caribbean "Missa Ram Goat." On this point, there is some evidence that the Caribbean-associated name of "Sally Brown" had become part of the "Cheer'ly" universe. An account from 1826 notes that the contemporary manager of the Chatham Garden Theatre, New York, was an ex-sailor from England, who performed a usual schtick:

>>He was principally applauded for singing a common sailors' chant in character, having a sort of "Sally Brown, oh, ho," chorus; and requiring the action of pulling a rope, spitting upon the hand, and the accompaniment of a horrid yell. <<

While "Sally Brown" is a chanty item that would emerge clearly in the historical record in the 1830s, there is reasonable doubt that that item is what was meant. This seems like it might have been something more akin to "Cheer'ly Man," being a hauling song and containing the characteristic "oh, ho." It may well have been a different song entirely, from among the "chants" that were not so well-recognized as "Cheer'ly."
        Smith's comment on the uneven meter of the solo text supports the evidence from notated versions of the tune that the meter of the song was irregular or the solo lines were delivered in an unmetered or rubato fashion. The scores provided by a few authors, inconsistent as they are, look suspiciously like the tune's meter was regularized for the sake of simplicity. These make it difficult to envision just how "Cheer'ly" was executed. Happily, we do have an audio rendition of this in the form of Carpenter's field recording of Edward Robinson. Robinson, who first sailed in 1846, had experiences stretching back further than other informants, and so it is not surprising that he would be the one to remember this "old" song.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Oct 13 - 07:27 PM

The style of the "Cheer'ly Man," which resembles so-called "sing-outs," indicates how distinct it was from presumably later-developed songs that form the core of the chanty genre. It really was in its own class, even if its great popularity and, at one time, rather exclusive association with hauling tasks of any length meant that it lived on into the "chanty era." Was "Cheer'ly" a proto-chanty? In that it does not exhibit aspects of the core formal and stylistic paradigms of chanties, my answer is negative. However, so far as the shipboard working context is an important aspect of chanty history, this song, being a means for a small crew to haul up a heavy object, is an important trendsetter for that aspect.


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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 01:11 PM

I just found my old Alan Mills sea chantey record, and this song is on it, but not with the lyrics discussed here. It does seem proto-chanteyesque - each verse names a woman and, usually, tells what happened to her after she met a sailor. It is a very clean song but I assume the sailors would sing it a lot bawdlier. Mind the neologisms.

I can't find the lyrics anywhere on the internet so I'll listen and get them to you.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 01:18 PM

From the album Songs of the Sea
by Alan Mills and the Four Shipmates

Oh, Nancy Dawson-i-o, cheerly men
She robbed the bosun-i-o, cheerly men
That was a caution-i-o, cheerly men-o, hi-li-hi-o, cheerly men

...Fanny Mailer... loved a poor sailor... married a tailor...

...Betsy Baker... lived in Longacre... married a Quaker...

...Kitty Carson... jilted the parson... then married a mason...

...Polly Riddle... broke her new fiddle... right through the middle

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,#
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 01:21 PM

"Cheerly, Men" is the title Alan Mills gives it on the 1957 Folkways album.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,#
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 01:28 PM

Sorry, cross-posted.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 02:23 PM

Should your second post be 1825 rather than 1925?

Your article seems to suggest that cries only started in the mid-18thc. Surely there are plenty of references that predate this. What about the description in The 16thc Complaynt of Scotland?

Off the top of my head in the Napoleonic Wars didn't the RN revenue cutters off the north east coast use chanteys, particularly 'Cheerly Men'? I seem to remember reading this somewhere.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Rumncoke
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 09:48 PM

I know this one from the time when I had a yacht in the 1970s, along with the faster rhythm of 'haul'em away.

there was
Hetty Hawkins ey-oh cheerly man
In her white stockings ey-oh cheerly man
Beats all at knocking ey-oh
Cheerly man oh
Haul a ey-oh ho! cheerly man.

The two chanteys had similar but not entirely interchangeable words, for instance

little Delis Ducket, haul em away
washes in a bucket haul em away
she's a whore but doesn't look it, haul em away
haul a hay ho, haul em away

doesn't fit into cheerly man's rhythm.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Jun 15 - 11:14 PM

Fun thread!

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 May 19 - 08:55 PM

Fun = cheerly = Gullah "shantee" (happy, cheerful.) Naaaaah, too easy.... but then again "stamp and go" means fast food.

"Cheer'ly Man": the proto-chanty?"

“The Greeks and Romans had their Celeufma or chearing fong.”[Capt. Forrest, 1779]

"Via, via, cheerly mates!” [footnote to definition of the celeusma, Lexicon Universal, Hofmanni, 1698]

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 May 19 - 08:58 PM

“We fare better; cheerly, cheerly boys,
The fhip runs merrily; my Captain's melancholy,
And nothing cures that in him but a Sea-fight;
I hope to meet a faile boy, and a right one.”
[Double Marriage, Act I, Sc.I, The Comedies and Tragedies of Beaumont & Fletcher, 1647, p.26]

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 May 19 - 09:21 PM

Also: A Journal of a Voyage to Quebec in 1825, Finan, 1828. Mentioned in the other threads.

Only slight drift:

The "war cry," "shout," or "cheer" is a prehistoric response. The Greek keleusma alala became the Roman "elelu" and thence to the Christian's "Allelujah!" and the modern "ululu" and "oo-RAH!"

Huzzah! is another ancient one (l.heus, Holla!)


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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 May 19 - 10:40 PM

Phil, the Christians got "Allelujah" from the Roman "elelu"? Not from the Hebrew "Halleluyah", which goes back at least to the Book of Psalms?

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Jun 19 - 12:43 PM

It was all old news when the Old Testament was new:

ecclesiastic (adj.)
late 15c., from Middle French ecclésiastique and directly from Late Latin ecclesiasticus, from Greek ekklesiastikos "of the (ancient Athenian) assembly," in late Greek, "of the church," from ekklesiastes "speaker in an assembly or church, preacher," from ekkalein "to call out," from ek "out" (see ex-) + kalein "to call" (from PIE root *kele- (2) "to shout"). As a noun, "one holding an office in the Christian ministry," 1650s; it also was used as a noun in Late Latin.

*kele- (2)
*kel?-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to shout." Perhaps imitative.
It forms all or part of: acclaim; acclamation; Aufklarung; calendar; chiaroscuro; claim; Claire; clairvoyance; clairvoyant; clamor; Clara; claret; clarify; clarinet; clarion; clarity; class; clear; cledonism; conciliate; conciliation; council; declaim; declare; disclaim; ecclesiastic; eclair; exclaim; glair; hale (v.); halyard; intercalate; haul; keelhaul; low (v.); nomenclature; paraclete; proclaim; reclaim; reconcile.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit usakala "cock," literally "dawn-calling;" Latin calare "to announce solemnly, call out," clamare "to cry out, shout, proclaim;" Middle Irish cailech "cock;" Greek kalein "to call," kelados "noise," kledon "report, fame;" Old High German halan "to call;" Old English hlowan "to low, make a noise like a cow;" Lithuanian kalba "language."

Keleusma = sailor shout. Proto, late, what have you.

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Subject: RE: Cheer'ly Man - history
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 01 Jun 19 - 12:49 PM

The Roman chantyman hortator is from the same root as exhort and oratory, ie: cheerleader.


“There was one eight (octareme), which was called Leontophoros, remarkable for its size and beauty. In this ship while there were a hundred men rowing each file so that there were eight hundred men from each side, from both sides there were one thousand six hundred oarsmen. Those who fought from the deck were one thousand two hundred. And there were two helmsmen.”

" thousand six hundred oarsmen." that's quite a hallelujah chorus in any day. Probably some kind of world record.

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