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Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)

DigiTrad:
A CAPITAL SHIP
BLOW YE WINDS (3)
BLOW YE WINDS IN THE MORNING
BLOW YE WINDS IN THE MORNING (II)
TEN THOUSAND MILES AWAY


Related thread:
(origins) Origin:Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (5)


Ross Hatton 03 Dec 16 - 01:25 PM
Steve Gardham 03 Dec 16 - 02:58 PM
Reinhard 03 Dec 16 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Lighter 03 Dec 16 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Dec 16 - 04:53 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Dec 16 - 05:46 PM
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Subject: Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)
From: Ross Hatton
Date: 03 Dec 16 - 01:25 PM

Hi All,

I've been looking over the lyrics to "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning" (meaning the whaling song that starts " 'Tis advertised in Boston, New York and Buffalo," as there appear to be several songs floating around under this title).

One line that's been puzzling me is at the end of the compass verse,

Now comes that damned old compass,
It will grieve your heart full sore.
For theirs is two and thirty points
And we have forty four.

I haven't been able to find any reference anywhere else to a compass with "forty four points", which would be an odd construction since 44 is not a power of 2.

My best conjecture has been that:

(a) this verse is about the practice of sailors being drilled on the points of the compass
(b) the singer is complaining about the difficulty of this task for a landsman out on his first voyage
(c) the verse originally said something like "we have four and four", referring to a landsman's use of cardinal and ordinal directions in place of the more nuanced nautical compass with two more levels of detail.

I can't, however, find any lyric sets for this song that don't have the "forty four" line. Anyone here know more about the history of this song?

Thanks,

-Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Dec 16 - 02:58 PM

FWIW I like your (c) explanation. It follows naturally
two AND thirty
Four AND four.

The other alternative is, six and four (64), which would make better sense perhaps.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)
From: Reinhard
Date: 03 Dec 16 - 03:24 PM

The page Sea shanties of the Naval Marine Archive states:

"Miss Colcord's version (probably obtained from the Log book of the "Elizabeth Swift", 1859, in the New Bedford Public Library around the year 1920 - is the only version that contains the verse referring to the "forty four points" which have remained a mystery to all writers that I have come across on the subject (Colcord, Palmer, Sharp, Hugill, Harlow, Lloyd, Huntington, etc.) I have never been able to obtain an explanation in the nearly sixty years since I learned this shanty.

I have at least nine versions of this shanty. Miss Colcord's (which, by the way, she gives as a forebitter) has the rather bizarre distinction of containing more mathematical numbers than just about any shanty I have ever come across - not just the 44 (unique), but also 500, 400, 6, 1/2 (several times), 32, 50, and 190."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 03 Dec 16 - 03:46 PM

Joanna Colcord, from a seafaring family, had the same question when she published the song. She didn't even speculate on what it might mean.

I know of only two other authentic texts. (The "English" version sung by A. L. Lloyd looks like Lloyd's rewrite of the American song.)

The stanzas appearing in A. H. Verrill's "The Real Story of the Whaler" (1916) do not include the compass reference.

But the version found by Gale Huntington in an 1859 logbook does include it.

Presumably the original has been jumbled. "Four and four" is a great guess. It's a "minor" verbal change, and it makes good sense!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Dec 16 - 04:53 PM

Well this is a mystery wrapped in a riddle for me. I was schooled that "forty and four" referred to a 'Kanaka compass' (the luopan or Feng Shui instrument) and had never questioned it until now.

Depending on the type and period it would have had the four seasonal points and forty concentric rings. Some had five cardinal points based on the elements.

And now all these years later I can find not a thing on the Interwebs to back up the family legend. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow Ye Winds in the Morning (Whaling)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Dec 16 - 05:46 PM

Wow!


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