Sing Her a Song

Sea shanties are a thing I’m suddenly learning quite a bit about. Of course, I’d heard the term “sea shanty” before, but to me it simply meant a song sung by sailors. Turns out sea shanties were a bit more like the cadences of the military. Songs used to help people keep in time while doing tasks requiring more than a single person (such as lifting sails, lifting and dropping anchor, and pumping out water). I’m going to be writing a few of these, I imagine. Experimenting with them as I go. Most likely all will be from the perspective of Dolce, my current minstrel. But some, like today’s, won’t mention any specific setting elements and therefor could be easily ported into any setting.

To learn more about sea shanties, I recommend this article from artofmanliness.com as well as this thesis written by, Pallas Catenella Choi Riedler, a student pursuing Honors in a Music Program. I found them both fairly educational.

Shanties often had a call-and-response form, so for my purposes I am shortening “Shantyman” to “S” and “Crew” to “C” in the below. Without further delay, my first attempt at a sea shanty…

Edit on 5/29/2020: A quick edit to say that this would in my mind be a halyard shanty, characterized by longer vocal lines and its verse and refrain format. This video of Hurrah for the Blackball Line is a good example of a halyard shanty at work.

Edit 6/2/2020: So I was trying to adjust the date on this to have it appear in my blog after the story in which the girls finally take control of the ship, but somehow managed to set it to a scheduled draft rather than just changing the time stamp. That said, sorry for the double post to those of you who have already seen this one.


Sing Her a Song

S: Our Captain is rising before the sun
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: Measuring all that needs to be done
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

S: With eyes on the crew and heart out at sea
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: The ocean’s the lock, her ship is the key
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

S: Plunder is waiting for us to lay claim
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: But Gods I love playing this dangerous game!
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

S: We live every day as though death is at hand
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: Til the battle is over and we make for land
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

S: Our names will be spoken on every isle
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: Toasts raised to our conquests, wicked and vile!
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

S: We’ll sell all our spoils and rake in our gold
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: And live like the wealthiest nobles of old!
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

S: Til the Captain comes calling in the early morn
C: Sing her a song, boys, sing her a song!
S: To beckon us back to the duties we’ve borne!
C: We need a song, boys, sing her a song!

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