Leben mit Herman Melville

The Mermaid Problem:

with 3 comments

Don’t Go Searching For A Mermaid, Son,
If You Don’t Know How to Swim.

Update for Und Jan Mayen, der alte Flegel
and LiederJan Mayen und die Wahrheit über den alten Flegel:

I soon got used to this singing, for the sailors never touched a rope without it. Sometimes, when no one happened to strike up, and the pulling, whatever it might be, did not seem to be getting forward very well, the mate would always say, “Come men, can’t any of you sing? Sing now and raise the dead.” And then some one of them would begin, and if every man’s arms were as much relieved as mine by the song, and he could pull as much better as I did, with such a cheering accompaniment, I am sure the song was well worth the breath expended on it. It is a great thing in a sailor to know how to sing well, for he gets a great name by it from the officers, and a good deal of popularity among his shipmates. Some sea captains, before shipping a man, always ask him whether he can sing out at a rope.

Herman Melville about sea shanties, in: Redburn: His First Voyage:
Being the Sailor-boy Confessions and Reminiscences
of the Son-of-a-Gentleman, in the Merchant Service
Chapter 9, 1849

The Mermaid Lyrics

Image: An Album of Street Literature, 1800 (?)
via Never Sea Land, 28. January 2008;
Music (being a completely different song): Great Big Sea: The Mermaid,
in: The Hard & The Easy, 2005.

Written by Wolf

29. February 2008 at 12:01 am

Posted in Mundschenk Wolf

3 Responses

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  1. ich hab inzwischen den Text verstanden, und bin sehr, sehr rot angelaufen


    29. February 2008 at 11:21 am

  2. Huch, das Bild seh ich ja erst jetzt, das Lied kenn ich doch auch. Habs glaub ich von den Wolfe Tones.


    29. February 2008 at 11:23 am

  3. Von dem vorgesungenen Text läuft man rot an? Ist doch nur die praktische Anwendung des philosophischen Problems… – Das abgebildete kenn ich von Fiddler’s Green; denen traut man ja gar nicht zu, dass sie irgendwas entschärfen…


    29. February 2008 at 3:05 pm

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