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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
raredance Lyr Req: Animals at Sea Song Challenge (74* d) Lyr Add: OLD HOSS 04 Jan 03

Here's a variant to Old Horse. It is from the manuscript "Chanties and Other Songs of the Sea" recalled by William H Smith of Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Mr. Smith was born in 1867. The lyrics were taken down and typed by his son in 1940. The first verse is similar to the Martin Carthy version. The sailor's ration of usually salt beef or pork was known as "salt horse" to the sailor's. A mocking jest to be sure, but who is to say it was never true. Maybe the modern day equivalent was the "McDonald's uses kangaroo meat in their burgers" rumor some years ago. Doerflinger has commented that before the meat was cooked it sas "soaked for days in the 'harness cask' on deck, to make it edible.". According to Edith Fowke, verses like these were often chanted when the meat was served and were sometimes called "The Sailor's Grace".


Old Hoss, old hoss, how came you here?
You've carted poles for many a year.
With kicks and cuffs and sore abuse,
You're salted down for sailor's use.

From the foremast to the pump
You'll find me salted down in junks;
Now I think i'm donw at last,
But if you think I lie,
You'll find my hoof in the bottom of the harness cask.

rich r

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