Sunday, March 17, 2013

Seafaring Sunday: Sea Language

The sea language is not soon learned, much less understood, being only proper to him that has served his apprenticeship: because that, a boisterous sea and stormy weather will make a man not bred on it so sick, that it bereaves him of legs and stomach and courage, so much as to fight with his meat. And in such weather, when he hears a seaman cry starboard, or larboard, or to bid alooff, or flat a sheet, or haul home a cluing, he thinks he hears a barbarous speech, which he conceives not the meaning of.

~ from the Naval Tracts of Sir William Monson. Monson, who was from a landed family in Lincolnshire, ran away to sea in 1585 at the age of 16. He saw service in a privateer as one of Queen Elizabeth's sea dogs and was a lieutenant in the Charles when she joined the English fleet against the Spanish Armada. Monson retired in the 1630s with the rank of Vice-Admiral and settled in to write his now famous tracts. He died in 1643.

Header: English ships and the Spanish Armada by an unknown artist of the British School via Wikipedia


Timmy! said...

I know the feeling, well, pauline.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Pauline said...

The line about one's stomach "fighting with its meat" did make me think of you.