The Chaunty of the Nona

 

Some of Hilaire Belloc’s songs survive in written form but without a musical accompaniment. Chris has put The Chaunty of the Nona to an old English folk song air. “The tune seemed to be in keeping with the words and the character of both Hilaire Belloc and his old boat, The Nona,” Chris explained. “You will see that I have added an extra line to make the tune fit and some other very small changes. I don’t think Belloc would have minded as long as his song was being sung!”

Belloc would take out onto the waves whenever he needed to escape from the stresses and disputations of his life. Being out on the salt waves refreshed him and made him ready to face life again, as he explained in his book, The Cruise of the Nona –

“There, on the sea, is a man nearest his own making, and in communion with that from which he came and to which he will return. For the wise men of very long time ago have said, and it is true, that out of salt water all things came. The sea is the matrix of creation, and we have the memory of it in our blood.”

“The sea has taken me to herself whenever I sought it and has given me relief from men. It has rendered remote the cares and the wastes of the land; for of all creatures that move and breathe upon the earth, we of mankind are the fullest of sorrow. But the sea shall comfort us, and perpetually show us new things and assure us. It is the common sacrement of this world. May it be to others what it has been to me.”