WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chaunt

We all do it…sing, that is.  Whether well or ill, in the shower or driving, for an audience or when we think no one else is around – everyone sings.  This week, let’s learn a new term to use, and perhaps a new tune to sing.

Here's a Song of Love and Maids Forsaken, James Gillray, 1793

Here’s a Song of Love and Maids Forsaken, James Gillray, 1793

 

 

Chaunt (noun)
A song; 1670s, from chant (verb) or from French chant (12th century)

 

To chaunt means to sing.

To throw a rum chaunt means to sing a good song.

 

 

The Thieves’ Chaunt (1836)

By W.H. Smith in The Individual

There is a nook in the boozing ken,
Where many a mug I fog,
And the smoke curls gently, while cousin Ben
Keeps filling the pots again and again,
If the coves have stump’d their hog.

The liquors around are diamond bright,
And the diddle is best of all;
But I never in liquors took delight,
For liquors I think is all a bite,
So for heavy wet I call.

The heavy wet in a pewter quart
As brown as badger’s hue,
More than Bristol milk or gin,
Brady or rum, I tipple in,
With my darling blowen, Sue.

Oh! grunting peck in its eating
Is a richly soft and savoury thing;
A Norfolk capon is jolly grub
When you wash it down with strength of bub:
But dearer to me Sue’s kisses far,
Than grunting peck or other grub are,
And I never funks the lambskin men,
When I sits with her in the boozing ken.

Her duds are bob – she’s a kinchin crack,
And I hopes as how she’ll never back;
For she never lushes dog’s-soup or lap,
But she loves my cousin the buffer’s tap.
She’s wide-awake, and her prating cheat,
For humming  cove was never beat;
But because she lately nimm’d some tin,
They have sent her to lodge at the King’s Head Inn.

 

Need help deciphering the vulgar parts of this little chaunt?  Click here to read the annotated version.  The Thieves’ Chaunt was taken from Musa Pedestris, Three Centuries of Canting Songs and Slang Rhymes (1536-1896), collected and annotated by John S. Farmer.

Jack Tar Admiring the Fairer Sex, Thomas Rowlandson (no documentation on how much gin it took to form said admiration)

Jack Tar Admiring the Fairer Sex, Thomas Rowlandson (though there is no documentation on how much gin it took to form said admiration)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All definitions and/or examples for this post are taken from Online Etymological DictionaryCant: A Gentleman’s Guide, and/or 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

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