Heaving of the Lead

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HEAVING OF THE LEAD. English, Air (cut time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. A seasong by English composer William Shield (1748–1828), a genre for which he was famous. It was composed in 1793. The title refers to the old nautical procedure for depth sounding; a lead weight was attached to a line and paid overboard in measured lengths.

For England when with a fav'ring gale,
Our gallant ship up Channel steer'd.

The melody was published on a song sheet in Philadelphia by Carr & Co. in 1793, who wasted no time in circulating the popular English song in America.

Source for notated version: the 1823–26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778–1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner].

Printed sources: Deacon (John Clare and the Folk Tradition), 1983; No. 65, p. 326. Sumner (Lincolnshire Collections, vol. 1: The Joshua Gibbons Manuscript), 1997; No. 166, p. 89.

Recorded sources:

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