Be not quass of nika…
Frederick Whymper‘s contribution to the Chinook Jargon doggerel canon!
In “The Sea: Its Stirring Story of Adventure, Peril & Heroism” (London: Cassell, 1883), this knowledgeable Northwest hand discourses sagely on Chinuk Wawa, including a sample (p. 168) of a supposedly widely known verse he attributes to a naval officer:
Oh! be not quass of nika;
Thy seahoose turn on me;
For thou must but hyas cumtux,
That I hyas tikkee thee!
Nika potlatch hyu ictas;
Nika makook sappalell[;]
Of persicees and la biscuit,
I will give thee all thy fill!
I’d like to know if this is an adaptation of some poem that was already famous at the time (first half of the 1860s) when Whymper was in BC and Alaska.
Vocabulary help, for any who want it:
quass afraid; nika me
hyas cumtux well know
hyas tikkee love
Nika potlatch hyu ictas I’ll give [you] many things
Nika makook sappalell I’ll buy [you] bread
persicee blanket, la biscuit biscuits/hardtack
The man himself: