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 a 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: