“Goe you by water?”

I think, though I could be mistaken, that many people do not know Roger Williams wrote A Key into the Language of America, published in 1643. It’s sort of a lexicon+ on the language and culture of the Narragansett Indians. Phrase lists and anthropological observations. I’ve known about the book for some time, but don’t have a copy. There’s an excerpt in American Sea Writing, though, and now I want it. It’s wonderful. At the end of the chapter, “Of the Sea,” he composes some verse:

Alone ‘mongst Indians in Canoes,
Sometimes o’re-turn’d, I have been
Halfe inch from death, in Ocean deepe
God’s wonders I have seene.

Plus, I learned how to say “Bring hither my paddle,” “Pull up, or row lustily,” and “We shall be drown’d.”

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