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Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order

DigiTrad:
I WILL PUT MY SHIP IN ORDER
I WILL SET MY SHIP IN ORDER (2)


GUEST,Lucy 23 Jun 03 - 08:14 AM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Jun 03 - 08:44 AM
Susan of DT 23 Jun 03 - 05:51 PM
Shalini 29 Apr 09 - 02:29 AM
Joe Offer 29 Apr 09 - 03:32 AM
Terry McDonald 29 Apr 09 - 03:42 AM
GUEST 29 Apr 09 - 03:58 AM
Shalini 29 Apr 09 - 04:20 AM
Shalini 29 Apr 09 - 05:21 AM
Shalini 29 Apr 09 - 05:33 AM
Terry McDonald 29 Apr 09 - 06:06 AM
Marje 29 Apr 09 - 06:19 AM
Shalini 29 Apr 09 - 12:46 PM
Terry McDonald 29 Apr 09 - 01:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Apr 09 - 01:14 PM
Shalini 29 Apr 09 - 01:28 PM
Terry McDonald 29 Apr 09 - 01:40 PM
Terry McDonald 29 Apr 09 - 01:42 PM
SINSULL 29 Apr 09 - 04:02 PM
GUEST 30 Apr 09 - 12:43 AM
Terry McDonald 30 Apr 09 - 12:35 PM
Shalini 01 May 09 - 10:53 PM
michaelr 02 May 09 - 03:16 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 11 - 01:55 AM
Fidjit 23 Jan 11 - 03:39 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 11 - 04:28 AM
Steve Gardham 23 Jan 11 - 06:29 PM
Steve Gardham 24 Jan 11 - 02:14 PM
Jim Dixon 24 Mar 13 - 11:47 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: 7th verse - I will put my ship in order
From: GUEST,Lucy
Date: 23 Jun 03 - 08:14 AM

Hi -
Was just wondering if anyone knew the 7th verse to "I Will Put My Ship in Order" (June Tabor version)? Can't seem to find it anywhere.
Thanks,
love Lucy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 7th verse - I will put my ship in order
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Jun 03 - 08:44 AM

Do the sleeve notes specify her source for the song? So far as I remember, it's a Scottish version. The following three local links may help.

I will set my ship in order - set from the Greig-Duncan collection, with 7 tunes; unfortunately, no provenance is indicated for any of them, though presumably at least some are from Greig-Duncan.

I will put my ship in order - "sung by Ed Trickett", no prior source named.

I will set my ship in order - text from Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 7th verse - I will put my ship in ord
From: Susan of DT
Date: 23 Jun 03 - 05:51 PM

Of the two versions in the DT, one has 6 verses and the other has 13 verses. What verse were you looking for?


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Subject: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 02:29 AM

What are the origins of the tune June Tabor sings this song to? Are there other songs set to the same melody?


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:32 AM

Here's what the Traditional Ballad Index says - not much, but something:

I Will Put My Ship In Order

DESCRIPTION: The singer puts his ship in order to sail to his true love. He arrives wet and tired, knocks at her window, and asks her to let him in. She delays (perhaps her parents are watching), and he leaves before she comes. She laments his departure
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1876 (Christie)
KEYWORDS: ship love reunion separation nightvisit betrayal
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North),Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Stokoe/Reay, pp. 35-36, "I Drew My Ship into the Harbour" (1 text, 1 tune, with a "ripest apples" floating verse)
Greig #54, p. 1, "I Will Set My Good Ship in Order" (1 text)
GreigDuncan4 792, "I Will Set My Ship in Order" (19 texts, 16 tunes)
Ord, pp. 318-319, "I Will Set My Ship in Order" (1 text)
DT, SHIPORDR* SHIPORD2*
ADDITIONAL: W. Christie, editor, Traditional Ballad Airs (Edinburgh, 1876 (downloadable pdf by University of Edinburgh, 2007)), Vol I, pp. 224-225, "I Will Put My Ship in Order" (1 tune)

Roud #402
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Drowsy Sleeper" [Laws M4] (plot)
cf. "Rise Up Quickly and Let Me In (The Ghostly Lover)" (lyrics, theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
My True Love Johnnie
NOTES: This song is about 80% identical with the piece I've titled "Rise Up Quickly and Let Me In (The Ghostly Lover)"; the only differences are in the first verse (about the ship) and the ending (in this, the lover leaves; in the other, the girl arrives in time to admit him). Fragments could file with either song.
Some, including Roud, have identified this song with "The Drowsy Sleeper," and there is some justice to this; there may be cross-influence. Indeed, for a time I listed this as an alternate title of "Drowsy Sleeper." But we are splitters, and so the two are now separate. I think that's the proper decision anyway.
The last few verses of this song bear a resemblance to Song of Solomon 5:2-6, but that may be coincidence. - RBW
GreigDuncan4: "Greig prints a composite version."
Christie [beware], "as sung by the Editor's grandfather," has a happy ending: "He turned him right and round so quickly, Says, 'Come with me, my lovely one, And we'll be wed, my own sweet lover, And let them talk when we are gone." - BS
Last updated in version 2.5
File: Ord318

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2010 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:42 AM

June's version, and that by Bellowhead on their 'Matachin' album seem to have come from Shirley Collins. She came across it in the 1950s in John Stokoe's 'Songs and Ballads of Northern England' but, as she writes in her Within Sound 4 CD set, 'It had a major tune that didn't quite fit the mood of the words, so I slightly altered it. Alan Lomax wrote in his notes for 'False True Lovers' that the listener who care to compare the recorded version with that of Stokoe will see how Miss Collins has breathed life back into the print and made something lovely and alive out of an unimpressive folk fragment.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 7th verse - I will put my ship in ord
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:58 AM

June added her final verse from another song, "Ripest Apples":

    Ripest apples are soonest rotten,
    Hottest love is soonest cold.
    Young men's words are soon forgotten,
    Pretty maid, don't be too bold.

She comments:
"I put the last verse about the ripest apples in – which belongs in a song of its own – because it seemed so appropriate that that verse should come at the end. Long after having done that, I found another version of "Ship In Order" which actually had that verse in it. People think alike over the years. It's fascinating how it comes back round." (from this page)


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 04:20 AM

Thanks for looking it up, Joe.

Terry, that is interesting information! I didn't remember that Shirley Collin had done it too, as 'I Drew My Ship'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 05:21 AM

There's one melody here


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 05:33 AM

An interesting reference to the song in an article on 'Borrowing in Celtic Music' by Allan Moore. I hope it is alright to post this passage here?

"I start at the largest scale – the borrowing of an entire song. I have been working with three versions of the song 'I will put my ship in order', part of a large family of Anglo-Celtic songs collected both in the UK and in North America under such titles as 'The Drowsy Sleeper' and 'The Silver Dagger'. The first of these versions was recorded by the band Ossian in 1984, the second by June Tabor in 1999, and the third by Capercaillie in 2003. It is a song about unrequited love, although the cause of the estrangement between the young couple who populate the song varies between the girl (in one of these versions) and her parents (in the other two). At least eight tunes are used traditionally for this song, but the tune for none of these three recordings appears in any catalogues I have found. The tune for the Ossian version was written by singer Tony Cuffe, to words from Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads originally published in 1930, and this tune is taken up in Capercaillie's version. There are a number of subtle differences, of course, but there are a couple of quite significant ones too. Firstly, in the middle of the second and fourth lines of the verse, the melodic line drops by a fifth as sung by Karen Matheson, as opposed to the third present in Tony Cuffe's melody. This means that, for Matheson, the ensuing cadence is approached from below (^5 ^1 ^2), rather than above (^5 ^3 ^2). This seems to signify that the decision to 'sail her on the sea' (as the first verse has it) seems in Capercaillie's hands more the outcome of some inner struggle than a simple choice between two alternatives.

There is a more significant distinction, which lies in the accompaniment. At the point at which the girl points out to her lover that her parents will never agree to their union, the bass line changes, becomes higher, loses its emphasis on root positions and, combined with a change of vocal tone, suggests a greater degree of intimacy and perhaps resignation at this point. I could go on, but this should be enough to suggest that although both bands are performing the same song, the performances are shaped quite differently.

The original lyrics collected and printed in 1930 to the song 'I will set my ship in order' run to 13 verses. Of these, Ossian and Capercaillie take nine, tightening the structure somewhat. In this version, a girl refuses to unbar the door to her lover for various reasons – by the time she actually does so, he has departed. A second set of lyrics is widely available on the Internet (see e.g. Bluegrass Messengers, n.d.), to a song 'I will put my ship in order', only five of whose verses appear in Ord. This second set is the basis for June Tabor's version and it omits all the reasons for the man to shoot off before his lover has had time to unbar the door. If one compares Tabor's melody to the other two, one notices that while the first two phrases have notable similarities in terms of contour, the latter two are reversed (ABBA rather than ABAB), while the stress is altogether different – not "I will set" but "I will put", which makes the song one which describes action, rather than one which recounts the reasons which give rise to that action – hence also the needlessness of the explanatory verses.

So, three virtual performances of the same song. Two are very close, but offer subtly different interpretations of the lyric. The third, appearing historically between the others, is markedly different, but is still recognisably the same song. There is no sense of dialogue going on here. There are two streams of interpretation (two different versions) which, from this small evidence, do not interact. Although Tabor will have known the Ossian version, there is no obvious way that it impinges on her performance. Nor does her version play a part in Capercaillie's. There is not even a dialogue going on between the Ossian and Capercaillie versions, because Tony Cuffe died before Capercaillie put theirs down in the studio. It would be possible to argue that Capercaillie were, in some sense, 'signifyin(g)' on the Ossian version, as theirs is an acknowledged homage, but it seems to me so much clearer, and perhaps more pertinent, simply to invoke the theoretically more transparent notion of homage, and to observe the interpretive differences between these performances. These interpretive differences have, according to what records we have, been the stuff of this tradition for some centuries, however much there is now a call to contaminate them with modernism."


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 06:06 AM

Interesting, but no reference to Shirley's 1959 recording and, to my ears, June's melody is based on the Shirley Collins one. Shirley only sings four verses and the first three are virtually the same as June's verses 2,3, and 4. The Bellowhead version acknowledges that it came from Shirley, although they turn the first verse into a chorus. I've noticed other instances of recent recordings where there's an obvious debt to Shirley, e.g. Jim Moray's Gilderoy on his second album. (And some on his Sweet England album!)


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Marje
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 06:19 AM

There's a version in Northumbrian Minstrelsy (1882). It's the major-key tune and includes the "ripest apples" verse. The last line of that verse is "True love is timid, so be not bold", which I've always taken to mean that her hesitation was out of understandable shyness or modesty, and the fact that he wasn't patient enough to hang around shows that she's well rid of him.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 12:46 PM

True Terry. Have you heard the Ossian or Capercaillie versions?

To my ears, the first two phrases of June Tabor and Shirley Collin's versions are extremely similar, but with the last two phrases, I cannot clearly make out if June Tabor's is based Shirley Collin's.

Moore says Tony Cuffe wrote the tune - do you think he might have started off with the same source Shirley Collins did, which would explain the similar first two phrases?


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:09 PM

Hmmm - just listened to Shirley, followed by June. They are remarkably similar but (as always) June's version has an extremely sophisticated accompaniment which could inadvertantly deceive the ear.

I've not heard either of the other two versions but presumably you have? Has Tony Cuffe claimed that he wrote the tune or is Moore reading something into the credits that leads him to think that, e.g. Cuffe/trad? I simply don't know, but (as you probably realise)I go along with Shirley's claim because the onyl other versions I've heard, sound like hers!


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:14 PM

Lyrics to Both Eliza Carthy and Shirley Collins versions here:

http://www.informatik.uni-hamburg.de/~zierke/shirley.collins/songs/idrewmyshipintotheharbour.html

Carthy adds "Come back, come back, my own true lover,......"

See "I Am a Bold Defender," tune in The Fiddler's Companion:
Fiddlers
Not sure why this is referenced in google under "I drew my ship...."
Similar tune?


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:28 PM

You can hear samples of the two versions here if you are interested, though the sound clips are very short:

Ossian

Capercaillie

From the short clips I heard, and my vague memory of the Capercaillie version that I have heard in the past, they sounded quite different from Shirley Collin's and June Tabor's. For now, your suggestion does seem the most reasonable. I wonder what Shirley means when she says she altered it "slightly".


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:40 PM

It's a pity the two (very short) clips start in the middle of a verse, making it difficult to immediately recognise the tune. Neither of them are the same as the three I've mentioned and sound a little like that usually associated with 'The Night Visiting Song' (I must away, love, I can no longer tarry........). As both Ossian and Capercaille are Scots groups, perhaps they've come to it from a different source.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 01:42 PM

Yes, 'slightly' is a very subjective term!


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: SINSULL
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 04:02 PM

Somewhere I have a recording in which the sailor is a ghost.

"He's gone away...where mermaids dancing have made him quite forget his name."
I will have to dig.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 12:43 AM

The original as I have it, from Bruce & Stokoe, has the last verse:

He's brisk and braw, lads, he's far awa, lads,
He's far beyond yon raging main,
Where fishers dancing, and dark eyes glancing,
Have made him quite forget his ain.

i.e., since his true love didn't come quickly enough to let him in, he's gone off and then been quite distracted by other pleasures. And that's it.

In the text from Ord, he says he's not coming back, and she flings herself into the sea.

The two texts in the DT end with him saying he won't come back till fishes fly, etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Terry McDonald
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 12:35 PM

Shalini - have you heard Fiona Kelleher's version? It's on MySpace - you need to put fionakellehersinger in.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Shalini
Date: 01 May 09 - 10:53 PM

Terry, thanks for passing that on. A nice version - clearly derived from June Tabor's.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: michaelr
Date: 02 May 09 - 03:16 AM

It may be worth pointing out that except for the "ship in order" verse, this is pretty much the same text as "Cocks are Crowing". Strangely, a search for that title brings up "Oxford City"...


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:55 AM

"I Drew My Ship" is the song for January 23 in Jon Boden's A Folk Song a Day project.
Also see Reinhard's page on this song.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Fidjit
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 03:39 AM

Joe my search brought up this

Date 1876 Christie

Chas


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 04:28 AM

Hi, Chas -
As Q points out above, the relationship between "I Will Put My Ship" and "I Drew My Ship" isn't as clear-cut as one might like. We could stand doing more study on this one.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:29 PM

Joe,
I've just done a study on this family, but it's a bit late to be pulling everything out now. Will have a look at it tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: I Will Put My Ship In Order
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 02:14 PM

Joe,
I did, along with Ben Schwarz, an in depth study on all known variants and related songs because of the confusion between this and related songs. Roud 402 is best studied from the numerous long versions in the Greig Duncan Collection, Volume 4. I've given it the master title 'I will set my ship in order'. There are no broadsides but it bears all the hallmarks of street lierature. Some of the stanzas are found in The American 'The Drowsy Sleeper' Roud 22621 and to a lesser extent in the English 'The Drowsy Sleeper' Roud 22620. To distinguish the 2 in my master title index the English ballad is The Drowsy Sleeper I, and the American, The Drowsy Sleeper II.

The only English manifestation of 'I will set my ship in order' is the one in Northumbrian Minstrelsy, and we can safely deduce that this came from Scotland. However there is no Scots language in the Scottish version so it could have come from an English or a Scottish broadside originally. Of course it is found in a couple of good versions in N Ireland as one would expect if it was well-known in Scotland.

'I drew my ship' is a perfectly normal, if brief, version of 'I will set my ship in order' with a couple of stanzas from 'Ripest Apples' tagged on the end.


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Subject: Lyr Add: I WILL PUT MY SHIP IN ORDER
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 11:47 PM

From Traditional Ballad Airs, Volume 1, by William Christie (Edinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas, 1876), page 224:

[A tune is also given.]

This Air, unique in its tonality, ending as it does on the note below the minor key-note, was arranged from the way it was sung by the Editor's maternal grandfather, and from another set sung by a native of Buchan. The Ballad is given as sung by the Editor's grandfather to the air.


I WILL PUT MY SHIP IN ORDER.

"Oh, I will put my ship in order,
And I will set her to the sea;
And I will sail to yonder harbour,
To see if my love will marry me."
He sailed eastward, he sailed westward,
He sailed far, far by sea and land;
By France and Flanders, Spain and Dover,
He sail'd the world all round and round;

Till he came to his love's sweet bower,
It was to hear what she would say,—
"Awake, awake, ye lovely sleeper,
The sun is spreading the break of day."
"Oh, who is this at my bower window,
That speaks so lovingly to me?"
"It is your own true constant lover,
That would now have some words with thee.

"Oh, ye will now go to your father,
And see if he'll let you my bride be;
If he denies you, come and tell me,—
'Twill be the last time I'll visit thee."
"My father is in his chamber sleeping,
Now taking to him his natural rest,
And at his hand there lies a letter,
That speaketh much to thy dispraise."

"To my dispraise, love!" "To thy dispraise, love!"
"To my dispraise! how can that be?
I never griev'd you, nor once deceived you,
I fear, my love, you're forsaking me.
But you will now go to your stepmother,
And see if she'll let you my bride be;
If she denies you, come and tell me,—
'Twill be the last time I'll visit thee."

"My mother is in her bower dressing,
And combing down her yellow hair;
Begone, young man, you may court another,
And whisper softly in her ear."
Then hooly, hooly, raise up his lover,
And quickly put her clothing on;
But ere she got the door unlocked,
Her true lover now was gone.

"Oh, are ye gone, love? are ye gone, love?
Oh, are ye gone, and now left me?
I never griev'd you, nor yet deceiv'd you,
But now, I fear, you are slighting me."
"The fish shall fly, love, the sea shall dry, love,
The rocks shall all melt wi' the sun;
The blackbird shall give over singing,
Before that I return again."

"Oh, are you gone, love? are you gone, love?
Oh, are you gone, and left me now?
It was not me, it was my stepmother,
That spoke to you from her bower window."
He turned him right and round so quickly,
Says, "Come with me, my lovely one,
And we'll be wed, my own sweet lover,
And let them talk when we are gone."


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