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Lyr Req: Hal n Toe? / Hal an Tow

DigiTrad:
HAL AN TOW
SUMER IS ICUMEN IN


Related threads:
Lisa Knapp's Hal-an-Tow (11)
Lyr Req: Sumer Is Icumen In/Summer Is A-Coming In (30)
Lyr/Tune Add: Helston Hal an Tow (21)
What does 'Hal an Tow' mean? (89)
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Lyr Req: alt. verses to Hal An Tow (21)
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hal an tow. What's it about? (5)
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BDenz 06 Jan 00 - 09:33 PM
06 Jan 00 - 09:36 PM
BDenz 06 Jan 00 - 09:41 PM
MMario 06 Jan 00 - 09:42 PM
06 Jan 00 - 10:56 PM
06 Jan 00 - 11:17 PM
Bill D 06 Jan 00 - 11:19 PM
06 Jan 00 - 11:40 PM
BDenz 07 Jan 00 - 04:39 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Jan 00 - 08:45 PM
Bruce O. 08 Jan 00 - 02:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Jan 00 - 10:42 PM
Snuffy 09 Jan 00 - 01:54 PM
Bruce O. 09 Jan 00 - 02:37 PM
wildlone 09 Jan 00 - 03:57 PM
Abby Sale 10 Jan 00 - 09:03 AM
Penny S. 10 Jan 00 - 12:19 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Jan 00 - 01:46 PM
BDenz 10 Jan 00 - 03:46 PM
Bruce O. 10 Jan 00 - 03:58 PM
Bruce O. 10 Jan 00 - 04:45 PM
Bruce O. 10 Jan 00 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,ripov (but then again...) 30 Jul 16 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,ripov - no it's just the beer 30 Jul 16 - 08:37 PM
Steve Gardham 31 Jul 16 - 01:55 PM
ripov 31 Jul 16 - 07:47 PM
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Subject: Hal n Toe
From: BDenz
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 09:33 PM

For once, no possible matches. Okay -- I don't know what this is REALLY called, but I've always seen it as Hal n Toe [Heel and Toe]. Variation thereafter can be jolly rum below or other things. I've heard a bunch of odd verses [I think Oyster Band's were the weirdest and most political]. Variations?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From:
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 09:36 PM

Search for old threads. And DT again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: BDenz
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 09:41 PM

"And DT again" ???

Found one set of lyrics -- the ones used by Oyster Band. I know there are more.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: MMario
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 09:42 PM

for instance: here

or this thread

or this: click here

MMario


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From:
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 10:56 PM

Look in DT for Furry and Padstow.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From:
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 11:17 PM

you see, it is all a matter of spelling....computers are not smart enought to say to themselves, "I'll bet he meant TOW, not TOE."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 11:19 PM

look here...right in the DT: HAL AN TOW


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From:
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 11:40 PM

Bill D, that's the Oyster Band one he said he already had.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: BDenz
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 04:39 PM

It's "she" and these are all pointing to the same lyrics. I heard another version, done by a group called Jackstraws, that took a whole 'nother tack and stayed away from the political verses. I've also heard one that sounds like it's based in pagan ritual -- very "Herne"ish.

Are you guys telling me there's only one one real version of this song, changes in first line not withstanding?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Jan 00 - 08:45 PM

The variations that exist in traditionare all pretty close to each other. If there's one that sounds like it was based in "pagan ritual", then it was probably written quite recently.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Bruce O.
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 02:01 PM

Malcolm, that's just too sensible to be taken seriously by most. We gotta have new old songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Jan 00 - 10:42 PM

Thankyou, Bruce! You will be familiar with the following, some of which has turned up on earlier threads:  The point I should have made more clearly is that Hal An Tow is a song associated with a single specific custom, place and time of year; it was not, so far as is known, sung anywhere else traditionally.  Of course, it has changed over the years, but presumably differing versions in print were simply written down at different times.  The earliest known printed version is from 1846, though the custom was referred to at least as early as 1790, in The Gentleman's Magazine (quoted by Charles Kightly in The Customs & Ceremonies of Britain, Thames & Hudson, 1986):

In the morning, very early, some troublesome rogues go round the streets with drums or other noisy instruments, disturbing their sober neighbours and singing parts of a song, the whole of which nobody now recollects, and of which I know no more than that there is a mention in it of the grey goose quill and of going to "the green wood to bring home the summer and the May-O": and, accordingly, hawthorne flowering branches are worn in hats.

With the folk song revival of the 1950s and '60s, songs like this one began to be sung outside their normal context, and it is perhaps at this point that new variations may have begun to creep in.  It is possible that not everybody who has performed or recorded this particular song has provided proper information as to their source; when people subsequently learn the song from them, it may become so divorced from its original context that people may be singing the song with no idea that it has a context, and fanciful "pagan" interpretations -and, indeed, interpolations- may be introduced.  That's all well and good, provided a distinction is made between "authentic" versions deriving from the ceremony and modern re-writes which are not connected with it.  That may seem pedantic to some, but this is, I think, one of those special cases.

On the subject of the title, Inglis Gundry writes, in Kennedy's Folksongs of Britain & Ireland  (1975)

The meaning of the title is disputed.  According to one theory it is "heave on the rope", an adaptation by Cornish sailors from the Dutch "Haal aan het touw" ("tow" is pronounced to rhyme with "cow" in Helston today).  Others think it might refer to the heel and toe dance of The Monk's March, which is still danced in the English Cotswold morris tradition.  Mordon (second Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd)  evidently inclined to this view, for he writes that it "has every sign of being a processional morris dance even to the slow part at the beginning of the chorus in which, when its steps were still known and used, the dancers in characteristic morris style would have spread out sideways for a few steps, waving their handkerchiefs before forming into line as before."  But it seems a pity with such a Cornish-sounding title to despair of finding a link with the old language.  In 1660 Nicholas Boson of Newlyn said that there the may-pole was set up by men singing "Haile an Taw and Jolly Rumbelow".  It looks from this as though "tow" in the 17th century rhymed with "awe" rather than with "cow".  (In Cornish "Hal an to" (taw) would appear to mean "Hoist the Roof".)

To confuse the issue further, Kightly mentions a 15th century "sea-shanty" from Bristol (no source given) which contained the following lines:

Haile and Howe, Rumbylowe
Steer well the good ship and let the wind blowe


He thinks that the custom, and the Furry Dance which takes place on the same day, is "a rare survivor of...the Robin Hood May Games once played from Cornwall to Southern Scotland".

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Snuffy
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 01:54 PM

It appears that the Hal-an-tow/Heel and Toe may have been more widespread than Cornwall.
  • In the English Midlands it is commonly believed that the first verse may refer to the Abbot's Bromley (Staffordshire) Horn Dance (which takes place in September!!).
  • In John Graham's "Shakespearean Bidford Morris Dances", collected in Warwickshire, the dance to the tune of Monk's March is actually called "Heel and Toe."
  • And where did Shakespeare (who was a Warwickshire lad) get this from ...

As You Like It, Act IV, Scene 2

What shall he have, that killed the deer?
His leather skin, and horns to wear.
   Then sing him home.
Take thou no scorn, to wear the horn;
It was a crest ere thou wast born.
   Thy father's father wore it,
   And thy father bore it.

The horn, the horn, the lusty horn,
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Bruce O.
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 02:37 PM

Shakespeare could have gotten it for just about anywhere, or he could have written it. Wearing of horns is a very common old symbolism for a cuckold, and there are many pieces that refer to it as well as woodcuts on broadside ballads showing a man with horns. Search on 'horn' and 'cuckold' in the broadside ballad index on my website for some of these.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HAL-AN-TOW
From: wildlone
Date: 09 Jan 00 - 03:57 PM

Robin Hood and Little John both are gone to the fair oh:
And we will to the greenwood go to see what they do there oh;
And for to chase the buck and doe, oh;
And to chase the buck and doe ,with hal-an tow, sing merry oh,
with hal-an tow sing merry, oh.

We were up as soon as day for to fetch the summer home. oh
the summer and the May, oh, for summer is a-come, oh;
and winter is a-gone, oh, and summer is a-come, oh,
and winter is a-gone, oh, with halan tow sing merry, oh,
with halan tow, sing merry, oh.

Those Frenchmen they make such a boast, they shall eat the grey goose feather, oh,
and we will eat up all the roast in every land where'er we go:
and we will eat up all the roast: sing halan tow, sing merry, oh,
and we will eat up all the roast: sing halan tow, sing merry, oh,
with halan tow, sing merry, oh.

Saint George next shall be our song, Saint George he was a knight, oh,
of all the kings in Christendom King Georgie is the right, oh.
In every land that e'er we go, sing halan tow and George, oh,
in every land that e'er we go, sing halan tow and George, oh,
sing halan tow and Georgie, oh.

Bless Aunt Mary with power and might; God send us peace in Merry England.
pray send us peace both day and night, for evermore in merry England oh
Pray send us peace both day and night: with halan tow, sing merry, oh,
Pray send us peace both day and night: with halan tow, sing merry, oh,
with halan tow, sing merry, oh.

Halan = Calends, the first day of the month
Tow = Garland

This version from Folk songs of the British Isles,
Compiled Andrew Gant


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Subject: Lyr Add: HAL AN TOW
From: Abby Sale
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 09:03 AM

I believe the words wildlone cites are same as the Watersons version. Or very close. I have the following notes:

May 8 is (the apparition of) St Michael Day: in Cornwall, Furry Day. In Helston, they sang with drums & kettles:

Take no scorn to wear the horn
It was the crest when you were born
Your father's father wore it
And your father wore it too

Hal an tow, jolly rumbalo
We were up long before the day o
To welcome in the summer
To welcome in the may o
For summer is a-comin in
And winter's gone away o

from _English Folk-Rhymes_, GF Northall, 1892


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Penny S.
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 12:19 PM

I take it that is the apparition of St. Michael to fishermen over the Mount. Does anyone have any more information about the context of this, as that is the sum total of the information I have about it, and I would dearly like to know more?

Penny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 01:46 PM

"The Feast of the Apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel" is a church festival; others will be able to tell you what that is all about.  Michael is the patron saint of Helston.  To quote from Kightly again:

"...legend relates that the first Furry was danced to celebrate (Saint Michael's) deliverance from a great boulder hurled at him by Satan during a battle between the two celestial adversaries.  But the "Hell's Stone" -which is also said to have given the town its name, more soberly Henliston  or "Old Court Town"- missed its mark, to land harmlessly near the Angel Inn, where part of it may still be seen embedded in a wall."

The Devil regularly got into fights with saints in Cornwall, and by all accounts a great many rocks were thrown around.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: BDenz
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 03:46 PM

Interesting points being made. I had always thought of it as a sea song from my first encounter with it, where the "jolly rum below" was enunciated rather than Rumbalow, as I've seen later. The "heaving on a rope" idea jells with that.

Still, these other possibilities make it more fun.

Thanks, all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 03:58 PM

As I have noted here before, in the interlude of 'Hickscorner', c 1513-16, 'the land of Rumbelow' is located 3 miles outside of Hell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 04:45 PM

Rumbelow:

Not extant is the tale or song "sal i go vitht zou to rumbelo fayr?" noted in 'The Complaynt of Scotland'', 1549.
Fabyan's chrohronicle has it in the burden of a ballad on the battle of Bannocokburn, 1314,

Maydins of England
........
So soone to have wonne Scotlande,
Wyth rumbylow

Comentators, the few who bother to note it, usually pass off Rumbelo as a non existant place. The choruses of some ancient songs have a boatman (named Norman in one such) rowing to Rumbelo, so it seems it was an island.

I suspect it was another name for Atlantis or some other Shangrila from a tale or song that has not survived, but I don't have any solid evidence for this after watching for some for over 30 years now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe
From: Bruce O.
Date: 10 Jan 00 - 05:37 PM

See #31 in Ravenscroft's 'Pamelia', 1609, (SCA Minstrel website) for a piece with a line: heave and hoe Rumbelo.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe? / Hal an Tow
From: GUEST,ripov (but then again...)
Date: 30 Jul 16 - 08:30 PM

Hasted,in his History of Kent, vol iii p 390, speaking of Folkestone,says, "there was a singular custom used of long time by the fishermen of this place. They chose eight of the largest and best whitings out of every boat, when they came home from that fishery, and sold them apart from the rest, and out of the money arising from them they made a feast every Christmas Eve, which they called a 'Rumbald'

Different time of year to the Helston festival, and not St Michael, but still in honour of a Fisherman's saint, apparently.

and:-
the Online Etymological Dictionary gives -
Rumba: 1919, from Cuban Spanish rumba, originally "spree, carousal," derived from Spanish rumbo "spree, party," No doubt seafaring men would be familiar with Spanish words. Connections with Europe of our South coast existed before the Roman era.

And regarding the more modern use of the word 'Rumble' I'm sure there could be a parallel with the change in meaning from 'Bransle' to 'Brawl' - A dance with liquid refreshment and then the inevitable consequences! Jigging about, and cavorting, (gavotting?) have moved in the same direction.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe? / Hal an Tow
From: GUEST,ripov - no it's just the beer
Date: 30 Jul 16 - 08:37 PM

Acknowledgement - the first quote above is from - Observations on Popular Antiquities. John Brand. Free eBook. From Google. Well worth downloading!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe? / Hal an Tow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 31 Jul 16 - 01:55 PM

What searchers often overlook is that many words have several meanings, even obscure or now obsolete words, particularly if they have been in use for several centuries as demonstrated here. 'Rumbelow' meaning in the 16th century a place on the way to Hell, could easily have evolved into all sorts of related meanings over the next couple of centuries. If Rumbelow was seen by the establishment/church as a place where all sorts of debauchery went on then it would be easily adopted as a great place to be by those who loved debauchery.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Hal n Toe? / Hal an Tow
From: ripov
Date: 31 Jul 16 - 07:47 PM

It's the change in meaning that makes etymology fun. But surely in general words don't get their meaning changed to something non-related? (young person's patois excepted - my generation used to say 'cool', where today they say 'random', 'sick', in fact a new word every year!)

The above dictionary gives also (for rumba)   '-earlier "ostentation, pomp, leadership," perhaps originally "the course of a ship,"' (the latter surviving in english as 'rhumb line' which probably has now been forgotten, as the navy navigates using it's mobile phones.) But the association of the ideas of a course, or journey, and ostentation, and partying makes me think of our Lord Mayor's Show. And then Carnival (some carnivals actually had boat shaped floats, so were literally 'the course of a ship').

And then mankind passing along the road to somewhere or other, stopping occasionally .

Quite a rumbal.


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