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Origin: High Germany

DigiTrad:
HIGH GERMANY
THE KING'S REQUEST MUST BE OBEYED
THE WARS OF GERMANY


Related threads:
Lyr Req: High Germany (Pentangle) (12)
Lyr Req: Scots songs about Poland/Germany/Prussia (23)
Lyr Req: 'Oh, Woe Be To The Orders' (5)
Ulster Version High Germany (1)


Magpie 22 Jun 00 - 06:54 PM
Irish sergeant 22 Jun 00 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 22 Jun 00 - 08:18 PM
WyoWoman 22 Jun 00 - 08:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Jun 00 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Jim I 22 Jun 00 - 09:19 PM
Magpie 23 Jun 00 - 02:13 AM
IanC 23 Jun 00 - 04:50 AM
Irish sergeant 23 Jun 00 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 23 Jun 00 - 09:35 PM
IanC 02 Oct 01 - 11:51 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 02 Oct 01 - 11:53 AM
IanC 02 Oct 01 - 12:09 PM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Oct 01 - 09:18 PM
Joe Offer 02 Oct 01 - 09:56 PM
toadfrog 02 Oct 01 - 11:00 PM
The_one_and_only_Dai 03 Oct 01 - 03:56 AM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 01 - 05:57 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 03 Oct 01 - 06:01 AM
toadfrog 03 Oct 01 - 07:01 PM
McGrath of Harlow 03 Oct 01 - 07:16 PM
GUEST,amandaglennon@hotmail.com 01 Jul 02 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,amandaglennon@hotmail.com 01 Jul 02 - 11:04 AM
Noreen 01 Jul 02 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,amandaglennon@hotmail.com 01 Jul 02 - 05:31 PM
Herga Kitty 01 Jul 02 - 06:59 PM
Haruo 01 Jul 02 - 10:48 PM
Bob Bolton 01 Jul 02 - 11:27 PM
Wilfried Schaum 02 Jul 02 - 03:07 AM
rich-joy 02 Jul 02 - 04:56 AM
Jon Bartlett 02 Jul 02 - 05:17 AM
Haruo 02 Jul 02 - 01:00 PM
Haruo 02 Jul 02 - 01:37 PM
Martin Graebe 02 Jul 02 - 03:27 PM
Susanne (skw) 02 Jul 02 - 07:42 PM
GUEST,amanda 03 Jul 02 - 04:16 AM
rich-joy 03 Jul 02 - 08:23 AM
Q 24 Oct 04 - 07:59 PM
GUEST 29 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM
ard mhacha 30 Jul 09 - 06:24 AM
ard mhacha 30 Jul 09 - 06:28 AM
Anglo 30 Sep 10 - 11:33 PM
Joe Offer 01 Oct 10 - 12:07 AM
jeddy 01 Oct 10 - 01:07 AM
Richard Bridge 01 Oct 10 - 03:44 AM
Singing Referee 01 Oct 10 - 04:05 AM
jeddy 01 Oct 10 - 07:37 AM
Les from Hull 01 Oct 10 - 11:21 AM
Lighter 01 Oct 10 - 02:18 PM
Les from Hull 01 Oct 10 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,BillK 18 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM
Keith A of Hertford 18 Apr 12 - 05:57 AM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 12 - 06:22 AM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM
mayomick 18 Apr 12 - 05:46 PM
MGM·Lion 18 Apr 12 - 11:11 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 04:04 AM
Phil Edwards 19 Apr 12 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,Lighter 19 Apr 12 - 07:58 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Apr 12 - 10:10 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Apr 12 - 03:29 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 12 - 04:42 AM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:22 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 03:37 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Apr 12 - 06:04 PM
gnu 20 Apr 12 - 06:05 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 12 - 05:28 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 12 - 08:32 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 12 - 09:32 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 12 - 10:55 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 12 - 11:36 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Apr 12 - 04:03 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 12 - 04:48 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 12 - 04:18 AM
Keith A of Hertford 23 Apr 12 - 04:30 AM
GUEST 23 Apr 12 - 02:23 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,SteveG 23 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Apr 12 - 07:38 PM
Keith A of Hertford 24 Apr 12 - 02:33 AM
Artful Codger 24 Apr 12 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Lighter 24 Apr 12 - 05:06 PM
Keith A of Hertford 25 Apr 12 - 02:44 AM
MGM·Lion 25 Apr 12 - 03:42 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 12 - 03:55 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 12 - 06:48 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 12 - 07:10 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 12 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 12 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Lighter 26 Apr 12 - 04:56 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 12 - 05:18 PM
Keith A of Hertford 27 Apr 12 - 02:41 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 04:02 AM
MGM·Lion 27 Apr 12 - 05:37 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 08:37 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 08:44 AM
banksie 27 Apr 12 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 11:21 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Apr 12 - 02:38 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 03:56 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 12 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Keith A o Hertford. 28 Apr 12 - 05:05 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 12 - 11:55 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Apr 12 - 12:14 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 12 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Guest 27 Sep 12 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Sep 12 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 27 Sep 12 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Sep 12 - 06:03 PM
pavane 27 Sep 12 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Steve Squeeze 03 Sep 13 - 07:03 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 13 - 09:49 AM
Snuffy 04 Sep 13 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Sep 13 - 12:15 PM
Vin2 21 Apr 14 - 08:12 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Apr 14 - 08:21 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 14 - 11:18 AM
Q 21 Apr 14 - 04:09 PM
Q 22 Apr 14 - 02:55 PM
Q 22 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM
Q 22 Apr 14 - 03:51 PM
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Subject: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Magpie
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 06:54 PM

Please someone, can you tell me who wrote High Germany? I've looked in the database, but it doesn't say. I have also searched for previous threads on the song without any luck. And if you have some information on the circumstances around that war, please?

Regards Magpie


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 08:15 PM

Magpie: the Dubliners recorded it some years ago. As i remember, it is listed as "Traditional" as far as writing credits. It is also listed in Volume Two of Jerry Silverman's Folk Song Encyclopedia and carries no credits there either. Given the tenor of the song, the lyrics and a fairly good understanding of European history, I would guess that it dates from the Napoleonic wars Ca. 1795-1815. Hopefully this helps and is correct. If it isn't, any Mudcatters who would know? Neil


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 08:18 PM

The two earliest copies, among several in the Bodley Ballads collection on the web, were printed by Wright of Birmingham (1831-37) and Catnach of London (d 1841). Neither bears an authors name or intitials, and its unlikely this will ever be determined.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 08:35 PM

Is this the one that starts, "Oh woe be to the orders that took my love from me..."?

ww


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 09:00 PM

No; that's a different one, which is on the DT as The Wars of Germany.  A version of High Germany is there, too, but whoever posted it has begun the first line with "Oh Colleen, love" instead of the usual "Oh Polly, love", apparantly under the misapprehension that it was an Irish song.  (sigh)

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 09:19 PM

It sounds to me more like a song of the Marlburlian Wars i.e. 1670's to the very early 1700's, mostly fought in 'High Germany'


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Magpie
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 02:13 AM

Thank you ever so much! I knew the Mudcat would help me out.

If you have more info, please feel free to share it with me, OK?

Have a nice day / weekend / summer (underline your choice)

Love, Magpie


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: IanC
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 04:50 AM

JimI may be right. The contemplator has some useful information, including a date of 1780 for a version of the broadside, which puts it before the Napoleonic wars.

Here.

High Germany

Cheers! IanC


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Irish sergeant
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 08:18 PM

Again you have proved the value of asking befoore speaking I stand humbling before you and corrected. Neil


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 09:35 PM

I wouldn't jump to that 1780 date too fast. In the source, Sharp's 'One Hundred English Folk Songs', it says circa 1780, and that title looks like one for someone's collection of garlands, not a specific garland. Garlands themselves were usually collections, although some were a single long song (or poem, or tale). Only the info about the H. Such broadside is in JFSS #6, (1906) where Sharp first published the tune and the single verse he had collected in 1904 (the rest in '100 English Folk Songs' is from broadsides). I think the reference is likely to be fouled-up, but without knowing where the garland is to be found, or who the publisher was, there's not much that can be done about it.

I'm not buying that early date without better evidence.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: IanC
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:51 AM

I've only just managed to do a little more research on this song. The earliest broadside date in the Bodleian Collection is for two copies printed by James Catnach at some time between 1813 and 1838.

Searching the British Library, there are two potential candidates for the "Collection of Garlands" reference in the BL. These are.

Joseph Ritson's "Northern Garlands", subtitled "A Choice Collection of Garlands...", 1793 (an 1810 copy is in the BL).

J. Clarke "A Collection of Choice Songs", Stockport ?1800

The former may not contain the song, but I can look at it when I am next in the BL. The latter is described as "containing, 1. High Germany. 2. Mog the Brunette. 3. Vicar and Moses. 4. The Roving Lass."

In any event, if things check out, we have now got it back to circa 1800 and, if it's in Ritson, to 1793 ... before the Napoleonic Wars.

I'd better check!

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:53 AM

I've always assumed it's about the Seven Years' War, as British soldiers didn't get sent to 'Higher Germanie' at any time in the Napoleonic. Whereas Marlborough laid siege to several cities on the Rhine/Donau.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: IanC
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 12:09 PM

Dai

Always seemed likely that it was Marlborough's wars (see above) but BruceO has challenged the earlier date, and I thought it would be worth following it through. I'm aware that the earliest definite date you have for a song is in fact the LATEST POSSIBLE DATE but other people think it's "safer" to stick with this as the earliest it existed. My argument is that you should try to make a best estimate, as sticking to "safe" dates in this way can lead to serious distortions of history which are only occasionally corrected later.

There is an interesting example in an Anglo-Saxon poem called "The Dream of The Rood". The earliest known version of this was in an 11th Century manuscript and all sorts of comments were made by scholars, based on the assumption that it was a late piece. They said it was a debased late Anglo-Saxon poem of no literary or historical merit etc. etc. Then someone deciphered a runic inscription on the 7th/8th Century standing cross at Ruthwell near Dumfries, Scotland and found it was a quite similar version of some of the stanzas of the poem.

;-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 09:18 PM

Seven years war was well after Marlborough - 1754-63. I've always assumed that this would be the most likely war in this song. Since the King of England was also Elector of Hanover, there was a lot of British involvement in various parts of Germany.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 09:56 PM

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-

High Germany (I)

DESCRIPTION: Young man, conscripted into the war in Germany, bids his sweetheart come with him. She demurs, saying she is not fit for war. He offers to buy her a horse, and also to marry her by and by. She laments the war (and/or her pregnancy)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1830 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(2899))
KEYWORDS: love war soldier
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1714 - Hannoverian succession causes Britain to become involved in German wars
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (8 citations):
GreigDuncan1 96, "High Germany" (14 texts, 11 tunes)
Sharp-100E 56, "High Germany" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 43, "High Germany" (2 texts)
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 447, "In High Germany" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 679-680, "High Germany" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 279, "High Germany" (1 text)
BBI, ZN3231, "O cursed be the wars that ever they began" (?)
DT, WARGRMNY* WARGRMN2*

Roud #904
RECORDINGS:
Jim Bennett, "High Germany" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Phoebe Smith, "Higher Germany" (on PhSmith01, HiddenE)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(2899), "High Germany" ("O Polly love, O Polly love, the rout it is begun"), T. Birt (London), 1828-1829; also Harding B 11(1536), Harding B 17(127b), Firth c.14(154), Harding B 25(836), Firth c.26(222)[some words illegible], Harding B 11(829), "[The] High Germany"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Jack Monroe" [Laws N7]
cf. "William and Nancy I" [Laws N8]
cf. "The Banks of the Nile (Men's Clothing I'll Put On II)" [Laws N9]
cf. "The Manchester Angel"
cf. "Across the Blue Mountain" (floating lyrics)
cf. "The Wars o' Germanie" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "In Low Germanie" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "High Germany (II)" (subject)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Wars of Germany
Germany
High Germanie
NOTES: Sharp cites a date of c. 1780 for this song. That the current forms of the song date from the eighteenth century is almost a historical necessity. The Hannoverian Succession (1714) brought a German prince to the British throne, meaning that English troops might be sent to intervene in German affairs. British interest in Germany ended when Napoleon rebuilt the Holy Roman Empire on his own terms, leaving the Hannoverian princes out of the picture.
This was reinforced a few years later, when King William IV died (1837). William's heir under English law was his niece Victoria, but Hannoverian law did not permit a female succession, so the throne of Hannover fell to Victoria's uncle Ernest. And, of course, Hannover, like the rest of Germany, was absorbed by Prussian in the 1860s and 1870s.
It's also worth noting that, by the nineteenth century, it was common for the wives of British soldiers to accompany them; the army actually made allowance for a certain number of wives per regiment.
In at least one of these cases, that of Fanny Dubberly, she even took a part in the fighting: At Gwalior, India (1858?), cavalrymen of the Eighth Hussars started a charge at the Indian mutineers. Mrs. Dubberly's horse was nearby and joined the charge (without her husband!). It's not clear what she would have done had she caught anyone, since she wasn't really a soldier -- but she did add weight of numbers to the charge. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: ShH56

High Germany (II)

DESCRIPTION: A soldier has been called up and must leave his pregnant sweetheart. She would follow him "through France, Spain and even Ireland." He warns of the hardships and that her parents will be angry. She insists. He agrees to take her and will marry her first.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(3897))
KEYWORDS: love marriage request army war parting pregnancy France Ireland Spain lover soldier
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Reeves-Circle 64, "High Germany" (1 text)
Roud #1445
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 11(3897), "The True Lovers" or "The King's Commands Must Be Obey'd" ("Abroad as I was walking alone"), J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Harding B 15(335b), Harding B 11(3898), 2806 c.18(317), "The True Lovers" or "The King's Commands Must Be Obey'd"; Harding B 15(161b), "The King's Commands Must Be Obeyed" or "The True Lovers"
NOTES: There is no statement here about cross-dressing but she "will go For to fight ... [any] daring foe." - BS
The two songs we index as "High Germany" both involve soldiers leaving sweethearts, and I suspect they frequently mix. I will not guarantee that all versions are properly filed. Roud seems to have a few confused versions, too. A characteristic of this song is that it usually starts with a line such as "Abroad as I was walking, and a-walking alone"; the other opens with lines such as "O Polly, dear Polly, the rout it is begun" or "Busk, my bonnie Betsy, busk, and buckle braw" or "O, cursed be the wars love that ever they began." And, yes, I know that's not much to go on! - RBW
Last updated in version 2.7
File: ReCi064

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: toadfrog
Date: 02 Oct 01 - 11:00 PM

There were also a Scottish and (I believe) an English regiment with Gustavus Adolphus, so some of the songs could be even older. The idea of a woman putting on men's clothing to follow her lover is a whole lot more plausible in mid-Seventeenth Century context, where war was extremely irregular and chaotic, than with more regular armies like Marlborough's. So far as I am aware, few if any British soldiers actually fought on the Continent in the Seven Years' War; they used Hessians and Hanoverians.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 03:56 AM

Oops, I think I meant the War of the Spanish Succession. I'm not big on C18th history (although I am quite big around the waist). Or maybe I did mean the SYW. But anyway, there wasn't any British involvement in central Europe in the Napoleonic Wars. I think.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 05:57 AM

All those wars sometimes get lumped together as the Second Hundred Years War.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 06:01 AM

That'll be the one that started in 1705 and ended in 1945, then...


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: toadfrog
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:01 PM

Joe: The Traditional Balad Index is a bit off. The Hannoverian princes left the picture after 1866, when Prussia annexed Hannover. It lost its direct union with England in or about 1830, when the King's brother, Ernst August, was sent off to rule Hannover. The London Times hailed his departure, describing Ernst August as "a man guilty of every crime but suicide." On arrival, he promptly abolished red tape, red military uniforms, and the Hannoverian constitution.

But for the life of me, I cannot think of a single war between 1714 and 1939 that would have caused English or Scottish soldiers to fight in Germany. It was much easier to use German proxy soldiers. So perhaps the date of the song might not correspond to the date of the events it describes.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 03 Oct 01 - 07:16 PM

No, that'd be the Third Hundred Years War, dai, which is just entering another phase. (Different enemies, but each episode grows out of the ones before.)

The First and Second Hundred Years War were both English versus French. (With various other people involved, with Perfidious Albion changing sides occasionally - but with the constant element being English versus French.)


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST,amandaglennon@hotmail.com
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 11:02 AM

Hi Does anyone have the words of the second version of high Germany. I think it's also known as "The True Lovers"


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Subject: Different version of High Germany
From: GUEST,amandaglennon@hotmail.com
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 11:04 AM

Hi Does anyone have the words of the second version of high Germany. I think it's also known as "The True Lovers"


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 01:03 PM

Bit more information, please- how does your version start?


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST,amandaglennon@hotmail.com
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 05:31 PM

Noreen I don't know how the start of it goes but there's something like this in it "I was just seven when Margaret was evelen"


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 06:59 PM

Well, any English or Scottish regiments with Gustavus Adolphus in the 30 Years War (1618-1648) would probably have been mercenaries. I think the verse about pressing men out of England to fight in Higher Germany is very iffy.....

Kitty


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Subject: Lyr Add: MALBROUCK S'EN VA-T-EN GUERRE
From: Haruo
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 10:48 PM

Speaking of the Marlburlian wars, I find it odd that "Malbrouck s'en va-t-en guerre" is not in the DT (nor even apparently among the unharvested lyrics as far as my lame and limited search powers show). Back in 1998 Frank Phillips said he would post a version the next day, but I don't see it or any other.

ingeb.org has numerous stanzas in French (18) and German (15), but doesn't use the most common spelling (which means if you Google search for "Malbrouck" it won't come up. I'll just post the first verse at the moment, and allow the Folk Process to do its work.

MALBROUCK S'EN VA-T-EN GUERRE

Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine,
Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
Ne sait quand reviendra.
Ne sait quand reviendra,
Ne sait quand reviendra.
Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine,
Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
Ne sait quand reviendra.

I'm pretty sure a short version of it in English and French is in one of the Fireside Books of Ms. Boni's (either Folk Songs or ¡American! Songs). The tune is one of those little-kiddie-ditty workhorses like "the old grey mare" or the "Ah! vous dirai-je maman" that we've been going over lately in the twinkle twinkle threads. English-speaking children are perhaps most likely to learn it first as "The bear went over the mountain".

According to babelfish, the first stanza (given above) means:

Malbrouck from goes away hold war,
Mironton, mironton, mirontaine,
Malbrouck from goes away hold war, Mironton, mironton, mirontaine, Marlbrough from goes away hold war, Does not know when will return.

Typically dense Gallic prose, hein? (Actually I was hoping it would provide some light on the meaning of "mironton, mironton, mirontaine", but I guess they are slated to remain nonsense syllables.)

Liland


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 11:27 PM

G'day Liland,

I'm interested to see your posting of Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre. I published, in Mulga Wire, ... some 20 + years ago ... an article by an Australian folklorist (John Meredith) suggesting that Marlbrough ... was the first European folk song known to have been sung in Australia - and that it was, in part (ie; the tune, at least) the first to have been passed on the the aboriginal inhabitants!

In 1788, the "First Fleet" - the 11 English ships carrying the first settlers, soldiers and convicts - had first anchored in Botany Bay ... quickly abandoned in favour of Port Jackson/Sydney Cove. While they were still in Botany Bay, the French expeditionary fleet of La Perouse sailed into Botany Bay. The officers socialised with the French ... including some after dinner singing - and Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre turned out to be the only song well-known to both nationalities.

It was recorded by several of the officers, that the natives of Botany Bay were heard to singing the tune of Marlbrough ... as they rowed their canoes about Botany Bay in the ensuing weeks. (I will dig out my archive copy and see if there is anything else relevant to justify posting the text (and the presumed tune).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 03:07 AM

Liland - Babelfish translation shows well why it is better to rely on native speakers and translators. The first stanza goes:
Marlbrough went out to war,
Don't know, when he'll return.
The "Mironton ..." is the usual onomatopoetic filling stuff like "folderol" or "tralala".
I remember to have sung the song in the German version (nearly half a century ago) with the Boy Scouts. The German version, like the original French one, is about Marlbrough's burial; the German version seemed shorter to me having read ingeb.org (where is my scout song book?)
Note that at ingeb.org not the German version is given, but an artful poem of the 19. century about the battle of Höchstädt. It can be sung to the Marlbrough tune but has nothing to do with the folk song.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: rich-joy
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 04:56 AM

Somewhere in the dim, distant past, I read that "Marlbrouk s'en va t'en guerre" ("We Won't Go Home Till Morning") was from where our Birthday favourite "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" was derived ... is this currently thought to be the case???

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 05:17 AM

Bob Bolton, the astonishing thing is that there is contemporaneous evidence for the same song functioning in the same way on contact with First Nations people on the NW coast of America. The reference is I think in one of the Spanish texts describing the voyage of the SUTIL. Give me a day or so to hunt this down. (I remember spotting the Australian reference in "The Fatal Shore", but didn't check Hughes' footnote on his source). Incidentally, I don't think the song has anything to do with Marlborough: unless there's a Dutch etymology behind it.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:00 PM

Nothing to do with Marlborough? I'm eagerly waiting to learn how so. (And how a Dutch etymology would affect the matter.) I'll notify my Chinook Jargon and Salishanist chums about this thread, maybe somebody in that line will have some input on the NW Coast contact thing.

rich-joy, are you suggesting that the "he" in "For he's a jolly good fellow" was originally Marlborough? Or do you just mean it's basically the same tune, which is, I think, clear. (Unless Jon G. Bartlett wants to suggest that the tunes are unrelated, unless possibly one of them has been through a shape-note recension...) ;-)

Liland


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 01:37 PM

I've created a new thread for Malbrouck lyrics so this one can maybe drift back towards Germany.

Liland


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 03:27 PM

Roy Palmer in 'The Rambling Soldire' goes for the Seven Years War. But that is for the 'other' broadside version starting 'Abroad as I was travelling, I was travelling all alone' which is aka 'The True Lovers or the Kings/Queen's Command'. Baring-Gould in 'A Garland of Country Song' also gives this, though his note starts, unpromisingly: 'This song, in hopelessly bad metre and of no poetic merit .... etc', though he does describe the tune as peculiarly fine. He collected it from Will Aggett of Chagford in October 1890.

He also mentions, more crucially to this thread, the 'real' High Germany ie 'O Polly love! O Polly, love! the rout it is begun' which he didn't collect but which he had a broadside for (Such #329) and which he also discovered in 'A Collection of Choice Garlands' publ c1780.

Martin


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 02 Jul 02 - 07:42 PM

With all this thread creep Amanda(?) is still waiting for an answer: The song you quote is not an old one but about World War I, written fairly recently by Pete St John, and known variously as 'When Margaret Was Eleven' (thus on Pete's website) or 'Tunes of Glory'. For some more info see My Songbook.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST,amanda
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 04:16 AM

Susanne Thanks a million. That's the one I was looking for. Thanks again Amanda


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: rich-joy
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 08:23 AM

Liland : I wasn't suggesting either : I was just curious : I don't actually know the French song in question, or its tune (shock! horror!) : but I am interested in the derivation of "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" I guess ...

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Q
Date: 24 Oct 04 - 07:59 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM

Between 1759 and 1761 British troops were involved in several battles in 'High Germany'including the battles of Minden,Emsdorf,Warburg,Kloster Kamp,Vellinghausen,Wilhelmstahl, all part of the Seven Years War (F&I War was the US leg of the same conflict).
Hannah Snell was a famous cross dresser serving with the Marines mid century.
I'll go with it being about the 7yw


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 06:24 AM

Luke Kelly`s fine rendition of this song,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3tUeMviMqk


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 30 Jul 09 - 06:28 AM

Try this,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3tUeMviMqk


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Anglo
Date: 30 Sep 10 - 11:33 PM

So are BMWs built in HIGH Germany. My geography fails...


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:07 AM

BMW stands for Bavarian Motor Works. Bavaria is high in altitude and low in latitude. Take your pick, John.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: jeddy
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 01:07 AM

thankyou for this thread! i love this song, but the best version i have ever heard is by whorticulture. can't find it on youtube :(

joe is there any chance of an upload function from our pcs?

don't know about anyone else but i would love that!

i have learnt( learned?)so much!

take care guys, you have restored a little faith !

jade x x x x x x


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 03:44 AM

If you are trying to trace Whorticulture renditions you might ask Jon Loomes.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Singing Referee
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 04:05 AM

First and still best version I've heard was sung by Tony Rose in our school hall when he was a teacher at Latymer School in Edmonton North London in 1965/6.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: jeddy
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 07:37 AM

thanks very much richard! on the case now.
take care

jade x x x x x x


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 11:21 AM

Wikipedia goes for the Thirty Years War! Although not involved officially many English and Scots fought against the Holy Roman Empire, and many Irish fought for it. You pays your money...


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 02:18 PM

The story of Hannah Snell may well be relevant to the song, at least as inspiration. Snell served as a Marine in India, not Germany, but her adventures were revealed in 1750 to a fair amount of publicity. That same year she was even granted a government pension for her military service.


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Subject: RE: High Germany, who wrote it?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 04:26 PM

In the song the narrator is trying to get Polly to come as a camp-follower or wife, not as a soldier. With each regiment 6 wives for every 100 enlisted men were allowed to accompany the baggage train. They assisted with cooking, washing clothes and attending the sick and wounded.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,BillK
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:47 AM

Any guess which rout they're talking about in the song?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:57 AM

This meaning of rout is a call up or deployment.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 06:22 AM

No mention thus far of High Germany being one of the songs whose tunes were included by Vaughan Williams in his English Folk Song Suite, 1923 ~~
1. March: Seventeen Come Sunday
2. Intermezzo: My Bonny Boy
3. March: Folk Songs from Somerset - opens with a light introduction of four measures before the first melody, the folk song Blow Away the Morning Dew. A second melody, High Germany, then takes over...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM

Here's an early version printed at Alnwick in 1792.
The Wars in Germany

Come all you bold heroes that fain would married be;
Come all a warning take, and by me you will see,
I am constrained by Cupid's long bow,
Therefore, my dearest jewel, my mind runs to and fro.

My father he shall weep, and my mother she shall cry,
My sister she shall mourn with my brother standing by.
I said my dearest jewel, come and go along with me,
And I will take you to the wars that is in Germany.

My back it doth ache love, I cannot go with thee,
As I am with child I must here left be.
Consider my belly's high, I am with child by thee;
And I am not fit to go to the wars in Germany.

The place that he dwells in it is so pleasing,
The black bird thrush and nightingale does sing
The birds in every bush is chanting my downfall,
my trueloves gone away, which grieves me worst of all.

Oh wo to the wars that is in Germany,
And also to every sweetheart that Deals inconstantly,
I have lost my dearest jewel I never shall see him more,
And so cold is his corps on high Germany's shore.

I will buy a horse and on it you shall ride,
And all the day long, I'll walk by your side,
We'll call at every alehouse that we come nigh,
So we'll sweetheart on the road, and be married by and by.

It is down in yonder vally, I'll make my love a bed,
I will be as kind to her, as if she were wed,
With primroses and sweet violets, so adorning his feet,
And so charming is the linnet, with music so sweet.

Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition, but it could also be down to the fact that such jobs were given to the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market. It's not possible to say whether it precedes or derives from 'High Germany'.

Another version was printed by Evans of London about the same time and this one refers to the wars in North America.

First stanza is all I have at the moment.

O cursed be the wars that ever they began,
For they have press'd my Billy, and many a clever man;
For they have press'd my Billy, and brothers all three,
And sent them to the wars in North America.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM

" but it could also be down to the fact that such jobs were given to the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market. "
And we'll never know - will we? But taking into consideration all the other songs following the same theme and using a similar form, it's far safer to assume common origins.
Of course, there may have been "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market", who experienced pregnancy, warfare and loss to the extent that they were able to express the effects as graphically as these songs communicate (certainly well enough for them to have survived for centuries), but one tends to think that the events depicted were drawn from real life - don'cha think?
This stuff is deathless verse; not the doggerel that you would expect from the imaginings of "hacks".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM

Real events. Absolutely, Jim, but the flowery language is totally incongruous with the actual situation, so somebody with little talent trying to imitate the contemporary stuff that was pouring out of the pleasure gardens perhaps. The hacks came from all walks of life, some would-be poets in desperate need of a shilling, some perhaps to fuel their drink habit. There you go, my mind wandering again.

The whole thing is chock full of stock phrases you would find in 20 other ballads of its ilk.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: mayomick
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 05:46 PM

"The hacks came from all walks of life, some would-be poets in desperate need of a shilling, some perhaps to fuel their drink habit."

Thankfully things have moved on since then.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 18 Apr 12 - 11:11 PM

I have always thought that one of the great virtues, something to be admired and revered, about so much folksong, is its knack of so often teetering in the very edge of doggerel without ever quite tumbling over; which has so frequently a perverse poetic effectiveness. The naive art of such as Le Douanier Rousseau or Lowry comes to mind as in some ways comparable.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 04:04 AM

"so somebody with little talent trying to imitate the contemporary stuff...."
Or, on the other hand, somebody with little talent (a "hack" maybe) adapting an existing piece for a fresh market to save themselves the trouble of having to create something themselves. Far more likely, I would have thought given the fact that the theme of this song has appeared over and over again in numerous forms.
In wartime the subject of the song would have touched every single family within arm's reach of a recruiting sergeant, so there is no reason on earth why people so affected should not make their own songs about it.
It happened here in Ireland many times over with the emigrations, various bouts of national resistance to colonisation, famine, evictions, civil war...... countless numbers of anonymous songs on the subjects that affected ordinary people. Do you really believe that the English were incapable of songmaking, or "too busy earning a living", or couldn't be bothered to set down what they saw happening around them down in verse, unlike their counterparts in Ireland and Scotland, so they farmed the job out to "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market"?
Did they really sit back and let somebody do the job for them?
I've met many people who have argued that the "common people" were far too unskilled to have produced the ballads and songs, but I have never come across anybody who has gone to such lengths that you have to show us that English working people were not as creative as their neighbours.
We came away from our work with West Clare land labourers and small farmers, staggered by their creative and re-creative abilities as singers, storytellers, songmakers and yarn-spinners (the making of the big tales had (almost) gone, as had the practice of narrating the old tales).
We were constantly made aware of the still-active practice of songmaking here - particularly in this town, where the singers were as likely to give you a song on events that had happened in their lifetime as they were to give you 'Lord Lovel' or 'The Suffolk Miracle' or 'The Green Wedding' or 'The Keach in the Creel'.... and the many other old songs we recorded here.
The Travellers we worked with were still producing new songs based on old models from their living (or only lately deceased) tradition.
Why should the English rural working classes have been any different when they had the template of a living tradition to draw from?
So far you have produced a list of the earliest printed forms of songs that have appeared in the tradition. Unless you can prove beyond doubt that they are the earliest form of of the songs and they haven't been lifted from the tradition and adapted, that will remain the case.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 05:34 AM

Unless you can prove beyond doubt that they are the earliest form of the songs

But what evidence could possibly prove that?

I used to have an interest in UFOs and why it was that some people thought they'd had contact with alien beings. This discussion reminds me a bit of a debate about the common features of alien-encounter narratives. One side argued that stories from different times and places were too similar for them all to be fictional, so they must have a real origin. Other people (self included) thought that what we were looking at was a stock of folkloric motifs, which cropped up in different stories through cultural transmission. The point is that the evidence is a perfect fit for *both* interpretations; you just have to go with what you think is most probable.

Steve's argument here is that the flowery language, stock images and standardised turns of phrase that we see in a song like this are characteristic of broadside hackwork. Which is true - but aren't those things also precisely what you'd expect in songs coming out of a predominantly oral songwriting culture? I suppose we only really know that oral transmission has been at work when we can compare a collected song with a written original, but I don't think that entitles us to assume that the direction of transmission is always print to oral, or that nothing with any level of polish can come out of tradition.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 07:58 AM

> but aren't those things also precisely what you'd expect in songs coming out of a predominantly oral songwriting culture?

Not necessarily. The "flowery" language of the broadsides proves that their writers were influenced - possibly above all - by the diction of educated poets.

For a predominantly oral and illiterate tradition to have adopted such a style, its early practitioners could only have absorbed it through repeated exposures to the declamation and recitation of works of literate poets. How likely was that to have occurred?

Contrast the unaffected diction of shanties, songs we know arose in an oral tradition, and of of cowboy songs like "The Old Chisholm Trail," whose authors were at least semi-literate in some cases, but whose style is far more direct.

The same, of course, goes for Child ballads. The older they are, the less flowery they seem to be. Correct?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 10:10 AM

"But what evidence could possibly prove that?"
My point exactly - but Steve insists that his work has proved that most of our traditional songs originated on the broadside presses - to the extent that he calls into question a creative tradition rather than a repetative one.
He has fudged on every challenge so far - familiarity with trade terms and work practices, vernacular, folklore, limitations of literacy, active traditional composition elsewhere in these islands, attitude of broadside experts such as Hindley to "country songs".
Since I became involved in traditional song in the early sixties it has been largely taken for granted that our "folk songs" not only were sung by the "folk", but that most of them were orally composed by them.
Steve is turning that beliefe on its head by suggesting that they virually all originated on broadsides and were taken up by "the folk" despite the fact that they were either illiterate or semi-literate.
My argument is simply that, to take such an argument at face value would be a massive leap in the dark, for which we would require far more proof than has been produced so far.
"flowery language, stock images and standardised turns of phrase..."
All of which I believe to be the product of re-writing rather than original composition - I suggest that anybody interested in the differences between folk and literary composition read the final two chapter in Evelyn Kendrick Wells' 'The Ballad Tree' - 'The Literary Ballad', and 'Examples of Literary Ballads' and compare them with the real thing.
A comparison between genuine folk sea songs and some of Masefield's sea poetry wouldn't go amiss either.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 12 - 03:29 PM

Jim,
Once again you are at best misquoting me and at worst putting words into my mouth. At no point have I said my research 'has proved' my hypothesis. What I have said is that after 40+ years of study of the ballads and songs in oral tradition and those earliest printed versions my own conclusion is that the vast majority of them originated in these printed forms in towns under commercial conditions. Now if anyone wants to include the hacks who wrote/rewrote them as part of the tradition I'm happy with that.

This has little to do with the separate FACT that some of them found their way into oral tradtion and then back onto broadsides. The above refers to ultimate origins.

In my own defence I will add that I have presented the results of my own researches in front of some of the most distinguished scholars of traditional music and none of them have taken me to task.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 04:42 AM

Sorry Steve - it was my intention neither to misquote, nor to put words in your mouth, any more than I am sure it was not yours to patronise me as you have in the past. I have put as much time as you to studying our songs and ballads - forty years ago I would have been involved in traditional song for around ten years.
I do find it more than a little disturbing that you would consign the making of our folksongs to "the lowest apprentices in the printers at the bottom of the market" rather than to consider that they might have been the poetic interpretations of the life and experiences of the people who sang them.
I have to say that even here I find your general attitude to folk song more than a little dismissive:
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
I've always thought that our folk songs are well-constructed and consistent, and it is exactly this that has assisted with their universal currency and survival.
You're arguments in the past have been put fairly definitively - without digging I can recall sweeping statements about "ballad hacks and 'The Cruel Mother" and rather disparaging "do you believe that stuff?" and other such dismissive and sometimes disparaging statements.
I really am not interested in "distinguished scholars'" who haven't "taken you to task" - I am interested in how you deal with the contradictions of your own conclusions, none of which you have come anywhere near to answering - "The English were far too involved in earning a living to make songs" will do as an example for now; there are numerous others.   
I would be interested to know how deeply you have examined the arguments of others in reaching your conclusions - I was somewhat staggered that someone who was examining ballad origins had never read, nor even heard of David C Fowler's work on the subject.
Your hypotheses flies in the face of everything I have read and have come to believe about folk song - without evidence it simply doesn't add up logically, neither in what I have read, nor in what we found out about song-making in the various communities in the British Isles.
A school of anonymous song-makers (doggerel-producing hacks, by common description, including your own) making songs that took root wherever they landed, were adapted and managed to establish themselves all over the English speaking world (and beyond) and lasted for centuries - and showed a familiarity with the vernacular, trade terms and practices, geographical knowledge (including local references)..... and managed to persuade the recipients that they were Yorkshire, Somerset, East Anglian, Traveller....... come on!!!
On its own, the familiarity with folklore contained in many of the songs and ballads would be envied by any established folklorist, particularly as many of them were made pre William Thoms, long before the subject was an established discipline and when such information was confined to the handful of scribblings of a few antiquarians.
Your theories are far to important, and I believe, misleading, to be let pass unchallenged - sorry again.
"my own conclusion is that the vast majority of them originated in these printed forms in towns under commercial conditions"
This is the statement you need to explain fuly - so far I have only seen you state it - without qualification.
How can you be so sure these songs were not taken from an existing oral tradition and adapted for an urban market? This is what we were categorically told by somebody who was selling ballads in rural Ireland in the 19303-40s; we even had him describe the ballad printing/selling process. Why should rural Britain have been any different?

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:22 PM

Jim,
You can access my paper on this at the Tradsong website of which you are a member if my memory serves me rightly.

Again you have misread me. My love and respect is for the folk songs themselves, what the folk did with the originals, in my opinion vastly improved them, be they ballads, songs, plays, dances, whatever.

And yes I do still state that the conditions in rural Ireland amongst travellers in the period you're talking about and the conditions in England from the early 19th century upto when the songs were collected are vastly different.

And seeing as you're still challenging me I'll return the compliment and repeat my challenge, give me half a dozen songs chosen at random from the English general stock collected by the likes of Sharp say and let's look at the likely origins.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 03:37 PM

Jim,
As for the version I posted, I presented the possibility of it having come from oral tradtion, but I think the second suyggestion much more likely. The poor doggerel it is, and the inconsistencies would soon be ironed out in oral tradition. The versions collected from oral tradition are a vast improvement on this.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 04:28 PM

"And yes I do still state that the conditions in rural Ireland amongst travellers in the period "
I have never confined my comments to Travellers in relation to folk composition - we worked with Irish Travellers in London, but we also interviewed settled singers in Ireland for thirty years with the same result; large numbers of anonymously composed songs from the famine era right through to the middle of the 20th century .
There is no conceivable difference between the two countries that could possibly account for song-making in one and none in the other. The social conditions, the access to a song tradition to use as a template, the desire to poetically express ideas and emotions - all present in Britain and Ireland.
We have found something like 150 locally composed songs from this area alone, virtually all of them anonymous.
It was the hardship and poverty that acted as a spur to songmaking - I have no doubt whatever that this was true in both cases.
You really are going to have to walk me through the differences if you claim there were any.
"The poor doggerel it is, and the inconsistencies would soon be ironed out in oral tradition"
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
These appear to be contradictory statements - one respecting the oral tradition, the other disparaging it; they can't both be true.
"I'll return the compliment and repeat my challenge"
Only if you can prove categorically that none have been taken from the oral tradition - otherwise we would both be wasting our time.
I agree totally with Phil Edwards when he said "But what evidence could possibly prove that?"
If you remember, we already tried this with Bonny Bunch of Roses and you bottled out on this very point - you were unable to produce evidence that it hadn't been lifted from the tradition - adapted meybe.
Wouldn't it be far easier to tell us why you prefer to believe them to be products of the broadside presses rather than having been taken by hacks and adapted.
You still haven't attempted to explain the anomolies in your argument - the insider knowledge necessary to create such deathless masterpieces would be a good starting place.
I have always had reservations about Sharp, but the more I argue with you, the more I am drawn to his statement:
"The folk-song is, therefore, communal in two senses; communal in authorship and communal in that it reflects the mind of the community. That, no doubt, is what Motherwell meant when he said that the people's ballad was "the actual embodiment of their Universal Mind, and of its intellectual and moral tendencies."
I don't believe for one minute the now discredited theory of spontaneous communal creation (though we have had described to us on several occasions, a group of men (settled and Traveller) making a song between them by throwing in suggestions), but rather, an original idea or theme being added to over a length of time, until it becomes accepted within a community (Sharp's/Motherwell's "Universal Mind").
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 06:04 PM

Jim,
I can show you examples of communal composition but they're relatively few and certainly not ballads.

How many songs of the general corpus contain 'insider knowledge' that couldn't be obtained from a great variety of easily accessible sources? Newspaper reports spring to mind, keeping your ear to the ground in the pub when Jack Tar's onshore etc, battle reports. Perhaps you can suggest some well-known examples of songs with insider knowledge from the general corpus of English traditional song.

Hacks certainly adapted existing material, but more often than not the material they were adapting takes us back to another broadside.

Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago.

Jim, you'd better get out there and start reconverting all the people who are happy to accept my hypothesis.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: gnu
Date: 20 Apr 12 - 06:05 PM

Well said, Jim. Not that others haven't "said well" also.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 12 - 05:28 AM

"...suggest some well-known examples of songs with insider knowledge from the general corpus of English traditional song"
Any ballad containing folklore that predates the subject becoming an established discipline will do for starters - thumb your way through Wimberly and show us where a - say 18th century - ballad hack would go to for such information - the local lending library maybe.
Take any of the sea songs that refer to working practices on board ship - the whaling songs are a prime genre.
Simple example - the "dead-man's face" which is found in Banks of Newfoundland - would a hack be aware of it's significance, and even in the remote chance that he would, why should he write it into a song that is to be sold to landlubbers who wouldn't have a clue what it meant?
Listen to Sam Larner describing the meaning of the term "just as the tide was flowing", or any similar one used by fishermen.
The same with agricultural songs - The Mowing Match, for instance or any of the weaving songs.
Are you seriously suggesting that the broadside hacks referred to a library every time they dashed off one of their ditties.
The information contained in many of our traditional songs, far from being "easily accessible", had not even made its way into print - detailed social history necessary to provide such information of this sort just didn't existy at the time.
The use of local vernacular in any of the country songs was genuine enough to fool the singers that the songs were locally created.
These show a familiarity with the subjects which outsiders would have to make lifetime studies of before they could reproduce them with such conviction - look at Masefield's cack-handed efforts (and he spent some time at sea) - or any of the literary attempts, sometimes of our greatest writers, to imitate 'peasant speech'.
Folk songs do all this with ease, which makes their creators (according to you) far from "hacks", but rather, geniuses who outshone some of our greatest literary creators - how come these geniuses manged to remain anonymous and unrecognised?
I'm sure you are aware of this quote - one wonders why the poor lady (James Hogg's mother) got it so wrong.
"His mother, Margaret Laidlaw, was an unlettered folksinger, and it was she who spoke the famous words to Scott which make a fitting comment on his work: "There was never ane o' my songs prentit till ye prentit them yourself and ye hae spoilt them a'togither. They were made for singin' and no for readin', but ye hae broken the charm now, and they'll never be sung mair.""
You are contradidicting evidence from contemporary writers who would be aware of the mechanics, or at very least, some of the practices of the broadside trade - Hindley talking of the songs moving from "the country, to the presses, to the streets", Issac Walton's "country songs hanging on the walls of inns" - even Child's "veritable dunghills" - all suggesting that these writers were making a clear distinction between orally ccreated songs and broadsides.
"Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago."
As far as I know, neither Sharp nor Motherwell have been challenged on this specific point - perhaps you might enlighten me with a quote?
"all the people who are happy to accept my hypothesis."
You are substituting argument and proof with 'royal patronage' - you are not even dealing with the fundamentals of your argument - try start with explaining how a mainly illiterate population could create such an extensive traditional song tradition from the printed word, which they had virtually no access to.
So far you have been unable to present one sigle example of a traditional song that definitely originated on a broadside - smoke and mirrors Steve.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 08:32 AM

Jim,
I'm well aware of all the songs and song types that you quote but there really aren't that many of them when you compare them with the vast bulk of love songs comic songs etc.

Let's look at Banks of Newfoundland. Only 2 versions from oral tradition contain the reference to 'the dead-man's face'. The song itself is very much based on the broadside ballad 'Van Diemen's Land'. However it's sufficiently different to classify it as a song in its own right and was very likely rewritten by a merchant seaman out of Liverpool, but these songs are relatively scarce. I'm not including sea shanties as you know as they are a mid-Atlantic thing largely and deserve classification all of their own, though undoubtedly folksong. Even some of these are based on Tin Pan Alley songs.

Okay the main source for challenging Sharp's 'Merrie Englande' has got to be Georgina's 'Imagined Village' but there are others.

Virtually illiterate. For the period we are talking about, early 19thc not all were illiterate. The printed songs as you well know were hawked about by pedlars and were sold at country markets.

Again to repeat I have never said or implied that the rural poor were incapable of this sort of composition. I have plenty of examples of my own. They just didn't get into print, hence weren't widespread, hence didn't get collected, in the vast majority of cases.

As for my alleged ambivalence to origins and oral tradition, this simply stems from our difference in beliefs. You think they are the same thing. I think they are 2 quite separate things.

Once again we take on somebody else's thread.

Can I please suggest we stop going over the same old ground from one thread to another and either set up a separate thread for our discussions or we conduct this by email.

Luv, Steve


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 09:32 AM

"Once again we take on somebody else's thread. "
This time we don't Steve - you made specific claims about the song in question which you failed to substantiate and which is a fundmental part of this discussion and any other similar - please don't use "thread drift" to bottle out - I got a bellyfull of that on another thread fairly recently.
Georgina Boyes - not an oracle I would choose to worship I'm afraid and hardly descriptive of "Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago."
What specific reference to "The folk-song is, therefore, communal in two senses; communal in authorship and communal in that it reflects the mind of the community. That, no doubt, is what Motherwell meant when he said that the people's ballad was "the actual embodiment of their Universal Mind, and of its intellectual and moral tendencies" did she or anybody make that has cleared it away from our consideration of traditional song
"Merrie Englande"
It's loaded cliches like this that convince me that you have no argument for your case. Who mentioned 'Merrie Englande' - not me, nor are my beliefs based on a romantic image of the tradition - I was recording traditional singers for far to long to hold such notions.
You still don't come anywhere near to explaining the famliarity that the song-makers had with their chosen subjects - hacks - hardly!
You are attempting to reduce our song tradition to a youngster going out and buying an album that has just topped the charts - at least have the decency to qualify your crusade with some straight answers.
Nor have you attempted to justify your apparent distain for the oral tradition   
"Its poor construction and inconsistency might suggest having come from oral tradition,"
Would appreciate if you would take the trouble to do so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 10:55 AM

A little more time now:
"The song itself is very much based on the broadside ballad 'Van Diemen's Land'."
There you go again - how do you know this and how do you know that Van Diemen's Land originated on a broadside - don't you think it concievable that transportees expressed themselves and their conditions in verse - their situation bore a great resemblence to bothy workers who you concceded made their own songs - isolated, worked to the point of slavery....
It seems you are basing a great deal on tracong the earliest printed versions of songs - where is your evidence beyond this?
What exactly are you saying about Banks of Newfoundland - that the realistic sounding ones were orally composed and the others were made by the hacks.
What are your grounds for claiming that it was not taken from oral tradition?
"For the period we are talking about, early 19thc not all were illiterate."
We've discussed the complications of literacy - at least I've explained my take on it and you have ignored it. Our oral traditions go back much further than the 19th century - our knowledge of it to any (extremely limited) extent dates from the beginingof the 20th, when it was in very great decline.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 11:36 AM

Our oral traditions do indeed go back much further and indeed a smallish number of the ballads can be traced back to 17thc broadsides, a few more to 18thc broadsides but the great bulk to late 18thc and early 19thc broadsides when the people being recorded by Baring Gould, Sharp, Kidson, Broadwood etc were in their youth.

Jim, apart from the earliest versions being either from the theatres or broadsides, there is also the matter of something you broached for your argument, content of the songs, stylistic qualities.

I have no disdain for oral tradition, in fact quite the opposite as I tried to explain above. BUT I'm sure you will accept, as has every other writer on the subject, oral tradition can work both ways, it can be improving the song or quite the opposite. Luckily it's usually the improved ones that survive and blossom. I doubt very much that the example I gave in this thread was actually as the result of oral tradition but it's possible so I included that possibility.

Your message above has actually inspired me to do a study on Banks of Newfoundland and its relationship with 'Van Dieman's Land' so I'll report back once that's complete.

You mentioned whaling songs as a prime genre. Let's take one of these. How about 'Bonny Ship the Diamond' How and when do you think that came about?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:03 PM

"How and when do you think that came about?"
I have no idea, nor do I claim to have - which basically underlines the difference between us.
"Our oral traditions do indeed go back much further and indeed a smallish number of the ballads can be traced back to 17thc broadsides"
What you appear to be trying to say is that they can be shown to have appeared on broadsides in the 17th century - we have no way of knowing if they existed prior to print, though you claim to have that knowledge.
Stylistic qualities - having plodded my way through broadside collections looking for singable songs at one time or another, I am quite aware of the stylistic differences between broadsides and orally transmitted songs - again - the very chunkiness and unsingabe artificiality (which you havepointed out yourself) of the majority of teh broadsides clash starkly with the oral repertoire. I have no way whatever of knowing which came first and whether your "hacks" have re-drafted them in their own inimitable style - apart from your possessing a time machine, I can't see for the life of me how you have.
Content indeed.
Our folks songs invariably are from the point of view of their characters (soldiers/sailors - generally regarded as the scum of the earth except in wartime) read Tom Jones, or Hugill.
Poachers, murderers, common criminals - presented to a great extent sympathetically - why should a common criminal be represented as a hero - were these hacks revolutionaries?
Some of the ballads are downright seditious - can you not imagine the author of 'Queen Eleanor's Confession' (Queen having it off with the courtiers, poisoning the Kings favourite mistress then humiliating him on her death bed) receiving a visit from the local bobby and ending his days in The Tower - not to mention the printer, who probably put his address on the sheet?
Both the style and the knowledge suggest absolutely an intimate knowledge of the subjects of the songs.
Can I just clear up the implications of what I believe to be your spurious claims.
Not only are you writing out the - for the want of a better word - 'common people' from the creation of their songs (that's how "folk songs" come to be so called I believe), and relegating them to no more that someone who goes out and buys the latest Kylie album, but if your theories gained any credence it would remove one of the most important
aspects of folk song study - that of carriers of social history.
Rather than a view of , say a nineteenth century sailor viewed his life on board, or a pressed man his feelings at being ripped from his home and stuck on board of a warship, you will have us have them no more historically significant that a Patrick O'Brian novel - less important even; O'Brian would have researched his subjects, whereby your "hacks" would not have had the information "readily available", even if they had had the inclination to go to such lengths.
You still haven't explained your damning statement regarding the oral tradition, so I will take it as read.
Neither have you produced a quote to show that "Sharp was discredited with this stuff a long time ago" - so I'll presume there isn't one.
A whole host of questions I have raised have been ignored - I would have thought it would have served your own purpose to tell us how so many of us got it wrong for so long; Sharp, Child, Hindley, Walton... and all of us who have blindly believed that country people made up songs in England as they did in Ireland, Scotland, the US, Canada, Australia......
Your own arguments lack continuity you originally claimed that the English country-people were too busy earning a living to make songs about their lives; now, it seems " I have plenty of examples of my own. They just didn't get into print, hence weren't widespread, hence didn't get collected, in the vast majority of cases" - making up your mind would be helpful.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 12 - 04:48 PM

On that last point there is no contradiction. I stand by what I said originally. Just as today, the vast majority of people neither have the time nor the inclination to write songs. My ancestors were ploughmen who got up at 4 in the morning and were working with very few and short breaks through to 7 or 8 at night on a daily basis. All that guff about whistling happily behind the plough while the birds are sweetly singing is straight out of the pleasure gardens in the late 18thc. The examples I have are from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement. In the early 19th century not many made it to retirement, and if they did the workhouse was waiting for them, or parish relief if they were lucky.

I have already suggested plenty of sources for the hacks to get their information. Many of the subjects were being reworked from older material. Military and Maritime reports were in the newspapers. They sat in the pubs with people who had first hand experience of your inside information.

As for printers they printed plenty of seditious stuff right from the off. They just left off the imprint.

'Folk songs' are so-called because of the 'folk process'. This has nothing to do with origins.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 04:18 AM

"On that last point there is no contradiction"
Yes there is - on the one hand you say the rural English working class were too busy earning a living to make songs, on the other you say they did and you've encountered them - make up your mind.
You've had a description of the conditions in which the Irish rural population created their songs, wars of independence, civil war, mass evictions, famine, emigrations, poor land, abject poverty.... all of which acted as a spur rather than a hindrance to the creation of a fantastically rich repertoire of songs we have here.
"The examples I have are from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement."
And the examples we have are of a huge repertoire of mainly anonymous songs in "folk" form that didn't move out of the area because the subject matter or local references anchored them here. This is not to say that this area did not add to the national traditional repertoire - in fact we know it did, as did many other areas of Ireland, and as, I have no doubt whatever, did many parts of England and Scotland when Britain had a living tradition . It is, I believe, these that went to make up the national folk repertoire.
"All that guff about whistling happily behind the plough"
Sorry Steve, this really is beneath you. I find this level of distortion the most unpleasantly dishonest part of your argument. Nobody here has mentioned "whistling ploughboys" other than yourself. The claim is simply that the English rural working class, just as the Irish and Scots, were capable of making songs, and almost certainly did so, in great numbers and with great skill - far more skill than your somewhat clunky broadside writers - and far more skill than you seem prepared to give them credit for.
This has seldom been disputed elsewhere, despite your still unqualified claims to the contrary.
"I have already suggested plenty of source"
You have suggested no more than a couple of off-the-top-of-the-head possibilities - without proof - and you have yet to show us why contemporary writers, including some who were aware of the broadside trade, made a distinction between orally produced songs and broadsides, and believed that the former fed the latter and not the other way round, as you claim.
As as for poor Ms Laidlaw's objection to killing the songs by writing them down.....
"'Folk songs' are so-called because of the 'folk process"
No they are not - the "folk" sang everything - music hall, Victorian tear-jerkers, popular songs of the day, light opera.... It is the belief that they actually made the songs that we refer to as 'folk' that has been the most important aspect of their study over the last century.
The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art"
As far as I can see, you are still basing your entire argument on the unqualified assumption that the earliest printed sources you have traced must be the earliest forms of the songs - you need to show on what basis you believe this in order to make your case - and address all the reasons why it is probably not
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 04:30 AM

ploughmen who got up at 4 in the morning and were working with very few and short breaks through to 7 or 8

Life was indeed hard, brutal and often short, but there were long periods of dead time.
Winter evenings.
All they had to fill them was companionship, craic, and a fire if they were lucky.
If I was there I would sing songs and make up songs even if illiterate.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:23 PM

Keith,
Indeed but the likelihood of those songs getting into the national repertoire would be rather slim without the aid of print.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:32 PM

Jim,
You mentioned back up the thread something about me not being able to provide info on 'Bonny Bunch of Roses'. I have that info at hand at the moment if you still want it.

Meanwhile let's take the most prolific of all ballads 'Barbara Allen'. Most of the Child Ballads are not relevant here because less than half have been found in oral tradition in England, but this one is useful enough as an example. Its earliest manifestation is on a 17th century broadside and it existed in multiple forms in print ever since. Okay so you say it could have come from oral tradition. About the same time, it was being sung in a high-class theatre in a concert in London. Now I don't know about you but I can't see these highly sophisticated people going out into the countryside or anywhere where peasant songs might exist to learn songs to sing on the stage.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 02:46 PM

'As far as I can see, you are still basing your entire argument on the unqualified assumption that the earliest printed sources you have traced must be the earliest forms of the songs - you need to show on what basis you believe this in order to make your case - and address all the reasons why it is probably not'

No Jim,
Not the entire argument. Whilst that still stands, and this is about the 20th time I've said it, it is based on taking every known version of 100s of ballads, stall copies and oral tradition, and comparing them closely with each other to make informed guesses about their evolution and geographical distribution, looking at their historical content where it exists, stylistic qualities, use of stock phrases, commonplaces, printers' dates, known authors where they exist, and of course numerous books on the printing trade, pedlars and their influence and a host of other factors


'The same goes for 'folk' tales, customs, beliefs, dances, music, lore, painting.... it is their common origin which identifies them all as "folk art" '

Sorry, Jim, this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 03:00 PM

Obviously GUEST is me. B****y cookie's disappeared again.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Apr 12 - 07:38 PM

"Whilst that still stands, and this is about the 20th time "
Not to me it isnt.
"every known version of 100s of ballads, stall copies and oral tradition"
As the collecting of traditional song only began in an organised way at the turn of the 20th century how do you manage to trace through 100's of versions and decide which (if any) originated on the broadside presses?
Today I pulled around a dozen books from the shelves containing songs made by miners, weavers and agricultural workers (some previously published, but most selected to illustrate the songmaking of working people)... 'Sharpen The Sickle' by Reg Groves (History of the farmworkers Union), 'Songs of the People' Brian Hollingsworth, 'The Industrial Muse' Martha Vicinus, 'Music and Tradition in Early Industrial Lancashire' Roger Elbourne, 'The Colliers' Rant' Robert Colls, songs and poetry by Scots miner Joe Corrie, weaving songs by Laycock and Bamford.....
In the sixties I worked through some of the radical newspaper press cuttings in Manchester Central Library, listing songs from their regular column. Eddie and Ruth Frow, the Salford historians gave me access to their library (then private) where I found many more
Picton library in Liverpool has a small collection of unpublished miners songs.
Walter Pardon sang a few songs which were made to support the re-setting up of the Agricultural Workers Union in East Anglia, notably 'The Old Man's Advice' A little more than your "examples .....from a few latterday writers/singers written in their retirement", don't you think
Working people have always made songs about their lives, in England as well as Ireland, yet you would have us accept that "they were too busy earning a living".
You mentioned back up the thread something about me not being able to provide info on 'Bonny Bunch of Roses'
Er no - I did no such thing; you provided 'evidence proving' it originated on a broadside, I asked you how you knew it hadn't appeared earlier in the oral tradition, you beat a hasty reatreat giving a somewhat patronising answer - yet no proof.
Which brings us back full circle; we have no idea of the traditiional repertoire other than the comparatively small number of songs collected from oral tradition in the 20th century and a few earlier.
We know for certain that working people made songs - ample evidence of thet both in Britain and Ireland.
Given all the questions that you have avoided or made a half-hearted attempt to answer (and failed IMO), you have no basis whatever for claiming that "the vast majority of them originated in these printed forms in towns under commercial conditions", and you certainly have no basis for claiming that you know which ones did.
"much of the rest originated in high art!"
Utter nonsense - folk beliefs and lore, tradititional storytelling, traditional dancing - all originating from high art. Where on earth do the Jack Tales appear in high art, or the jigs and reels played for dancing for centuries, or the traditional cures....
You really are on a mission to prove that working people had no creative culture whatever of their own aren't you.
Now where did I put that Kylie album?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 02:33 AM

Keith,
Indeed but the likelihood of those songs getting into the national repertoire would be rather slim without the aid of print.


I agree.
Perhaps one in a thousand made it to form our "national repertoire."


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Artful Codger
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 04:10 PM

I have to side with Steve Gardham in thinking that a far greater percentage of "folk songs" were original creations for the broadside industry than were slight adaptations of pre-existing folk songs. Consider: the industry was primarily based in London, but there were printers all over the British Isles. If the typical source of broadside songs were folk songs, it stands to reason that these songs would likely have existed and spread for some time prior to the broadside industry latching onto them; thus, we would expect printers in various parts of the country to publish versions of these songs which varied significantly in their wording, as with folk songs collected from oral tradition. But most broadsides of a song that I have seen are surprisingly uniform in their language.

I also notice what Gardham has described regarding the "polishing": that the broadside versions contain not just flowery but downright awkward language that soon gets "ironed out" in oral versions, as we see from later collection, or even later broadside versions--and if the songs derived from oral tradition, rather than merely recycling common formulae in new works, they would be less likely to have such language added to them, considering the intended market. In contrast, there are also broadside texts of probable oral origin, where such artifices are noticeably lacking. One could investigate whether such texts were published at roughly the same time in significantly different versions; that should weigh more heavily one side of the debate or the other.

The intended market also explains the sympathies that the broadside ballads express wrt criminals and such--it's like modern films pandering to the (crude) tastes of teenage boys and girls. The writers may be capable of much better stuff, and hopefully have a higher moral grounding (aside from selling out to Hollywood), but the products reflect the demands and sympathies of the market, not the (radically different) personal tastes, political bent or educational level of the writers and executives pushing this tripe. Jim Carroll's objection based on sympathies simply ignores market realities. As for the sympathies being "seditious", how could they have been distributed from either source in printed form had the official censors viewed them so? The censors would not have applied a double standard based on the source of the lyrics.

So, to my mind, we do have evidence of oral vs. manufactured origins in broadsides. It's not the sort of irrefutable evidence that Jim Carroll seems to require, but it's corroborative, and constitutes, to my mind, a preponderance that comes as close to conclusive as one can ever expect. Despite the cachet that folkies desire that most folk songs we're familiar with were written by heynonnymous masses in the country, rather than by hacks in the cities, that doesn't seem to be the case for the majority of the songs which have been collected. This in no way detracts from the genuine products of oral tradition, or imputes the capabilities of folk poets or even discounts the propensity of the folk to versify; it merely argues that fewer examples of truly orally-originated works have survived than we'd like to believe, on balance.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 24 Apr 12 - 05:06 PM

Well argued, Rob.

As I suggested before, there's an unmistakable stylistic difference between songs we know were created by people who, if not necessarily illiterate, were not creating a commercial product meant to appeal to the masses (even if they belonged to the masses themselves).

One doesn't have to be an expert to detect a completely different artistic sensibility between oral-traditional songs like "The Old Chisholm Trail" or "Goodbye, Old Paint" or "John Henry" or any sea shanty, and mannered compositions like "High Germany," "The Dark-Eyed Sailor," and "The Flying Cloud." No cheap printing of "The Flying Cloud" is known, but its style places it squarely in that tradition. Even if it never circulated in print or writing, its author (and I use the word advisedly) was influenced unquestionably by elite conventions (just consider the phrase, "in sorrow to repine") - and "The Flying Cloud" is one of the less sentimentally expressed 19th C. ballads. And that would be true no matter how much oral folklore he knew.

Overwhelmingly oral-traditional genres like superstitions, traditional tales, melodies, jokes, proverbs, and the like are far easier to remember, repeat, and elaborate with no help from print. The tales obviously come closest to the ballads, but how many unsatisfyingly brief versions of a Jack tale must have been told for every outstanding one? More to the point, except for a few requisite mannerisms and a unifying structure, how many folktales rely as heavily on flowery language as do so many 18th C. broadsides? Flowery language itself ("euphuism") seems to have been a fashionable development of the 16th-17th C. An unusually dedicated non-literate person might have mastered the style - with the proper set of unusual opportunities - but how far would his or her composition have been likely to travel?

Since we have so little solid information on how specific songs were created, and by whom, all general arguments about origin are based on probability. And the probabilities themselves are also uncertain. Ordinarily one can't show beyond doubt that a particular traditional song was created by a literate or a non-literate or a semi-literate person.

Even so, there's no evidence that I'm aware of that mannered or flowery language in English is a spontaneous "folk" creation employed by the average person. ("The Iliad" and "Beowulf" were created by specialists, and in a very different sort of tradition.) It's hard for me to imagine that mannered or flowery songs weren't based on literate convention, even if in some cases a truly non-literate person of unusual accomplishment actually created the song.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 02:44 AM

We should not generalise a whole demographic.
Here is a witness of Trafalgar.
Not an officer but a common seaman.
Such a man could easily be imagined to compose such a line as "in sorrow to repine" as part of a song for the amusement of his shipmates or to impress the landsmen and girls.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2010/oct/19/battle-trafalgar-account-below-deck


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 03:42 AM

As I have remarked before, it is the ability of folksong so often to teeter on the very verge of doggerel without ever quite tumbling in which I find so admirable. One feature of this is the use of such highly conventionalised 'poetic' phraseology as "in sorrow to repine", which has filtered down as 'appropriate' for the expression of feeling. Think of The Holmfirth Anthem {aka "Pretty pretty flowers"!}, with its "beautiful damsel lamenting for her shepherd swain"; its "wilt thou leave me thus, my dear?"; its "fairest evening that ever I beheld thee": mish-mash of half-digested poeticisms, but somehow just works all of a piece ~~ IMO anyhow. As so often, the beautiful tune helps ~~ surely not for nothing did RVW think Searching For Lambs [another example of the genre ~~ "I am thine and thou art mine"] the most beautiful tune he had ever heard.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 03:55 AM

Not going to have much time on this today
"Overwhelmingly oral-traditional genres like superstitions, traditional tales, melodies, jokes, proverbs, and the like are far easier to remember, repeat, and elaborate with no help from print."
All of which Steve had rejected outright with his statement:
".....this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art!"
Which leaves what we know to be a creative people with no created culture whatever, only that made for them by the professionals - this suggests country people to be less creative than some of the most primitive peoples of the world - read Ruth Finnegan, Carl Engle, Wilbur Trask, C M Bowra..... all writing about oral literature created and performed by primitive, illiterate peoples.
There has never been any question that some of our folk songs started life on the broadside presses - Prof. Bob Thomson was working on this back in the late 60s, but to suggest that it virtually all was, flies in the face of reality - never mind the virtually non-existent evidence of our oral traditions prior to 1900.
I have always been left with an suspicion of selective manipulation of the few facts we do have when I read these arguments.
For instance, if non-literate Travellers like John Reilly had large and rare ballad repertoires, we are advised that they must have had access to the printed word - even though we damn well know they didn't.
If we are told that a songs was sung by a singer's great-grandparents, their words are treated with suspicion "unless there's a contemporaneous record".
There is far too much evidence of the desire - need even - of working people - humanity in general - to express themselves, their experiences, beliefs, opinions and emotions artistically, to write a whole folk culture off as being produced on their behalf by professionals - ham fisted "hacks" even.
There is no question that 'the folk' actually produced their own 'folk songs' here in Ireland - in this small town in the west of Ireland even - we have recorded and documented accounts of it having taken place.
It has been conceded that bothy songs were made by bothy workers.
There are many printed examples of songs and poems made by miners, textile workers and agricultural laboureres - why should not songmaking have been the general practice of all similar communities, as it has always been assumed it was by those working on the subject, and in some cases, much nearer to the facts of the matter than we are?
There is enough evidence to strongly suggest that it was, there is virtually no reliable evidence to suggest it wasn't, and such asuggestion flies in the face of logic.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 06:48 AM

>>This meaning of rout is a call up or deployment.

I've never heard that meaning of rout before, and can't find the etymology for it online. Is it slang?

Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 07:10 AM

Dictionary definition.
Route march - A long hard march by soldiers in training - a router one that routes.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:06 PM

Rout/Route=old term for marching orders. Whether this has etymological connections with Jim's suggestion you would be able to check in one of the larger dictionaries like the Shorter Oxford.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:29 PM

Sorry about the silence for 2-3 days. I've been crewing on boats up and down the Humber. Messing about on the river!

'Today I pulled around a dozen books from the shelves containing songs made by miners, weavers and agricultural workers (some previously published, but most selected to illustrate the songmaking of working people)... 'Sharpen The Sickle' by Reg Groves (History of the farmworkers Union), 'Songs of the People' Brian Hollingsworth, 'The Industrial Muse' Martha Vicinus, 'Music and Tradition in Early Industrial Lancashire' Roger Elbourne, 'The Colliers' Rant' Robert Colls, songs and poetry by Scots miner Joe Corrie, weaving songs by Laycock and Bamford.....
In the sixties I worked through some of the radical newspaper press cuttings in Manchester Central Library, listing songs from their regular column. Eddie and Ruth Frow, the Salford historians gave me access to their library (then private) where I found many more
Picton library in Liverpool has a small collection of unpublished miners songs.'
In response to your 23rd 7.38 post, you know very well when I presented my findings to you we were discussing the general corpus of English traditional song as collected by the likes of Sharp, Baring Gould, Hammond, Kidson, etc. You won't find very many of the songs in the books you've mentioned in this corpus, and not a great deal of them have evidence of having been in oral tradition, and those that do only in their own limited area.

Some of your points I feel I've already answered and therefore I'm not repeating myself further.

You continue to misquote me 'much' = 'all'


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 04:56 PM

Do we all agree that the bulk of the 18th and early 19th C. broadsides are more flowery in language than, say, those of the 1840s and after?

Keith, the point isn't whether a literate seaman could write a song - or even a book - in a conventional literate style. It's whether a scarcely educated person could do so, and how likely it would be for his or her song to spread throughout the country without the aid of print.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 12 - 05:18 PM

I agree with your point, Jonathan, but would also add that IMO this is because many of the printed songs were coming down from the theatres and pleasure garden compositions or at least in imitation of them. This includes the Phoebes and Corydons and description of bright Phoebus, and all of those flowery hunting songs, idealised pastoral songs like The Sweet Nightingale.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 02:41 AM

Lighter, an illiterate could hardly write a book, but could and did make up songs.

Songs need not arise from education, except that all life experience is education.
They may not have read poetry, but they all had a repertoire of well written hymns.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 04:02 AM

'English traditional song as collected by the likes of Sharp...."
You are either not reading what I have written or are deliberately misrepresenting my point - which was in response to your "English working people people were too busy earning a living to make songs themselves"
My point was that there are many examples of working people doing exactly that - the hardship of their lives being one of the reasons why they made songs (among others).
"Some of your points I feel I've already answered"
You have answered none of them; you have attempted to explain away some of the flaws of your hypothesis with top-of-the-head excuses. Most you have totally ignored - poor grasp of and attitude to literacy (where it existed), the contrast with knowledge we have of Irish and Scots oral tradition of song making and that of rural England, on-the-spot opinions of Hindley, Walton, Maidment, et-al, that these were songs made by country people and communities, Ms Laidlaw's statement that writing the songs down killed them off rather than perpetuated them, the credibility gap in your claim of being able to trace back so many traditional songs to broadside origins when you have virtually no examples to do so prior to the beginning of the 20th century.............
The description you have been given of illiterate song sellers reciting traditional songs to the printer in order to sell them.... and many more points you appear to have no answer for really need dealing with before your theory can be taken seriously.
I'm not sure where the 'flowery language' comes into all of this, surely the contrast of the overblown language of the broadsides and the rounded singability of the oral examples suggest that it is extremely unlikely of the latter developing from the former.
Take the song in question - High Germany - and contrast the chunky version you produced with those found in the oral tradition - suggestion enough for me of a "hack" taking an existing piece which reflects the stark realities of army life and its camp-followers, and re-making it into something else.
"You continue to misquote me"
I have not at any time misrepresented your argument, on the contrary, it is you and your "Merrie England" and "whistling ploughboys" cliches who has distorted mine - apparently to cover up the fact that your arguments are based on (as you first described way back) "a gut reaction" rather than the hard evidence you would need to prove that English people were recipients rather than makers of the song that reflected their lives and conditions so realistically ad passionately.
Your extending this to include tales, music, customs, lore, etc. (and your failure to qualify such a suggestion) blows the idea totally out of the water for me.
You stick with your "gut reaction" - I'll settle for my hard evidence, gained partially by having spent a long time with traditional singers (some from a still-living tradition) and questioning them on the relationship and function of their songs to their everyday lives.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:37 AM

"many examples of working people doing exactly that - the hardship of their lives being one of the reasons why they made songs"
.,,.,.
Germane, I think, to quote the formulation [Bert Lloyd's, was it?] that "people have always sung best when they had least to sing about".

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 06:32 AM

Thanks Mike, I'd forgotten that one
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 08:33 AM

Anyone can make up a song.

Not everyone can or wishes to make up a song in the diction of fashionable literature or according to the structural conventions of printed balladry.

"When they had the least to sing about": touching but uninformative.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 08:37 AM

My last post came across as grouchier than I intended. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 08:44 AM

"Not everyone can or wishes to make up a song in the diction of fashionable literature or according to the structural conventions of printed balladry."
Nor can they make up convincing songs about subject they are unfamiliar with in the language of the characters that populate those songs.
As far as I can make out, nobody here is questioning that the broadsides were written by anybody but the broadside hacks. What is being claimed is that the vast majority of the songs found in the oral tradition originated with these same hacks, who were skilfull enough to fool 'most of the people most of the time'.
Thereby hangs the nonsense.
Why is it uniformative to suggest that people who lived in hard and appalling conditions made songs about how they felt about it - especially when it has been claimed that such conditions deterred them from doing so?
These songs and their historical and cultural significance are vital to our undersanding of our past.
You are beginning to sound as dismissive as Steve.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: banksie
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 09:54 AM

Lighter: your observation "It's whether a scarcely educated person could do so, and how likely it would be for his or her song to spread throughout the country without the aid of print."

I suspect it is highly likely. The one downside of writing is that the human memory has been rendered nearly pointless by it. I have no doubt that a song, particularly if relevant to one's experience of work or life in general, would be learned very quickly. And would then be sung because it was relevant and therefore of some `emotional comfort or support' (or similar reason such as the shear pleasure of it). As evidence of that process - watch kids singing pop songs. I can't even decipher the words, but they have got them off pat.....I suspect because the song is relevant to them.

It wasn't so long ago that whole sagas (the books and novels of the day) were told from memory, as were important messages from war fronts etc - long despatches heard once and retold after a long journey. And as archeology unearths new finds showing that supposedly `dead-thick cavemen' could deliver artifacts such as jewelry displaying great delicacy and skill, I have no doubt that they could also fashion a story or song using the most eloquent of poetry.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 11:21 AM

I believe this discussion is confusing essentially distinct issues.

The two I see as central are style and dissemination.

Illiterate and poorly educated people obviously are capable of telling stories and composing songs. However, only the untutored geniuses among them will produce tales and songs of outstanding excellence. The rest will be mundane. Think about the average quality of popular music, popular novels, popular films, etc., when compared to the relative handful of those productions that are regarded as "classics of the genre." None of these things were created by rural, uneducated people, and I doubt they'd be better if they had been.

(Obviously the folksongs and Hollywood blockbuster are not commensurable: all I'm saying is that truly outstanding work is very rare in any genre. Compare Shakespeare, for example, with 99% of other poetry or drama. In fact, compare the really great parts of Shakespeare with the rest of his own work.)

The average quality of the average untutored song would, I believe, have made it unlikely to spread very far or be remembered for very long by more than a handful of people. And it would be unlikely for any collector to find a descendant of those people or, if the song was more than few years old, to collect it if he did.

Second point. The English-speaking population of Britain in 1800 was about 12,000,000. That's little more than half the current population of the New York Metropolitan Area. Fewer people means fewer and smaller social networks, which means less interchange of ideas and information. One printed broadside hawked commercially would be far more widely influential than one person's song sung to family and acquaintances.

Travel was also slower and more difficult. People also had less reason to travel long distances than they do today.

My point is that it may be a mistake to assume that folksongs in the distant past traveled as far or as quickly by word of mouth as does information today. Just to be clear: I'm not comparing British subjects of 1800 to cavemen, imaginary people "who have no culture," hermits, morons, or anything of the sort.

I'm simply stating my belief that unlettered songs not committed to print would be unlikely to travel very far or last very long. What's more, as the collections show, it's far more common for a song that's been circulating for any length of time to be found in worn down, partially incoherent versions than in brilliant new interpretations created by the anonymous "folk process." Yes, it does happen, but rarely.

Not to get sidetracked further, but the prose of the Norse sagas is straightforward and direct. And the sagas are prose, not folksong.   

This isn't for me a question of dogma or academic fashion. Rather, the evidence suggests strongly that the bulk of all English balladry (not every ballad without exception) originated in the form we know it with literate broadside printers. I see no evidence to refute that idea, and good evidence (cited by Steve and others) to support it.

Frankly, it would be more fun if things were otherwise But they're not.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 02:38 PM

Thanks, Jonathan, you present the case much more eloquently than I could.

'Nor can they make up convincing songs about subjects they are unfamiliar with in the language of the characters that populate those songs'

Jim, that in the majority of cases is untrue. The majority of these songs, like most literature, is pure fiction, and the majority also concern the life experiences open to everybody of any class. I've already given plenty of examples of how 'insider information' could easily be gleaned by the hacks.

'these same hacks, who were skilfull enough to fool 'most of the people most of the time'

Who said anything about fooling anyone? Where does fooling come into it?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM

"However, only the untutored geniuses among them will produce tales and songs of outstanding excellence"
Seems to suggest a composing elite - not sure about this - I tend to think the "excellence" more likely came from the edges being worn off the songs by the oral tradition, rather than being put there in the first place.
Quite often the songs survived, not because they were "excellent", but because the subject matter, or the references were relevant to the communities.
There are enough examples here in the West of Ireland of a large song-making repertoire. Undoubtedly the main driving force for this was a rich oral tradition; a template which acted as a pattern for new songs to be made.
As we don't know who made these songs, it would be dangerous to attribute them to "geniuses" - many surviving songs suggest that this is far from the truth.
"and how likely it would be for his or her song to spread throughout the country without the aid of print."
The fact that one of the most important communities in Britain and Ireland for the preservation and passing on of songs was the 'pre-literate' Travellers, suggests that print, while playing some part, was not by any means vital.
The most stylish singer we recorded (and also the one with the largest repertoire) was Tipperary Traveller, Mary Delaney - from a totally non-literate background, and also blind from birth - a phenomenal singer with a phenomenal repertoire.
In the 70s, collector, the late Tom Munnelly took us to record Martin Howley, a labourer/singer living on the Burren in North Clare, who gave us 'Knight William' - the only Irish version of Child 74 (which he confusingly called 'The Old Armchair' from the first line "Knight William was sitting on his old armchair").
Martin learned it from a non-literate Travelling woman who was called Mrs 'Stotered' because of her fondness for strong drink she used to greet people with the words "I'm stotered again).
His not-too-far-away neighbours, the Flanagans, described how, when Travellers were in the area, all farmwork would be abandoned and they would go off to learn songs, sometimes for a week at a time.
Martin and the Flanagans can be heard on our double CD of Clare singers, 'Around the Hills of Clare', available on the internet.
Also available is our double CD of Traveller singers, 'From Puck to Appleby' which includes a description of ballad selling in rural Ireland in the 1940s by a man who was part of the trade with his mother (this has an hilarious description of the speaker attempting to teach the tune of a song to a prospective punter who "shoved a pound note in my top pocket every time I sang it")
Please don't look on this as the hard sell - all the proceeds for both of these go to the Irish Traditional Music Archive)
Incidentally - an interesting footnote to songwriting in this town.
Ten years ago a local Councillor campaigned and had built a resource centre, for elderly people, a creche and an advice centre - it was opened by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.
On Tuesday last, exactly ten years later, an anonymous handwritten poem/song was posted in the windows of several shops in praise of the centre - the singing tradition may be dead, but it's not going to lie down without a fight.
Sorry Steve - your "hacks" by your own description, were not skilled writers, and skilful novel writing of a convincing nature requires a great deal of research - not available to your 'tradition writers' (sic)
"Who said anything about fooling anyone?"
The fooling came from being able to convince a Norfolk singer that Barbara Allen was a local girl - or from anywhere where a song took root and came to be considered "from these parts".
That was a skill I really can't see your "hacks" possessing in any great quantity.
Still no answers I C
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:56 PM

I wonder. Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare, with all those convincingly real kings and queens and foreign lands he "couldn't have known anything about"?

Just teasing ya.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM

Jim, I didn't mention skill or novelists. I merely used the word 'fiction' in its widest sense. In many ways their beauty lies in their simplicity. The hacks, as I've already said, came from a wide range of backgrounds and I'm sure some of the better ones went on to greater things. The word 'hack' I personally feel is unfair. It conjures up the picture of people with very little skill who were dashing off any old thing. It was coined by the literati who saw their products as being at the very bottom of the literature pile, but to be fair to modern eyes the majority of it is pretty dire. I doubt if there's anyone on this list who would say that they prefer the broadside version, other than perhaps an historian.

The localisation of songs took place in the print tradition and in oral tradition. With the former it was a definite sales ploy.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 03:49 AM

"I didn't mention skill or novelists."
You said ".....like most literature, is pure fiction," which I took to be a reference to novelists - what else?
As far as I am concerned, this discussion centres around your definitive, sweeping and often dismissive suggestion that the (English) folk did not make their songs, but contracted them out for
professionals to make for them (because they were too busy....).
This, to me, is total nonsense which flies in the face of everything we know (or we think we know) about our song traditions, and without proof, which you have singularly failed to provide; presented as it is, it is little more than arrogant flag-flying.
You have compounded this arrogance with your inclusion of most of the other folk disciplines (in case you claim I am misrepresenting you - in full "Sorry, Jim, this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular.")
You have accompanied your claims with derisory terms like "Merrie England" and whistling ploughboys" - patronising at best, downright insulting on occasion (especially when accompanied by statements of how long you have been at it, as if the rest of us have only just come on board and are still looking for our cabins).
The only thing we know for certain about the making of our traditional songs is that we have not the faintest idea who made the vast majority of them.
We are pretty certain that 'ordinary people' (that appalling term which is sometimes used to describe often very extraordinary people) all over the world, made songs and tales to describe their lives, experiences, beliefs, values, aspirations..... There is no reason whatever that this should not include 'ordinary' English people.
Your claims, if accepted, would lay waste to most of the folk song scholarship of the 20th century. What is needed is documented proof, not the might-have-beens and perhapses we have been given so far.
"The word 'hack' I personally feel is unfair."
Then you should use another term for them - and parhaps give us a little more information on who they were and what were their backgounds - I have failed to find any so far and, beyong vague claims, you haven't been very forthcoming.
You accuse me of misrepresenting what you say - I haven't, not deliberately anyway, but I do find much of what you do say confusingly contradictory.
"Just teasing ya."
Just as well Lighter - we have some idea of where Shakespere went to for his references.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford.
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 05:05 AM

only the untutored geniuses among them will produce tales and songs of outstanding excellence

Yes.
Then as now.
One song in thousands is good enough to survive.
That can account for our heritage of songs.
Tutoring does little to improve song composing ability.
There has always been the same proportion of "geniuses" in the population.
No requirement for hacks.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM

Jim
The only reason I have included my pedigree on this is to demonstrate that I'm not just somebody who has read a few books. You equally keep putting in your own pedigree. I don't have a problem with this so why do you?

contracted them out for
professionals to make for them'
You know very well this is a distortion of what I have said. The hacks were paid by the printers and need not have had any contact with the singers other than to see what was selling well.

'like most literature, is pure fiction," which I took to be a reference to novelists - what else?' Just use a dictionary.

I am certain that the 'ordinary people' in many places in the world have made their own songs at various times in history, including your Irish examples. It just happens to be the case that when the 'ordinary people' who provided the songs for Sharp et al in England were learning their songs the market was being flooded with a great mass of cheap print examples coming out of the towns.

You keep challenging me to come up with direct proof of my hypothesis which several threads back we all agreed was not possible. I now challenge you, in view of your comparing the Irish songs you have been stressing, to say which songs of the corpus I have mentioned were made by a) travellers b) country people, and I'm not even going to press you for ultimatre proof. A few examples will do. There are plenty, but they still only make up less than 10% 0f the total.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 11:55 AM

"a great mass of cheap print "
Most of which were unsingable pap which said nothing about the lives of the people Sharp et al were collecting from. They certainly didn't have the function that I believe the traditional songs did. Did you ever asked a traditional singer how he/she felt about the songs they sing?
Walter Pardon filled tapes full of such information - he carefully discriminted between what he called "folk songs" and the popular songs, Victorian tearjerkers.... and the other mass produced pieces (not that he didn't sing and listen to those too).
We got similar results from other singers we questioned, often, also at at length.
All these singers were deeply involved with their songs and spoke passionately, and sometimes very emotionally about them - this is also to be found in recorded interviews of singers like Sam Larner, Harry Cox, and those wonderful recordings of Texas Gladden. You simply don't get that from mass-produced pop songs (which, as I believe you have pointed out, are what broadsides were).
I believe that our oral traditions were driven by a need, present in many cultures, for people to express their own feelings and not have it done by others on their behalf.
"I now challenge you...."
And I keep repeating - I have no idea who made these songs, any more than I believe you have.
I am not the one making definitive statements - you are, and providing no evidence to back them up.
"You know very well this is a distortion of what I have said."
This is, in essence, exactly what you said, they didn't make songs themselves because they were "too busy" so they bought songs - tell me the difference in "contracting out" the job.
"You equally keep putting in your own pedigree."
Only in response to your having done so - go and check.
I certainly don't put up "some of the most distinguished scholars of traditional music and none of them have taken me to task".
I stand behind my own ideas and am prepared to defend them and not call up others to do so on my behalf - and I expect the same of others I discuss with.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 12:14 PM

'contracting out' means a deliberate act of commissioning the songs by the people themselves, which is not true. The printers who were receiving the bulk of the income were encouraging the lyricists to bring in their compositions. These were then either sold from the shop, sold in the street by chaunters who bought their stock from the printer at a discount, or taken around the countryside by pedlars who sold them along with their other stock. Of course the printers were also regurgitating old stock, including current pop songs, and pirating material from other printers.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 12:55 PM

You're splitting hairs Steve - it amounts to the same thing - the paying of others to provide their culture for them rather than to produce it themselves.
If this is not what they were doing, please say so - otherwise you are taking refuge behind semantics.
Is this what you have described as "You continue to misquote me 'much' = 'all'" - oh dear!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 10:37 AM

Dear God. What a load of hogwash. Positive proof that in England at least the so-called 'music of the common people' - long ago hi-jacked by social historians, middle-class academics and university types - is still in the wrong hands.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 11:38 AM

Q. "So whose hands should it be in?"

A. "The singers' and the people's, you nit!"

Q. "You mean the social historians, etc., are keeping them from enjoying it? How is that possible?"


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 03:21 PM

As the following song is #56 in Sharp's 100 English Folksongs, I'm surprised not to find Sharp's version in the DT. A version using the name Colleen is in the DT and was cited above, but not this.

HIGH GERMANY

Learned from Bob Keppel of St. Louis MO in Cambridge, MA c. 1958
Version close to or identical with #56 in Sharp's 100 English Folksongs

Oh, Polly, dear, oh Polly, the route is now begun,
And we must march away to the beating of the drum,
Go dress yourself all in your best and come along with me,
I'll take you to the cruel wars in High Germany.

Oh, Harry, dearest Harry, you mind what I do say,
My feet they are too tender, I cannot march away,
And besides, my dearest Harry, though I'm in love with thee,
I am not fit for cruel wars in High Germany.

I'll buy you a horse, my love, and on it you shall ride,
And all of my delight shall be riding by your side,
We'll call at every alehouse, and drink when we are dry,
So quickly on the road, my love, we'll marry by and by.

O curs-ed be the cruel wars that ever they should rise,
And out of merry England press many a lad likewise,
They pressed young Harry from me, likewise my brothers three,
And sent them to the cruel wars in High Germany.

I later learned a final verse that Keppel did not sing, nor is it in Sharp. It's from another version; I don't know its source, but believe it to be traditional. The name in the final line was originally Willie; I changed it to suit the rest of the song.

My friends I do not value and my foes I do not fear,
For now my true love's left me and wanders far and near,
But when my baby's born, and smiling on my knee,
I'll think of handsome Harry in high Germany.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 06:03 PM

Bob, I don't know the ultimate origin of the final stanza, but I believe the Dubliners sang it in the mid '60s.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: pavane
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 06:30 PM

Martin Carthy also sang it in the mid-60's
It seems to have been printed in 1960:
The Everlasting Circle:
English traditional verse
James Reeves
Heinemann, 1960
page 151: 64 High Germany

"Your parents they will be angry if along with me you will gang

My friends I do not value, nor my foes I do not fear, But along with my jolly soldier boy I will ramble far and near. It's gold shall never deceive me nor any other man,but along with you I will go
For to fight the French or the Spaniards or any other..."

I can't see any more online


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Steve Squeeze
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 07:03 AM

Only two years late, but should anyone wish to peruse the back catalogue of the aforementioned Whorticulture, in the form of hastily-recorded demo/live CDs from many moons ago, it's all on grooveshark, including our version of High Germany.

Rgds,
SS :o) x


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:49 AM

is there a Low Germany?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 09:29 AM

Indeed there is: the North German plain is Low Germany: see this from Wikipedia

Variants of Low German were widely (and are still to a far lesser extent) spoken in most parts of Northern Germany, for instance in the states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg. Small portions of northern Hesse and northern Thuringia are traditionally Low Saxon speaking too. Historically, Low German was also spoken in formerly German parts of Poland as well as in East Prussia and the Baltic States of Estonia and Latvia. The language was also formerly spoken in the outer areas of what is now the city state of Berlin but in the course of urbanisation and national centralisation in that city the language vanished.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 12:15 PM

"Low German" (the dialect) and "Low Germany" (the area) seem not to have been completely congruent.

"Low Germany" frequently (maybe mainly?) referred to the Netherlands where, of course, they spoke Dutch rather than any form of German. Like "High Germany" the phrase seems to have dropped out of non-literary use long ago.


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Subject: Origins: High Germany
From: Vin2
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 08:12 AM

Hi folks, just learning this great song covered by many a songster - my fave version is Martin Carthy's and Luke Kelly's. Anyroadup I was wondering if anyone knows the songs origin ?

Cheers

Vin


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Subject: RE: Origins: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 08:21 AM

It's in DT, with several links there to previous threads. Search with the Lyrics & Knowledge Search above and you will find much relevant info.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 11:18 AM

Not unrelated t this song, though song origins are virtually impossible to pin down and invariably end in tears
Jim Carroll

Banks of the Nile (Roud 950, Laws N9)
Pat MacNamara
The theme of this song – a woman asking her soldier or sailor lover to be allowed to accompany him to battle or to sea, is not as unbelievable as it might first appear. Armies once trudged their way around the world accompanied by 'camp-followers', mobile settlements of women, children and tradesmen all running risks not too different from those taken by active soldiers. Following the defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill in 1798, British troops rounded up and massacred the camp-followers who assisted the rebels during the fighting. Camp following lasted into the nineteenth century and continued to be a common part of army life into the 19th century.
The same went for seamen; in 1822 an anonymous pamphlet suggested that members of the Royal Navy were taking as many as two women apiece aboard the ships. These women also proved useful in that they fought alongside their lovers at the Nile and Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars. The well-known saying "show a leg" is said to have originated from the practice of officers in the Royal Navy clearing the crew from their hammocks and bunks by demanding that the occupant sticks their leg out to show whether they were male or female.
'Banks of the Nile' is probably the best known song of women accompanying their lovers into battle or on board ship. Though this version refers to the practice among the Irish military forces, the song is just as popular in England and probably originated there


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 04:09 PM

Much learned discussion about "High Germany," whether it is the work of some unknown poet of the 1820s-1830s, as implied by Bruce O some years ago (above) or a folk effort of an earlier time, is penned in this thread.
The text, however, has not been posted in mudcat.
Whether it descends from the 18th C. verses posted earlier in this thread is open to question.


Lyr. Add: HIGH GERMANY

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, the rout is begun
And we must away at the sound of the drum,
Go dress yourself in all your best, & go along with me
And I'll take you to the wars in High Germany.

O my dearest Billy mind what you say,
My feet they are sore I cannot march away,
Besides my dearest Billy, I am with child by thee,
Not fitting for the wars in High Germany.

I will buy you a horse, if my Polly can ride,
And many a long night I will march by her side,
We will drink at every alehouse there ere we come nigh
And we'll travel on the road sweet Molly and I.

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, I like you very well,
There are few in this place my Molly can excell,
But when your baby is born, love, and sits smiling on your knee,
You will think on your Billy that is in High Germany.

Down in yonder valley I'll make for him a bed,
And the sweetest of roses shall be his coverlid, (coverlet?)
With pinks and sweet violets I will adorn his feet,
Where the fishes are charmed the music is so sweet.

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, pray give me your hand
And promise you will marry me when I come to Old England,
I give you my right hand, I will not married be,
Till you come from the wars in High Germany.

Woe be to the wars that they began, For they have prest my Billy & many a clever man,
For they have prest my Billy no more him I shall see
And so cold will be his grave in High Germany.

The drum that beats is covered with green,
The pretty lambs a sporting much pleasure to be seen
May the birds on the branches hinder my downfall
The leaving of my true love grieves me the worst of all.

Harding B11, 1536; B11 (2899); and others of roughly the same date (1820-1830), broadsides in the Bodleian Collection.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 02:55 PM

Lyr. Add: HIGH GERMANY
Revised by Aoife Clancy et al.

Woe be to the orders that took my love away
And woe be to the cruel cause that bid my tears to fall
Woe be to the bloody wars of high Germany
They have taken my love and left a broken heart to me.

The drum beat in the morning before the break of day
And the small wee fife played loud and clear while yet the morn was gray
And I the bonny flag unfurled, 'twas a gallant sight to see
Woe to me, my soldier lad was marched to Germany.

Long, long is the traveling to the bonny pier of Leith
And bleak it was to gang there with a snowstorm in your teeth
And aye, the wind blew sharp and strong, and a tear rose in my eyne
I gang there to see my love embark for Germany.

As I gazed over the cruel sea for as long as could be seen
The wee small sails upon the ship my own true love was in
And aye, the wind blew sharp and strong, and the ship sailed speedily
Cruel the raging wars have torn my bonny boy from me.

Woe be to the orders that took my love away
And woe be to the cruel cause that bid my tears to fall
Woe be to the bloody wars of high Germany
They have taken my love and left a broken heart to me.

Arrangement of the 1820s broadside by Aoife Clancy and group, album "Threads of Time," 1998.

http://www.celtic lyrics corner.net/cherish/high.htm


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM

"High Germany" has been collected in Newfoundland; a shortened version probably originating from the old broadside.

The boy is "Willy", and he suggests that they will "call into Damsel's Tavern and drink as we pass by."

With musical score, sung by Jim Bennett; pp. 679-680, Kenneth Reacock, "Songs of the Newfoundland Outports.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 03:51 PM

Lyr. Add: HIGH GERMANY Moeran
Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950)

One day as I was walking by myself all alone,
I heard two young ones talking, they were talking all alone,
Said the young one to the fair one, "Bonnie Lassie," said he,
"our king he have commanded us, and his orders we must obey."

"That's not what you promised me when you did beguile,
You promised for to marry me as we walked many a mile,
Do not me forsake but pity on me take, great fear is my woe;
Through Scotland, France and Ireland, along with you I will go."

"As long as we're travelling, that would hurt your tender feet;
Over hills and lofty mountains that would cause you for to weep,
Beside that you would not consent to laying in the fields all night long;
And your parents would be angry if alone o'me you gang.

But since you are so vextillous as to risk your sweet life,
So first I will marry you and make you my lawful wife;
Then if anyone offend you I'll protect you, and that you shall see--
I will take you where the drums and trumpets sound, in the wars of High Germany."

Volkslieder (Folksongs) set by Ernest John Moeran.
http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?Textld=75328


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