The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #12567   Message #2061608
Posted By: Joe Offer
26-May-07 - 10:17 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Bingen on the Rhine (Caroline Norton)
Subject: RE: ADD: Bingen on the Rhine (recitation)
I found a broadside here (click):


Bingen on the Rhine.


Copies of this very popular recitation can only be had in
the Poet's Box,

A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers,
There was lack of woman's nursing, there was dearth of woman's tears;                                                
But a comrade stood beside him, while his life-blood ebbed away'
And bent, with pitying glances, to hear what he might say:
The dying soldier faltered, as he took that comrade's hand,
And he said: "I never more shall see my own, my native land;
Take a message and a token to some distant friends of mine,
For I was born at Bingen-at Bingen on the Rhine.

" Tell my brothers and companions, when they meet and crowd around,
To hear my mournful story, in the pleasant vineyard ground,
That we fought the battle bravely; and when the day was done,
Full many a corpse lay ghastly pale beneath the setting sun.
And 'midst the dead and dying were some grown old in wars-
The death-wound on their gallant breasts, the last of many scars;                                                         
But some were young, and suddenly beheld life's morn decline;
And one had come from Bingen-fair Bingen on the Rhine.

"Tell my mother that her other sons shall comfort her old age,
And I was aye a truant bird, that thought his home a cage;
For my father was a soldier, and, even as a child,
My heart leaped forth to hear him tell of struggles fierce and wild;
And when he died, and left us to divide his scanty hoard,
I let them take whate'er they would, but kept my father's sword;                                                      
And with boyish love I hung it where the bright light used to shine,
On the cottage wall at Bingen-calm Bingen on the Rhine!

"Tell my sister not to weep for me, and sob with drooping head,
When the troops are marching home again, with glad and gallant tread;                                                   
But to look upon them proudly, with a calm and steadfast eye'
For her brother was a soldier too, and not afraid to die.
And if a comrade seek her love, I ask her in my name
To listen to him kindly, without regret or shame;         
And to hang the old sword in its place (my father's sword and mine),
For the honour of old Bingen-dear Bingen on the Rhine!

" There's another-not a sister; in the happy days gone by,
You'd have known her by the merriment that sparkled in her eye;
Too innocent for coquetry-too fond for idly scorning,-
O friend, I fear the lightest heart makes sometimes heaviest mourning!
Tell her the last night of my life (for ere this moon be risen
My body will be out of pain-my soul be out of prison)
I dreamed I stood with her, and saw the yellow sunlight shine
On the vine-clad hills of Bingen-fair Bingen on the Rhine!

"I saw the blue Rhine sweep along; I heard, or seemed to hear,
The German songs we used to sing in chorus sweet and clear;
And down the pleasant river, and up the slanting hill,
That echoing chorus sounded, through the evening calm and still;
And her glad blue eyes were on me, as we passed with friendly talk                                                   
Down many a path beloved of yore, and well-remembered walk;
And her little hand lay lightly, confidingly in mine;-
But we'll meet no more at Bingen-lovely Bingen on the Rhine!"

His voice grew faint and hoarser; his grasp was childish weak;
His eyes put on a dying look; he sighed, and ceased to speak.
His comrade bent to lift him, but the spark of life had fled;
The soldier of the Legion in a foreign land-was dead!
And the soft moon rose up slowly, and calmly she looked down                                                         
On the red sand of the battle-field, with bloody corpses strown
Yea, calmly on that dreadful scene her pale light seemed to shine,
As it shone on distant Bingen-fair Bingen on the Rhine!

Saturday morning, 27th July, 1867. has background information:

Bingen on the Rhine/Legend of the Rebel Soldier

Bluegrass Ballad, Lyrics based a poem by Caroline Norton (1847), Tune based on "Rolling Home." Legend of the Rebel Soldier: New words by Charlie Moore; Melody according to Moore was based on tune fiddle tune, Kevin Barry;

ARTIST: Bingen on the Rhine; A Poetic Tale By Caroline Norton- Circa 1847

CATEGORY: Fiddle and Instrumental Tunes; DATE: circa 1847

RECORDING INFO: The Rebel Soldier - Moore, Charlie: Bird, Elmer. Home Sweet Home, Windy Ridge WR-10002, LP (1982), cut#A.03; Country Capers. 38th Annual Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, 1973, Gazette 38, LP (1973), cut# 25 (Legend of the Rebel Soldier); Harrell, Bill; and the Virginians. Ballads and Bluegrass, Webco WLPS 0121, LP (1986), cut# 8; Moore, Charlie. Original Rebel Soldier, Wango 114, LP (1976), cut#A.01;

OTHER NAMES: "Kevin Barry" "Rolling home to Dear Old England/ Ireland/Scotland/St Helena," "In the Libby Prison Sadly," "Shall my Soul Pass through Old Ireland," "Bingen on the Rhine," "Soldier from Missouri,"

SOURCES: Kevin Barry: Roche Collection, 1983, Vol. 3; No. 52, pg. 14; Digital Tradition; Ceolas: A Fiddler's Companion; American Memory Collection;

NOTES: "The Legend of the Rebel Soldier", was arranged /written in 1963 by the bluegrass singer Charlie Moore, who also recorded it along with other groups, including The Country Gentlemen, for which it became a signature song. According to Charlie Moore, the melody is based on the Irish fiddle tune and ballad "Kevin Barry."

"The Legend of the Rebel Soldier" is a shorter and simpler rewrite of "Bingen on the Rhine," a poem by Caroline Norton (1808-1877) and published circa 1847. According to Norm Cohen, "Lady Caroline Norton's Bingen on the Rhine" was set to music by Judson I. Hutchinson of the Hutchinson Family. It appears that Judson I. Hutchinson of the Hutchinson Family used the melody of "Rolling Home to Dear Old England" to set to the "Bingen on the Rhine," lyrics. "Bingen on the Rhine" spawned a number of rewrites (parodies) including "In the Libby Prison Sadly" by John Ross Dix in 1864 (which was used in the Civil War), the "Soldier from Missouri," and in the 1920's "Shall my Soul Pass through Old Ireland" as well as "Kevin Barry." With so many rewrites and different versions it's hard to tell which version Charlie Moore based his rewrite of "The Legend of the Rebel Soldier."

The tune "Rolling Home to Dear Old England" is the melody for the "Kevin Barry" song. John Masefield wrote of 'Rolling Home', which was originally a poem written by Charles Mackay (1814— 89) on May 26, 1858 while homeward bound from America as a passenger on the Europa. Its eight verses were indeed augmented by sailors. Hugill, who calls it 'the most famous homeward-bound song of them all', prints well over twenty, many with variants. The song was also used as a capstan shanty. Roy Palmer (The Oxford Book of Sea Songs, re-issued as Boxing the Compass, 2001) also states that Charles MacKay (1814-1889) wrote his poem Rolling Home "on May 26,1858 while homeward bound from America as a passenger on the Europa. Its verses were indeed augmented by sailors." It is not clear whether Mackay wrote the tune or it was an older British melody. The song "Shall my Soul Pass through Old Ireland," is a shorter and simpler rewrite of "Bingen on the Rhine", a poem by Caroline Norton (1808-1877) and published between (1847-1859). "Shall my Soul Pass" was written closer to the date of publication of Kevin Barry, to commemorate all Irish prisoners in British prisons and the death of Terence McSwiney, who starved himself to death in a British prison, in 1920.

Terence McSwiney (starvation) and Kevin Barry (hanging) died within one week of each other in 1920. So the "Kevin Barry" song is definitely 1920, or later in the same decade. The song "Shall my soul... is said to commemorate Terence McSwiney.

HISTORY OF "KEVIN BARRY," "SHALL MY SOUL PASS": After the Easter 1916 Rising, the Volunteers were in disarray, and it seemed as though yet another generation had shot its bolt. Several factors ensured that this would not be so. Firstly, the people were incensed by the shooting of the Easter leaders. Secondly, the internment of the other Easter rebels, along with many political activists and "suspects", provided an unforeseen opportunity for the planning and re-organization of the new Irish Republican Army. The Sinn Féin movement went from strength to strength, aided in no small part by the threat in 1918 of conscription to fight England's bloody war in Flanders. On 21st January, 1919, the first Dáil Eireann, or Irish Assembly, met in the Mansion House in Dublin. It claimed sole authority as the sovereign Irish government, an implicit declaration of war against the British. And war indeed followed.

The Anglo-Irish War, otherwise known as The War of Independence, or the Tan war, can be said to have begun in earnest on January 21st 1919, at Soloheadbeg in Tipperary, when the 3rd Tipperary Brigade of the IRA ambushed and killed two RIC men in a raid for explosives.

By now, the British state in Ireland had simply ceased to function over large parts of the country, it's place being taken by the IRA and an associated civilian administration in embryo co-ordinated by Dáil Eireann. The British responded to with martial law and terror. Terence McSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork, died after seventy-four days on hunger strike. A poem by McSwiney, Teach Us How To Die, sets out explicitly the mentality that led him and others to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Kevin Barry, as the song tells us, was just 18 when he was hung by the British. Kevin was a medical student, in his first year at UCD; and an IRA Volunteer, member of H company, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade. On September 20th, 1920, he took part in an ambush of a party of British soldiers in Dublin in which three of the enemy were killed. Afterwards, Barry was captured. Although subjected to torture, Barry refused to betray his comrades, and the British exacted their murderous revenge. Kevin Barry was sentenced to death by hanging, and the sentence was executed in Mountjoy Jail on November 1, 1920. His execution provoked national outrage.

FINAL NOTES: The success of "The Legend of the Rebel Soldier" garnered Charlie Moore The International Bluegrass Music Association song of the year award and other honors. The song was, if fact, a Civil War song from a rewrite of "Bingen on the Rhine." As a comparison, the lyrics to other songs that use the lyrics and/or melody are included.