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Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound

DigiTrad:
POLLY ON THE SHORE
SCILLY ROCKS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Bold Carter: Napoleonic song (13)
Polly on the Shore (23)
Lyr Req: Polly on the Shore (answered) (4) (closed)
bold carter (5)


GUEST,bigJ 27 Aug 08 - 04:45 PM
irishenglish 27 Aug 08 - 04:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Aug 08 - 06:04 PM
Nerd 27 Aug 08 - 09:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Aug 08 - 11:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Aug 08 - 11:18 PM
Nerd 28 Aug 08 - 02:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Aug 08 - 11:06 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Aug 08 - 03:40 PM
Nerd 28 Aug 08 - 04:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Aug 08 - 04:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Aug 08 - 05:02 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Aug 08 - 06:03 PM
Charley Noble 28 Aug 08 - 07:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Aug 08 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,bigJ 29 Aug 08 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,doc.tom 29 Aug 08 - 04:55 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Aug 08 - 01:28 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Aug 08 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,doc.tom 29 Aug 08 - 02:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Aug 08 - 03:43 PM
GUEST 08 May 10 - 01:16 PM
RTim 14 May 10 - 01:26 PM
Jim Dixon 16 May 10 - 09:22 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: UNTO THE EAST INDIES WE WERE BOUND
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 04:45 PM

In P.W. Joyce's book 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs' there's a song which he calls UNTO THE EAST INDIES WE WERE BOUND (pp58-59) with just two verses as follows:-

UNTO THE EAST INDIES WE WERE BOUND

1 Unto the East Indies we were bound our gallant ship to steer,
And all the time that we sailed on, I thought on my Polly dear:
'Tis pressed I was from my true love, the girl whom I adore,
And sent unto the raging seas where stormy billows roar.

2 Our captain being a valiant man upon the deck did stand,
With a full reward of fifty pounds to the first that should spy land:
Then up aloft two boatmen go unto the mainmast high -
An hour is past, and then at last - 'Tis land, 'tis land they cry.

Has anyone got any more than that?

Thanks in advance


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Subject: RE: East Indies
From: irishenglish
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 04:54 PM

Not sure of the entire source, but it must be related to Polly On The Shore. I have this being done by Pops Maynard, Martin Carthy, and Fairport (where it came from Trevor Lucas). Try looking that song up.


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Subject: RE: East Indies
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 06:04 PM

No luck so far. Olson mentions two verses. Nothing additional in The Fiddlers Companion. Checked several collections of naval songs, also several Polly's, not found.


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Subject: ADD Version: Polly on the Shore
From: Nerd
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 09:50 PM

This is certainly a version of "Polly on the Shore,"

The digitrad says it is by Randy Newman, but that's nonsense. It's a traditional song.

irishenglish was quite right about those versions. Also Trees named their classic album On the Shore for this song, of which they do an epic folk-rock version.

Here's how I learned it:

Polly on the Shore

Come all you wild young men
and a warning take by me
Never lead your single life astray
or into bad company

As I myself have done
being all in the month of May
When I ws pressed by a sea captain
To the privateering trade

To the East Indies we were bound
to plunder the raging main
And it's many the brave and galliant ship
We sent to a watery grave

Ah, for Freeport we did steer
our provisions to renew
When we did spy a bold man-of-war
sailing three feet to our two

And a thousand times I wished myself alone,
All alone with my Polly on the shore

We sailed on the ocean so wide
And our bonny bonny flag we let fly,
Let every man stand true to his gun
For the lord knows who must die.

Oh, she fired across our bows
"Heave to and don't refuse
Surrender now unto my command
or else your lives you'll lose"

And our decks they were spattered with blood
And the cannons did loudly roar
And broadside and broadside a long time we lay
Till we could fight no more

Oh, our captain was wounded full sore
And so were the rest of his men
Our main mast riggin' it was scattered on the deck
So that we were obliged to give in.

And a thousand times I wished myself alone,
All alone with my Polly on the shore

She's a tall and a slender girl
with a dark and a-rolling eye
And here am I, a-bleeding on the deck
And for her sweet sake must die

Farewell, my family and my friends
likewise my Polly too
I'd never have plundered the salt sea wide
If I'd have been ruled by you

And a thousand times I saw myself again,
All alone with my Polly on the shore


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 11:16 PM

Olson couldn't find more than the two verses given by Joyce. May be a lost version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 11:18 PM

The Roud Folk Song Index places this one on its own at number 2384, while 'Polly on the Shore' is at number 811. I don't think there's any connection between Joyce's fragment and 'Polly'.

The 'Polly' text in the DT (beside the ludicrous misattribution, which has been pointed out several times over the years but has still not been corrected) is a bit of a dog's breakfast cobbled together from a couple of mis-heard revival recordings so far as I can tell. The lines in the first verse

... A privateer to trade
To the East Indies we were bound to plunder the raging main
And it's many the brave and a galliant ship
We sent to a watery grave

don't appear to belong to any known traditional form of 'Polly', and were probably made up by Trevor Lucas back in the 1970s. That takes the East Indies out of the equation, and the remaining similarities are only generic. Joyce's text probably appears on broadsides, but since it appears to be from the middle of something it may prove difficult to track it down on purpose. It's the sort of thing that Steve Gardham might recognise, though.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SCILLY ROCKS
From: Nerd
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 02:36 AM

Hmmm, seems I was mistaken about Polly on the Shore. But I wonder whether Trevor Lucas knew the Joyce fragment. That line is strikingly similar!

That said, this time I have indeed found the related broadside song. It's "The Rocks of Scilly" or "Scilly Rocks." Popular in both Britain and North America, this can be found in several versions in the Bodleian broadside collection, and is K8 in Law's classification.

Roud lists this as a different song too (#388), but I think it's unmistakeable that the Joyce piece is a fragment of "Scilly." As you'll see, pretty much every line of the Joyce piece is also in "Scilly Rocks."

Here's the DT version:

SCILLY ROCKS

Come all you jolly young seamen bold, that ploughs the raging main
Come listen to my tragedy the truth I will explain;
Pressed was I from my true love, the girl that I adore,
Commanded was I to the raging seas, where foaming billows roar.

It was unto the West Indies our gallant ship did steer
And all along as we sail'd on I thought of Polly dear,
Sometimes on deck, sometimes aloft and sometimes down below
Still the thoughts of Polly run in my mind while the stormy winds do blow.

We had not sailed three leagues before a dreadful storm did rise
How keen was the hurricane and and dismal look'd the skies.
Our captain being a valiant man upon the deck did stand
"Here's fifty pounds reward, my boys, the first that can spy land."

Than up aloft our bosun went unto the topmast high
He gaz'd and looked on every side, no light, nor land could spy;
"Bear off! Bear off! Before the wind! Of Scilly Rocks keep clear
On the ocean wide here we must bide till daylight doth appear.

The very first time our ship she struck, so loud our captain cried,
"May the Lord have mercy on our souls, we in the deep must lie,"
Out of eight hundred seamen bold only four got safe on shore
Our gallant ship in pieces was split and never was seen any more.

Then news was sent to Plymouth town our gallant ship was lost
Which made many a brisk young seaman bold for to lament our loss;
And Polly dear was left to lament the loss of her sweetheart
For the raging seas and stormy winds caused Polly and I to part.

From The Constant Lovers, Purslow
Collected from George Collier, 1908


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 11:06 AM

Bullseye. Joyce's fragment seems to be the only example recorded from Ireland, so a tune comparison with English and Canadian versions might be instructive. We'll have to let Steve Roud know, so the Joyce can be re-assigned in the next revision of the Index.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 03:40 PM

Excellent stuff, Nerd! I knew I'd seen it somewhere. I'll send SteveR an email. I recognised the line 'Our captain being a valiant man' but couldn't think where it was


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Nerd
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 04:41 PM

Thanks, Steve! Tell Steve that this info came from Steve :-)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 04:43 PM

Excellent work! -------------------------------------------

One of the versions in the Bodleian has much the same words of the fragment in Joyce:
"The Rocks of Scilly," J. Pitts, London, c. 1819-1844.

'To the East Indies we were bound,' rather than 'unto.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 05:02 PM

Rocks of Scilly, collected from James Young, by Creighton and Senior, pub. in "Traditional Songs from Nova Scotia, pp. 200-201, 1950, is a variant.
Also collected in 1951 from Kate McCarthy, pub. as "Seafaring Song," in MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada," 2004.

GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador-
www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/21/scilly.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 06:03 PM

Glasgow stall copies take it back to 1802 'The Distressed sailor on The Rocks of Scilly', 'The Sailor's Tragedy' but it was widely printed in the early 19thc.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 07:38 PM

Ned-

Well done!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr. Add: THE ROCKS OF SCILLY
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Aug 08 - 09:05 PM

Lyr. Add: THE ROCKS OF SCILLY

1
Come all you brisk young sailors bold,
That ploughs the raging main,
Come listen to my tragedy
And I'll relate the same.
'Tis prest I was from my true love
She is the girl that I do adore,
And sent I was to the raging sea,
Where foaming billows roar.

2
To the East Indies we were bound,
Our gallant ship to steer,
And all the way that we sail'd out,
I thought of my Polly dear.
We had not gone a great way out
Before a storm did rise,
The raging seas ran mountain high
And so dismal was the sky,

3
Sometimes alone with grief I do moan,
While others are sporting on
Had I but my Polly here,
I ne'er would make my moan.
Sometimes on deck sometimes aloft
And oftentimes below
The thoughts of Polly run in my head,
Tho' the stormy winds do blow.

4
Our captain being a valiant man
Upon the deck doth stand,
A full reward of fifty pound,
To the first that doth see land.
Our boatswain up aloft did go,
On the maintop so high,
He look'd all round on every side.
Neither light nor land espy'd.

5
He being foremast of the ship,
A light he chanced to spy,
Bear off my lads, before the wind,
Some harbour we are nigh.
Bear off my lads before the winds
The Scilly rocks are near,
On the ocean wide we must abide
Till day light doth appear.

6
The first time our gallant ship struck
So loud the captain cry'd,
The Lord have mercy on us all,
We in the deep shall die.
Out of eighty seamen bold
'Twas four got on shore,
Our gallant ship to pieces went,
And never was seen more.

7
O when the news to Plymouth went
Our gallant ship was lost
Caused many a fine young sailor bold
Then to lament his case.
'Tis Polly love you must lament,
For the loss of your sweetheart
'Tis the raging seas, the stormy winds
Caused you and me to part.

Firth c.13(118), c. 1819-1844, J. Pitts, London, and Harding B 17(261a), printed by T. Birt, c. 1828-1829. The Firth copies have a few errors.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 04:44 AM

Many thankks to all of you for your contributions to my/our greater knowledge.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 04:55 AM

This is set I sing, which comes from Baring-Gould.

Come all you sailors brisk and bold, who plough he raging main,
A tragedy I will unfold in story sad and plain;
From my true love it's pressed I was, the gallant ship to steer;
To the West Indies we were bound with confidence and cheer.

Now a year was past when home at last we turned with swelling sail,
But e'er The Ushant over-past there came on us a gale;
Our gallant ship about was tossed and swept with wind and foam;
The furious tide it thundered so, each thought of wife and home.

Now our Captain being a valiant man, it's on the deck he did stand;
"Here's fifty pounds in hand, me boys, to him who first spies the land."
The Bos'n up aloft did go, up to the topmast high;
More angry did the ocean grow, more menacing the sky.

To make The Stripe in vain we tried, the Scillies rock to clear,
For the tide upon that barren coast was filling every ear;
"Bear off, bear off before the wind, from Scilly bear away!
On the ocean wide, it's pray we bide, until the break of day."

But there came a sharp and sudden shock that filled our hearts with fear;
"May the Lord have mercy on our souls," our Captain cried so clear;
Eight hundred men were in that ship – it's four got safe to shore;
The gallant vessel, good and true, was shattered aft and fore.

And when the news to Plymouth swift did fly, that our good ship was gone,
It's wet with tears was many an eye and many a widow lone;
My pretty love was wed, I found, to another man than me;
Oh gentles all, that live on land, bethink the boys at sea.
Oh gentles all, that live on land, bethink the boys at sea.

Interesting variation in the words in all these texts!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 01:28 PM

A broadside in the Bodleian Collection also refers to the 'West Indies,' Harding B28(83).
The Baring-Gould version quoted by doc.tom is more interesting, and a very different ending!
Do you know where it was published, etc.?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 02:22 PM

Baring Gould's version was published in the later book 'Folk Songs of the West Country' by Gordon Hitchcock 1974 p108. Actually it's also in Songs of the West 1905 edn p106. To be honest I'd check out the Hitchcock printing which is less likely to have been altered. Not much in SOTW escaped SBG's poetic hand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: GUEST,doc.tom
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 02:58 PM

Songs of the West. Fair comment from Steve!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Aug 08 - 03:43 PM

Thanks to you both.
Songs of the West is being reproduced by Kessinger, so is available again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: GUEST
Date: 08 May 10 - 01:16 PM

refresh


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ROCKS OF SCILLY
From: RTim
Date: 14 May 10 - 01:26 PM

Below is the version collected from George Blake of Hampshire by Dr. George Gardiner, and it can be found on my CD - George Blake's Legacy (on Forest Tracks).
Blake's tune was a version of "The Marigold" or "Star of County Down".

Tim Radford

THE ROCKS OF SCILLY.

It's of a brisk young seaman bold that ploughed the raging main.
Come listen to my tragedy, while I relate the same.
It's pressed I was from my true love, She's the girl that I adore,
And sent I was to the raging seas, where the foaming billows roar.

We had not sailed a league on sail before a storm did rise,
May the Lord have mercy on our souls, so dismal was the skies.
Sometimes aloft, sometimes on deck and the other time below,
When the thoughts of my Polly love run in my mind when the foaming billows roar.

Our Captain being a valiant man he on the deck did stand
Here's a full reward of fifty pounds for the first that could see land.
Then up aloft our boatswain went on the main topsail so high,
He looked around on every side, neither land nor life could spy.

The very first time our ship she struck so loud against a rock,
May the lord have mercy on our souls for the deep must be our lot.
And out of eight hundred seamen bold only four got safe on shore,
Our galliant ship to pieces went and she was never seen any more.

And when the news to Plymouth came, our galliant ship was lost,
Caused many a brisk young seaman bold for to lament her lost.
And Polly dear she must lament for the loss of her sweetheart,
'Twas the raging seas and the stormy winds caused my love and I to part.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Unto the East Indies We Were Bound
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 May 10 - 09:22 PM

There is another thread with a few more versions: Lyr Req: Rocks of Scilly, as well as a version in the DT: SCILLY ROCKS.


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