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Origin: The Bastard King of England

DigiTrad:
THE BARSTED KING OF ENGLAND
THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Bastard King of England (from Cray, Erotic Muse)
The King of Borneo (Bastard King of England) [words & music by Frank Crumit, 1929]


RWilhelm 15 Jun 99 - 10:43 AM
Bert 15 Jun 99 - 10:48 AM
Lesley N. 15 Jun 99 - 10:56 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 15 Jun 99 - 11:02 AM
bigJ 15 Jun 99 - 05:04 PM
katlaughing 15 Jun 99 - 05:50 PM
katlaughing 15 Jun 99 - 05:53 PM
Lesley N. 15 Jun 99 - 06:08 PM
Penny S. 15 Jun 99 - 07:02 PM
rich r 15 Jun 99 - 11:53 PM
RWilhelm 16 Jun 99 - 03:40 PM
The_one_and_only_Dai 17 Jun 99 - 07:40 AM
Richard Bridge 17 Jun 99 - 12:08 PM
Melodeon 18 Jun 99 - 04:33 PM
Penny S. 18 Jun 99 - 04:42 PM
Doctor John 19 Jun 99 - 05:05 PM
Penny S. 19 Jun 99 - 08:43 PM
Bert 20 Jun 99 - 10:33 AM
Doctor John 20 Jun 99 - 01:02 PM
Penny S. 20 Jun 99 - 06:06 PM
Ted from Australia 21 Jun 99 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,allan s. 18 Apr 09 - 09:35 AM
GUEST 18 Apr 09 - 10:06 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Apr 09 - 12:32 PM
Girl Friday 18 Apr 09 - 12:36 PM
Herga Kitty 18 Apr 09 - 02:36 PM
oldhippie 18 Apr 09 - 03:41 PM
Matthew Edwards 18 Apr 09 - 04:51 PM
artbrooks 18 Apr 09 - 05:14 PM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 09 - 05:27 PM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 09 - 06:02 PM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 09 - 07:07 PM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 09 - 07:26 PM
Gurney 18 Apr 09 - 07:37 PM
Joe Offer 18 Apr 09 - 08:15 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Apr 09 - 10:20 PM
Girl Friday 19 Apr 09 - 07:48 PM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 09 - 09:16 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 20 Apr 09 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 20 Apr 09 - 04:10 PM
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Subject: The Bastard King of England
From: RWilhelm
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 10:43 AM

Can anyone tell me if "The Bastard King of England" (lyrics in DT) is about a specific king or anything remotely related to actual historical events?


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Bert
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 10:48 AM

William The Conquerer - 1066


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Lesley N.
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 10:56 AM

Gee there were so many that were bastards... But it sounds like a good picture of John. He remains one of the most unpopular kings of England. The reference to Philip's homosexuality (Did he have an affair with Richard Lionheart?) would fit. So would the French invasion (the barons asked Philip's son Prince Louis - later Louis VIII to come to England).

Hopefully someone else will fill in the rest of the details later. This is just speculation for instant gratification.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 11:02 AM

William I was known as 'The Bastard', as he was the illegitimate son of Duke Robert I of Normandy, and Herleve (also known as Arlette), daughter of a tanner in Falaise.

He wasn't known for having a big todger.

We've never had a 'Queen Hortense' either, so I reckon this song is just a bit of fun. If Kipling really did write it, then no wonder the King isn't named - he'd have lorst 'is bleedin' 'ead. And quite right too.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: bigJ
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 05:04 PM

Hey Earl, Keep an ear open for a relatively recent song called 'Bill the Bastard' by Vic Gammon, I think - very funny.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 05:50 PM

Dai, dear, what in the world is a todger, dare I ask?

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 05:53 PM

Now I've read the lyrics, I can only imagine it to be another euphemism for the male appendage?


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Lesley N.
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 06:08 PM

Oops - didn't mean to offend any Brits out there. I should have better said there were lots of ruthless Kings of England who misbehaved from time to time. William I is the only one that was illegitimate.

I still think the tune is more likely about John than William. His love of hunting was legendary. During the baronial wars London went over to the rebels. In a day and age where women were at the mercy of men his sexual appetites were remarked upon - and he didn't always care about consent. (William I was not known as a womanizer). John's third wife was Isabella (but not of Spain) who he stole right out from under the nose of her betrothed - big scandal at the time.... Heck, I can make the song fit...

Of course, one must keep in mind that much of what comes down to us about John was written by his enemies.... But he was probably at least some of the reason there used to be a million (slight exaggeration) Robin Hood ballads.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 07:02 PM

The odd thing about John is that when he called out the fyrd to support him against the French and the barons supporting him, they went. Despite not having a history of responding to Norman kings. The other king with a bad reputation, William Rufus, also had the support of the common people. And there are some nice legal cases in the Pipe Rolls. John used to go round and take over from his judges (not appreciated - he just couldn't delegate). He pardoned a small boy accused of murder because a stone he threw had killed another, and a simpleton who had been induced to confess to a crime he could not have committed.

John was chronicled by a Roger of Wendover, a man before his time, as there was no Murdoch or National Enquirer to employ him, and his tales were elaborated by Matthew Paris. John was written up particularly badly in the 19th century.

He did have a reputation for womanising, but so did many others, and Philip of France, along with brother Richard, had quite a different reputation.

And although Kipling wrote in a wide variety of styles, it doesn't look like him, the language looks more recent, and he would get his history correct.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: rich r
Date: 15 Jun 99 - 11:53 PM

Speaking of Robin Hood, the Disney animated flick contains a cleaned up version of "Bastard King", that one obviously referred to John, the lion hearted.

rich r


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: RWilhelm
Date: 16 Jun 99 - 03:40 PM

Thanks everyone, it looks like John is a pretty good fit. Now if I could only get some info on the Count of Zippity-Zap.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 17 Jun 99 - 07:40 AM

Katlaff: You're quite right, m'dear. I've got no idea where the word came from, but it has the advantage of being universally understood (over here), socially acceptable, and mildly humorous. Maybe it's onomatopoeic as well...


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 17 Jun 99 - 12:08 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but did I just see a reference to a traditional (ish) song which at least in part was about himosexuality (gosh, that was a typing error, but I like it! I suppose I'd better coin hermosexuality as well). One of the blue click experts had better put the cross reference in!


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Melodeon
Date: 18 Jun 99 - 04:33 PM

Having looked at the words in the DT I think that the song is unlikely to be about John who I believe was nether a bastard nor homosexual but Richard. The gayness fits and the French references fit. But he was not a Bastard.

Poor John has had a very bad press. In fact as kings go he was a very good one. His legal lagacy was excellent. He was, however dogged by bad luck. The Elizabethans in their embroidery of the original Robin Hood ballads set the tone for the way John is thought of in modern times. The real "Bastard" king of that era was definately Richard. He did not speak English and only used the country as a means of raising money to finance his wars against the Turks.

Hey! I feel better for that

Melodeon


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Penny S.
Date: 18 Jun 99 - 04:42 PM

Was I feeling alone! Hello Melodeon. The one-time Head of the school where I teach used to say that John was the worst king we ever had, and I used to sit there thinking Richard, Richard, Richard.

Has anyone wondered about the loss of the treasure in the Wash? There he was, attempting to raise an army against the French, with the possibility of doing so with Scandinavians, in the part of the country which still remembered Hereward the Wake, and no-one can recover really heavy stuff when the tide goes out. And it has never been found. I don't believe it. I smell politics. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don't believe it's that easy to lose a wagon train in shallow water, or even mud.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Doctor John
Date: 19 Jun 99 - 05:05 PM

William the Conqueror was the only real bastard - some schoolboy wrote "W the C was a bastard in more ways than one"; equally good is the quote "even his good points were bad ones." John Gillingham's more recent writings on Richard the Lion Heart suggests his homosexuality is a fairly recent myth and in fact the chronicles complain that he used the wives of the barons of Aquitain and then passed them on to his followers. He did have one bastard son. Other homosexual kings were William Rufus (uncertain), Edward ll and William lll. (??) The first two seem to be jolly fellows by all accounts; it depends who wrote the history. I think the song is more akin to Old King Cole than fact. Personally I'd say all the rulers of England were a bunch of bastards in one way or another - except Oliver Cromwell, that is.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Penny S.
Date: 19 Jun 99 - 08:43 PM

I believe Richard II was possibly a homosexual, too. I'm glad that you have suggested it was mythical: I certainly had the impression that the song was not grounded in any sort of historical facts at all, and it struck me as the sort of thing that might be found at a rugby club, an all male place, anyway. Going back up the thread a bit; identifying certain words as acceptable doesn't mean the song is: none of the circles I move in would regard it or the vocabulary as right for mixed company. Or rather, none of the circles since secondary school, where a few pieces of the sort occasionally circulated.

Penny


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Bert
Date: 20 Jun 99 - 10:33 AM

Doctor John,

The Irish would probably not agree with the exclusion of Oliver Cromwell from your list of bastards.

Penny, I have always assumed that someone had heard that William The Conquerer was known as William the Bastard and thought "Ah, now there's a song". Then composed the song from various historical rumours.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Doctor John
Date: 20 Jun 99 - 01:02 PM

Penny, Yes ,the song is listed in volumes of "Rugby Songs". I haven't heard the theory that Richard ll was a homosexual: he certainly had an almost morbid love for his first wife, Anne of Bohemia. Certainly a rather effeminate looking man with no martial skills like many who pre and succeeded him but with many odd character flaws. All King Richards seem to come to a sticky end. Although l and lll are mentioned in the Child Ballads ll is not; does anyone know any ballads about him? Bert, I agree with your comment about Cromwell and the Irish.. Dr John


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 Jun 99 - 06:06 PM

A-Level English study of Richard II, with a bowdlerised form of teaching which could not distinguish the sort of favourites Bushy, Bagot and Green were, from the sort Gaveston was. It's interesting that the former attributed their dangerous position to the commons, and not to the "nobility" which they were not part of. I can't help feeling that they should have had a song about them.

There has, apparently, been some new work on Cromwell in Ireland. Not that he was a noble humanitarian really, but something more consistent with the way he was in England. It was on the radio, I think, so it may not be easy for me to find the reference. Someone's been looking at contemporary records. Should be interesting, whatever it says.

Penny


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Ted from Australia
Date: 21 Jun 99 - 04:04 AM

Cromwell, as far as Ireland was concerned was just a sort of real estate agent, but then again all real estate agents are bastards.:-)
NOI

Regards, Ted.


    Threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: GUEST,allan s.
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 09:35 AM

Anyone know who wrote "The bastard King of England?? From what I have heard it may have been Kipling because he was not made Poet Laurete of England Any ideas??


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 10:06 AM

I heard that he didn't become Poet Laureate because he wrote BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 12:32 PM

Time Magazine printed a brief article on this in 1936, saying his friends denied it. There were other reasons for denying him the honour, and these are noted in the article.

It is not included in his collected works.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,847635-5,00.html


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: Girl Friday
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 12:36 PM

If it was Kipling he hasn't put his name to it. Here's the words as published in The Folksinger's Wordbook compiled By Fred and Irwin Silber (p. 197)


THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND

Oh, the minstrels sing of an English king, of many long years ago,
Who ruled his land with an iron hand, though his morals were weak, and low.
His only outer garment was a dirty undershirt
That managed to hide the royal pride, but never hid the dirt.

CHORUS:
He was wild and woolly, and full of fleas
And he had his women by twos and threes.
God bless the Bastard king of England.

Oh, the Queen of Spain was an amorous Jane, a lascivious wench was she,
Who loved to play in a royal way with the King across the sea.
She often sent a message by royal messenger,
To ask the king to come and spend a night or two with her.

Now, the king he had a rival bold whose name was Philip of France.
Who swore he'd stop this carrying on by the seat of his royal pants.
So off he sent straightway to Spain to steal the Queen away;
And foil the King with a royal ring and all on a summer's day.

When the news of this foul deed was heard within the royal halls.
The King he swore, by the shirt he wore, he'd have his rival's ___neck.
So he sent for the Duke of Zippety-Zap, who had a dose of the clippety-clap,
To pass it on to Philip of France, and all on a summer's day.

So, the Queen grew very wary when she next saw Philip of France,
She decided that the Frenchman had gone and lost his chance.
So then she straightway called our King and offered him her hand,
And the sound of royal wedding bells was heard throughout the land.

They had a royal wedding – all his subjects wished him well,
And the dancers danced without their pants, and so did the king as well.
His only outer garment was a dirty yellow shirt,
With which he tried to hide his hide but he couldn't hide the dirt.


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 02:36 PM

Slightly off-topic, but Vic Gammon wrote his own version...

Now William III was a protestant and Dutchman and James I was a Scot
And George I spoke nothing else but German, what a mixed-up, inter-bred lot.
And William I was a grasping Norman bastard, believe me, it's no lie.
Well there hasn't been an English king of England since Harold got one in the eye.
Singing Rule Britannia, Britannia waives the rules
Kings, Queens, Jacks and Knaves and tyrants, cheats and fools.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: oldhippie
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 03:41 PM

Oscar Brand recorded it, but I am not home to look up the credit on the LP, perhaps someone else could check it.


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 04:51 PM

A rather more complete, and much ruder, version is already in the DT The Bastard King of England, and an earlier thread from 1999 discussing the song and its history can be found above.

If Kipling was the author it must have been on one of his off days; the scansion is too poor and the rhythm too plodding to match his better verse. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907, and would have looked down on any "lesser" honours such as the Laureateship or the Order of Merit, or a mere knighthood! He was a close friend of King George V, and the pallbearers at his funeral included a Prime Minister, a General, an Admiral and a Master of a Cambridge College. Any worldly honours seem superfluous in those circumstances.

The 1936 'Time' magazine article cited above by Q seems very odd in that the quotation attributed to the then Poet Laureate "John Maseneld" [sic] suggests he didn't know Kipling's recent poetry.

Matthew Edwards


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 05:14 PM

There is a PDF scan of a c.1930 chapbook of the song here. The text ends with this comment: Note: The editors wish it distinctly understood that they have been unable to establish that the foregoing lines are from the pen of Rudyard Kipling—in fact, no evidence is available that he has had any part whatsoever in its composition. This would seem, once and for all, to dispose of the persistent report that, but for this ballad, he would today be Poet Laureate of England. This doesn't absolutely guarantee that he wasn't, of course...but people have apparently been debunking the rumor (or rumour, if you prefer) for nearly 80 years!


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Subject: RE: author, bastard king of england Kipling?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 05:27 PM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on the song:

Bastard King of England, The

DESCRIPTION: Philip of France is captured by a "thong on his prong"; when he is dragged to London, all the maids cheer him, for the Frenchman's pride has stretched a yard or more. The bastard king of En-ga-land is usurped.
AUTHOR: Attributed, probably falsely, to Rudyard Kipling
EARLIEST DATE: 1927
KEYWORDS: bawdy disease humorous royalty disease jealousy courting homosexuality marriage sex wedding
FOUND IN: Australia Britain(England) US(So,SW)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Cray, pp. 122-124, "The Bastard King of England" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph-Legman I, pp. 506-509, "The Bastard King of England" (2 texts, 1 tune); II, pp.655-658 (2 texts)
Silber-FSWB, p. 197, "The Bastard King Of England" (1 text)
DT, BSTDKING BSTDKNG2

Roud #8388
RECORDINGS:
Anonymous singer, "The Bastard King of England" (on Unexp1)
Notes: Cray tells us, "As the story goes, Rudyard Kipling wrote 'The Bastard King of England' (pronounced En-ga-land') and that authorship cost him his poet laureate's knighthood. It is too bad that the attribution is apparently spurious; 'The Bastard King' would undoubtedly be Kipling's most popular work."
I'm sure none of you expect a song like this to be historical, but just in case you do, I'm going to prove it wasn't.
To start with a nitpick, there were no bastard kings of England. William the Conqueror (1066-1087) was illegitimate, and was even called "William the Bastard" as Duke of Normandy, but he won the throne of England by conquest, not birth. King Henry VII Tudor (1485-1509) also had questionable blood, but he himself was legitimate; it's just that his father was probably a bastard, and his mother's grandfather (through whom he traced his claim to the throne) was also of doubtful legitimacy. But, again, it hardly matters; Henry held the throne by right of conquest.
If you're looking for really *dirty* English monarchs, the obvious choice is the Hannoverians -- most especially George I (1714-1727). Not only was George incapable of presenting a pleasant appearance, he also was highly sexually active, and put away his wife (for having an affair) at a relatively young age.
Philip of France is only slightly clearer; France had six Kings Philip: Philip I (1060-1108, making him contemporary with William the Conqueror and his sons), Philip II Augustus (1180-1223, who warred with the English kings Henry II, Richard I, and John), Philip III the Bold (1270-1285), Philip IV the Fair (1285-1314, who also warred with England), Philip V (1316-1322), and Philip VI Valois (1328-1350).
This poses some problems. Several of these French kings were involved in wars with the English (notably Philip II, Philip IV, and Philip VI). And Philip IV, in particular, was regarded as the handsomest man in Europe. But it is noteworthy that the last of them died in 1350.
However -- the kingdom of Spain did not even come into existence until the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in the latter half of the fifteenth century. Thus the first Queen of Spain, Isabella, did not ascend until a century after the death of the last Philip of France.
What's more, England and Spain had very few dealings. The only English queen from Spain was Catherine of Aragon (plus Mary I Tudor, who became Queen of Spain by marriage). In addition, Richard I the Lion-hearted married Berengeria of Navarre -- but there is no proof he ever slept with her! - RBW
Paul Stamler proposes to split this song in two, with the second having the following description: "The (unnamed) Bastard King of England is a man of dubious morals and hygiene. The amorous Queen of Spain cavorts with him; Philip of France tries to steal her away. The BKoE sends a duke with the clap to give it to Philip, after which the Queen of Spain dumps Philip and marries the BKoE. At the wedding all dance without their pants."
Paul's notes to this state, "Obviously this is a sibling (fraternal twin?) of 'Bastard King of England (I).' But since the plot elements of (I) don't appear in (II), and vice versa, I've split them. Besides, the other guy comes out on top, so to speak.
"Incidentally, I've assigned the keyword 'homosexuality' because Silber's version, at least, makes it sound like the 'Duke of Zippity-Zap' gives Philip the clap directly rather than through a female intermediary."
I have to think, though, that the differences between the versions are the result of two sorts of rehandling: One to make the English come out ahead of some kind of furriner or other, and the other to clean up the song. After some vacillation, and a glance at the intermediate sorts of texts, I decided to keep the two together. This is one of those songs which invites self-parodying. - RBW, PJS
The recording on "The Unexpurgated Songs of Men" is of the song I consider "Bastard King of England (II)." I suspect this is Silber's source. - PJS
File: EM122

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Roud (click) has a number of entries.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 06:02 PM

Smithsonian Folkways has an album (# FW08707) titled She Was Poor but She Was Honest: Nice, Naughty and Nourishing Songs of the London Music Hall and Pubs, by Derek Lamb. Lamb's album called the song "The Barsted King of England." The lyrics are almost the same as what Girl Friday posted above from the Folksinger's Wordbook, which are also almost the same in the Digital Tradition's Barsted King of England.

Lamb's chorus is just a little bit different:

    He was dirty and lousy and full of fleas,
    But he had his women by twos and threes.
    God bless the Bastard King of England.
Lamb says only that "Barsted" was "a pub song about Richard III" - that's all he says.




At ingeb.org, the chorus changes every time it's sung:
    Oh, the minstrels sing
    Of an English King
    Of many long years ago,
    Who ruled that land
    With an iron hand
    Though his morals were weak and low.
    His only outer garment was a dirty yellow shirt
    With which he tried
    To hide his hide,
    But could not hide the dirt.

          He was dirty and filthy and full of fleas
          But he had his women by twos and threes;
          God bless the bastard king of England.

    Now the Queen of Spain
    Was an amorous dame;
    A lascivious wench was she,
    And longed to play
    In a sexual way
    With the king across the sea.
    So she sent a secret message via royal messenger
    To invite the king
    To an all-night fling
    Of love-making with her.

          He was smelly and lousy and full of fleas
          But his manly tool hung down to his knees;
          God bless the bastard king of England.

    Well, when Philip of France,
    Heard it by chance
    He swore before his court,
    "The Queen, by God,
    Prefers that slob
    Because I'm rather short."
    So he sent the Duke of Suffering Sap
    To give the queen a dose of the clap
    And pass it on to the bastard king of England

          He was fat and gamey and full of fleas
          But well endowed and eager to please;
          God bless the bastard king of England!

    When the King of England heard the news
    He cursed this Gallic farce;
    He up and swore,
    "By the royal whore,
    I'll have King Philip's arse!"
    He offered half the royal purse
    And a piece of Princess Claire
    To any British subject who'd
    Undo Philip the Fair.

          He was pale and paunchy and full of fleas
          But he could spread a maid with practised ease;
          God bless the bastard king of England!

    The Duke of Northumberland
    Jumped on his horse
    And straightaway rode to France.
    He claimed to be a fairy,
    And the king let drop his pants.
    Then he slipped a stout thong
    Around Philip's schlong
    Lept on his horse and galloped along
    And dragged the Frenchman back
    To Merry Old England.

          He was rank and stank and full of fleas
          But a king can indulge in his lecheries;
          God bless the bastard king of England!

    But the King of England saw the sight
    And fell in a faint to the floor,
    For during the ride
    His rival's hide
    Had stretched a yard or more.
    And all the whores
    In their silk drawers
    Came down to London Town
    And shouted round the battlements,
    "To Hell with the British Crown!"
    So Philip alone
    Usurped the throne;
    His scepter was his royal bone
    With which he ditched
    The bastard king of England.

          He was dirty and filthy and full of fleas
          But he had his women by twos and threes;
          God bless the bastard king of England.

    -Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 07:07 PM

Deckman posted this in a thread about Haywire Mac, but it is almost exactly the same as the Frank Crumit sheet music I posted below. So, was Crumit the original source? Was "Bastard King" a parody of "Borneo"?

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD: King of Borneo (Frank Crumit, 1929)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 07:26 PM

And one more, sheet music found at the National Library of Australia.

KING OF BORNEO
(words & music by Frank Crumit, 1929)

Oh, the minstrels sing of a Borneo King, ten thousand years ago,
Who ruled his land with an iron hand, this royal So and so.
He loved to chase the bounding stag, within the royal wood,
He was also fond of applejack, and the ladies did him good.

Oh, a neighboring queen was a gay colleen, oh a gay colleen was she.
She loved to play in a kittenish way, with the king across the sea.
So she sent a special message, by a royal messenger,
To ask the king to come and spend a week or two with her.

King Borneo old had a rival bold whose name was King Katchoo,
He swore he'd stop this wedding 'cause he craved the lady too,
So he sent the Duke of Durham, to steal the Queen away,
And foil the King with a diamond ring, all on a summer's day.

When the news of this foul deed was heard within old Borneo's home,
The King he swore by the shirt he wore, he'd have his rival's dome.
So he sent the Count of Asthma, who was sneezing very bad,
To go and pay the King a call, and give him what he had.

The Queen grew very wary, when she heard him cough and sneeze,
She decided that old King Katchoo, was a Royal hunk of cheese.
So she hurried back to Borneo, and gave the King her hand,
And the strains of Hiawatha, were played by the royal band.

They had a royal wedding, all his subjects wished him well.
The dancers danced and the horses pranced, Oh! mister it was swell,
Old King Katchoo, in his bungaloo, he heard the strains of jazz,
The royal pair passed by him there, and gave him the royal razz.


Copyright 1929 by Southern Music Publishing Company, Inc.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Gurney
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 07:37 PM

Way up there, Dai said the word todger "might be onomatopoetic as well."
The only one I've ever heard of, even vaguely, was the village idiot in The Ball of Kirremuir. (sp?)


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Subject: ADD Version: The Bastard King of England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 08:15 PM

The earliest version I found was from Immortalia (1927):

THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND
RUDYARD KIPLING

Oh, the bards they sing of an English King
Who lived long years ago;
And he ruled his land with an iron hand,
But his mind was weak and low.
He was used to hunt the royal stag
Within his royal wood,
But 'twas none but knew that his greatest sport
Was pulling his royal pud.

And his nether garb was a woolen shirt
Which used to hide his hide;
But this undershirt couldn't hide the dirt
That no one could abide.
He was wild and wooly and full of fleas
That humans ne'er could stand;
And his terrible dong to his knees hung down—
The Bastard King of England!

Now the Queen of Spain was an amorous dame,
A sprightly dame was she,
And she longed to fool with his Majesty's tool
So far across the sea.
So she sent a note to the dirty King
By her royal messenger,
And requested his Majesty's sailing to Spain
To spend a month with her.

But when Philip of France got the news one day,
He turned to all his court
And he said, "My fair Queen prefers this clown
Because my tool is short."
So he sends abroad Marquis Siphylissap,
Who smacked of fairyland,
To supply the Queen with a dose of clap
To trap our Dear Old England.

Then the news of this filthy deed was heard
In Windsor's merry halls,
And the King did swear he would have anon
The Frenchman's greasy balls.
So he offered the half of all his lands,
And the whole of Queen Hortense,
To the trusty lord of his English court
Who'd nut the King of France.

So the loyal Duke of Essexshire
Betook himself to France;
When he swore he was a fruiter the King
Took down his royal pants:
Then around his prong he tied a thong
And gaily galloped along
'Til at last in Windsor's merry halls,
Was the Frenchman and his dong.

And the King threw up, and he shit his pants;
For in the lengthy ride
The thong had stretched by a yard or more
The fucking Frenchman's pride.
And then all the ladies of London town
Who saw the mighty stand
Cried aloud, "To hell with the English Crown,"
And made Philip King of England.


Note that Immortalia does attribute the song to Kipling. Cray says the tune is kin to "Irish Washerwoman." It also scans to "Star of the County Down." Don't think I'll add it to my repertoire...

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Apr 09 - 10:20 PM

Interesting material. Thanks, Joe.

Kipling's works have always been favorites of mine; the song doesn't seem to fit either Kipling's style or character.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Girl Friday
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 07:48 PM

Sorry Joe - Can't even countenance that rudyard Kipling should write anything so crude. Now, the version that I posted - that may possibly have been. The scansion is bad in both.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Bastard King of England
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 09 - 09:16 PM

Oh, Girl Friday, I don't believe the attribution to Kipling, either - but that's what it says in bold print in Immortalia (1927). Ed Cray says the version in Immortalia was the earliest he found - Cray said nothing about the 1929 Frank Crummit version, but I have to think that somehow it's earlier than the bawdy song. The version in Cray's Erotic Music is very similar to the version in Immortalia but it has a chorus - and a tune. Here 'tis:

THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND

Oh, the minstrels sing of an English king
Who lived long years ago,
And he ruled his land with an iron hand,
But his mind was weak and low.
He used to hunt the royal stag
Within the royal wood,
But better than this he loved the bliss,
Of pulling his royal pud.

Chorus:
He was dirty and lousy and full of fleas.
His terrible tool hung to his knees.
God save the bastard king of England.

Now the Queen of Spain was an amorous dame
A sprightly dame was she,
And she longed to fool with his majesty's tool
So far across the sea.
So she sent a royal message
With a royal messenger
Inviting the king to bring his ding
And spend the week with her.

When news of this reached Philip of France,
He swore before his court,
"The queen prefers my rival
Just because my dork is short."
So he sent the Duke of Zippity-Zap
To slip the queen a dose of clap
To pass it on to the bastard King of England.

When news of this foul, dastardly deed
Reached fair Windsor Hail,
The king swore by the royal whore
He'd have the Frenchman's balls.
So he offered half his kingdom
And the hole of Queen Hortense
To any loyal Briton
Who would nut the King of France.

So the loyal Duke of Essexshire
Betook himself to France.
When he swore he was a fruitier,
The king took down his royal pants.
Then around his prong he tied a thong,
Leaped on his horse and galloped along,
Dragging the Frenchman
Back to England.

Now the king threw up his breakfast
And he shit all over the floor,
For during the ride, the Frenchman's pride
Had stretched a yard or more.
And all the maids of England
Came down to London town,
And shouted 'round the battlements,
"To hell with the British crown."

Last Chorus:
So the King of France usurped the throne.
His sceptre was his royal bone.
Hail to the bastard
King of England.


Source: The Erotic Muse (Ed Cray, 1992), pp. 122-124

Also in Cray's Bawdy Ballads [click for a kick] (1970), pp. 37-39

Cary's notes:

    It's really a very good story; backstairs gossip about palace intrigue is always interesting. As the story goes, Rudyard Kipling wrote "The Bastard King of England" (pronounced "En-ga-land") and that authorship cost him the poet laureate's knighthood. It is too bad that the attribution is apparently spurious; "The Bastard King" would undoubtedly be Kipling's most popular work.

Click to Play


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 05:21 AM

""Personally I'd say all the rulers of England were a bunch of bastards in one way or another - except Oliver Cromwell, that is.""

You might like to spend a little time re-considering that comment.

If Ollie the Puritan had had his way, you would not now be discussing a song on the Mudcat Forum............

NEITHER WOULD NOW EXIST!

Don T.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 04:10 PM

Given the lusty appetites and royal proclivities of the times in which they ruled, it might be an easier quest to find which of the royal families of Europe and England did NOT merit a bar sinister across the family escutcheon. My Stuart forbears had their share, I'm quite certain.
I do vote for John, by the way.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Acorn4
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 05:53 PM

Declaring someone a bastard was a political weapon in the Middle Ages -thus Richard lll declared that his own brother, Edward lV was illegitimate and the son of an archer, not of his supposed father the Duke of York. Henry Vlll had his own daughter Mary pronounced illegitimate on marrying Anne Boleyn.

The song sounds like a pastiche of several different scenarios, but is rather fascinating.


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Subject: RE: The Bastard King of England
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Apr 09 - 08:18 PM

Several first-hand sources attest to the singing of "The BK" in the American army in France in 1917-18.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: Lighter
Date: 26 Feb 11 - 04:29 PM

Pedants will enjoy the likelihood that the author was strongly influenced - in part - by Leigh Hunt's long famous literary ballad, "The Glove and the Lions," first published in the _New Monthly Magazine_ (London)(May, 1836), p. 40:



King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day as his lions fought, sat looking on the court;
The nobles filled the benches, and the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he sighed:
And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valour and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.

Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;
With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another;
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."

De Lorge's love o'erheard the King, a beauteous lively dame
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same;
She thought, the Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;
King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.

She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:
The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"By God!" said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat:
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."



Note the similar rhymes, the tone, the form ("septenarius couplets" they're called in the biz), the internal rhymes, the cast (a king, a count, a troublemaking "dame"), etc.

Right. There are differences too. But the similarities, in so small a space, seem to be beyond coincidence.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: LadyJean
Date: 26 Feb 11 - 07:26 PM

Young Rudyard published a quasi improper poem, "The Sergeant's Wedding" with the chorus, "Cheer for the sergeant's wedding. Give him on cheer more! Gray gun horses in the landau! And the rogue is married to an etc."

Etcetera doesn't rhyme with more, of course. But Victorians wouldn't print the word that does. Leslie Fish recorded it, to a nice catchy tune, with the original lyrics. Rogue is replaced with bastard in her version.

Even the bowdlerized version is a lovely, wicked little poem. It has a subtlety that the Bastard King of England lacks.

I was told that Rudyard Kipling wasn't made poet laureate because he called Queen Victoria a fat old lady, which of course she was.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: GUEST,Dave
Date: 26 Feb 15 - 03:48 AM

See also "The Bastard of Normandy", sung by (probably amongst others) the vastly underrated Janet Jones on Sing to me Lady. Janet Jones is from Yorkshire of course, and William's actions in around 1069 in that part of the country gives added meaning, in addition his undoubted irregular parentage.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: EBarnacle
Date: 26 Feb 15 - 02:17 PM

If you would like an analysis of John Lackland, read "The Greatest Knight." I also recommend "The Plantagenets" and "the Tudors" by Jones. These three books carry a fairly concise summary of English royal history up through Elizabeth I. "The Greatest Knight" is about William Marshall [Earl Marshall in the ballads?] who served 5 English kings, through Henry III.
Henry VII's father was legitimate. See The Tudors.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: Joe_F
Date: 26 Feb 15 - 06:19 PM

I agree with the judicious majority (for once!) that is skeptical of claims the Kipling wrote the song. One need only compare it, for rhythmic agility & versimilitude, with Kipling's approach to naughtiness mentioned by LadyJean. One might also mention "The Shut-Eye Sentry", which contains the sly line "There was me he kissed in the sentry-box, which I have not told in my tale" (God, was I drunk last night!).

OTOH, the popular story that Ogden Nash wrote "Four Prominent Bastards" is perfectly true. You have to look at the evidence.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: Mrrzy
Date: 27 Feb 15 - 12:09 AM

I knew that song in the movie my kids called Robin Hood the Fox (in contrast to Robin Hood the Man, with Errol Flynn) reminded me of something!


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: kendall
Date: 27 Feb 15 - 04:35 PM

Some of my relatives invaded England with William the Conqueror.If he was born on the wrong side of the blanket, who cares?


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 28 Feb 15 - 04:49 AM

Mine too. I never cease to give thanks for all the wealth, power and influence that has cascaded down to me through the centuries.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Bastard King of England
From: Joe_F
Date: 28 Feb 15 - 02:24 PM

That should be "...have not told in my *song*". Apologies to Mr Kipling for spoiling his rhyme.


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