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Lyr Add: The Pauper's Drive (Thomas Noel)

Jim Dixon 10 Nov 08 - 09:57 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PAUPER'S DRIVE (Thomas Noel)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 09:57 AM

This poem is in the DT (minus one verse) with a tune written by Mike Ballantyne, who submitted it. It hasn't been recorded as far as I know.

The poem has been included in many anthologies. Joyce alluded to it in Ulysses. Some books refer to it as a "song" but I have failed to find any music to go with it (earlier than the 1975 tune by Ballantyne). Ballantyne's tune strikes me as too dirge-like—maybe only because the tempo of the MIDI file is too slow—and therefore not appropriate for a song that is rife with irony.

The notes in the DT entry are incorrect (or out of date) in saying "only two poems of [Noel's] were known." Google Book Search found a whole volume:

Noel, T. Rymes and Roundelayes. London: Smith, 1841.

T[homas] Noel

1. THERE'S a grim one-horse hearse in a jolly round trot;
To the churchyard a pauper is going, I wot;
The road it is rough, and the hearse has no springs,
And hark to the dirge that the sad driver sings:—

CHORUS: "Rattle his bones over the stones;
He's only a Pauper, whom nobody owns!"

2. Oh, where are the mourners? alas! there are none;—
He has left not a gap in the world now he's gone;
Not a tear in the eye of child, woman, or man;—
To the grave with his carcase as fast as you can;

3. What a jolting and creaking, and splashing and din!
The whip, how it cracks! and the wheels how they spin!
How the dirt, right and left, o'er the hedges is hurl'd!
The Pauper at length makes a noise in the world!

4. Poor Pauper defunct! he has made some approach
To gentility, now that he's stretch'd in a coach;
He's taking a drive in his carriage at last;
But it will not be long, if he goes on so fast!

5. You bumpkin! who stare at your brother convey'd,
Behold what respect to a cloddy is paid,
And be joyful to think, when by death you're laid low,
You've a chance to the grave like a gemman to go.

6. But a truce to this strain,—for my soul, it is sad,
To think that a heart in humanity clad,
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end,
And depart from the light without leaving a friend!

LAST CHORUS: Bear softly his bones over the stones;
Though a Pauper, he's one whom his Maker yet owns!

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