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Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher

Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 08 - 07:02 AM
Spleen Cringe 31 Dec 08 - 07:08 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 08 - 07:28 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM
Spleen Cringe 31 Dec 08 - 09:11 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 08 - 09:16 AM
Jack Blandiver 31 Dec 08 - 09:24 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 08 - 09:42 AM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM
Les in Chorlton 31 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM
BB 31 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 08 - 05:53 PM
Susanne (skw) 02 Jan 09 - 06:51 PM
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Subject: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 07:02 AM

The earliest printed version appeared in York about 1775.

So I believe, any other info on this song?

L in C


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 07:08 AM

Dunno, Les, but the cheese is fantastic...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 07:28 AM

Mmmmmmmmmmm, I think that cheesy joke will cost you a song or two next Wednesday Nigel.

I got lost in the archive but have since found lots of references. Most have little or nothing to do with it or it's origins.

Was it ever collected in the field? All the printed versions seem identical.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 09:04 AM

Just Googled Lincolnshire Poacher - cheese, magazines and This, which I found particularly fascinating.

So what's the fare on Wednesday then? Cheese, fruitcake, vicious mustards, starry-gazey pie, tongue sandwiches, blood puddings and potted hough... We'll bring our own candles, and incense (Prinknash of course), though I suggest we make this year's sacrifice symbolic - or virtual - who could have believed such a wee bird as a robin could have so much blood in it? I will weave something suitable out of cornstalks, or else create one using the CGI programme I got for Xmas.

I've just this minute created a CGI animation of myself singing Auld Lang Syne - uploading it onto You Tube as I write...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 09:11 AM

Talking of stargazy pie...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 09:16 AM

"Cheese, fruitcake, vicious mustards, starry-gazey pie, tongue sandwiches, blood puddings and potted hough... "

land a pint of warm Mild Landlord if you will!

I would go for a Wren but they are aggressive little devils and we might have trouble with Health and Safety. I will just remind people of the trouble we had with that dog with the diamonte collar.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 09:24 AM

The Wee Man!

Has he been back since, I wonder?

I do the ballad of The Wee Wee man (Child 38). Maybe I'll do it next week.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 09:42 AM

Well, he comes to our back garden just to scar cats, squirrels and burglar types, so I am keeping well away. I think Child 38 would sound a happy return for you both.

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:35 AM

To return for a moment to the song.

The well known 'standard' form has been transmitted via print rather than tradition, so the collectors of the early C20 tended to ignore it; they weren't looking for that sort of thing. Nevertheless, it was noted in variant forms by Alfred Williams, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Cecil Sharp and others, localised to Somerset, Northamptonshire and Lancashire among other places. There are a number of mid C19 broadside editions to be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads; most are set in Northamptonshire, though Lincolnshire isn't far behind. One mentions Nottinghamshire instead.

[The Bold] Poacher[s] or My delight on a shiny night

Localised to 'Zummersetshire', it appeared, with the tune familiar today, in Davidson's Universal Melodist (1847). I don't know if the putative broadside of c.1766 survives, but the following comments from C19 collections provide reasonable background information:

'This song is rather too well known among the peasantry. A friend informed me, twenty years ago [c. 1835], that he had heard it sung by several hundred voices together, at Windsor, on the occasion of one of the harvest-homes of King George IV.'

William Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time, II, 1859, 732-3.

'This very old ditty has been transformed into the dialects of Somersetshire, Northamptonshire, and Leicestershire; but it properly belongs to Lincolnshire. Nor is this the only liberty that has been taken with it. The original tune is that of a Lancashire air, well known as The Manchester Angel; but a florid modern tune has been substituted. The Lincolnshire Poacher was a favourite ditty with George IV., and it is said that he often had it sung for his amusement by a band of Berkshire ploughmen. He also commanded it to be sung at his harvest-homes, but we believe it was always on such occasions sung to the 'playhouse tune,' and not to the genuine music. It is often very difficult to trace the locality of countrymen's songs, in consequence of the licence adopted by printers of changing the names of places to suit their own neighbourhoods; but there is no such difficulty about The Lincolnshire Poacher. The oldest copy we have seen, printed at York about 1776, reads 'Lincolnshire,' and it is only in very modern copies that the venue is removed to other counties. In the Somersetshire version the local vernacular is skilfully substituted for that of the original; but the deception may, nevertheless, be very easily detected.'

James H Dixon, revised and expanded by Robert Bell, Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England. London: John W Parker & Son, 1857.

'W. T. Montcrieff, in his "Original Collection of Songs," London 1850, says of this song, "The writer first heard the old part of this song sung at a small roadside public-house in the little village of Lillishall, Warwickshire (Lillishall, Shropshire, I presume), and was so pleased with the humour and melody of it, that he was induced to add half-a-dozen new verses to it."
Montcrieff introduced it to public notice. It is only accidentally that folk songs have thus been taken up and given popularity.
If it had not been accepted in a music-hall, it would have been unnoticed.'

Sabine Baring-Gould, English Minstrelsie: A National Monument of English Song. Edinburgh : T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1895, ii (notes, 'The Gallant Poacher').

Baring-Gould printed more-or-less the 'standard' version. William Gibbs Thomas Moncrieff (1794–1857; born William Thomas Thomas) was a prolific writer of plays and songs for the London stage and pleasure gardens. His re-write of the song, set in 'Zomersetshire', appeared in his play Van Diemen's Land: or, Tasmania in 1818 (c. 1829; the printed edition was published in 1831).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:46 PM

Thanks Malcolm, it certainly has some history. I think I learned it at primary school, as I guess lots of us did. I find:

I was bound apprentice in famous Manchester......

fits rather well

Cheers

Les in Chorlton


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: BB
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 02:03 PM

Welcome back, Malcolm! Oh, how we missed you! (Big grin!) Hope you're feeling much better.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 05:53 PM

From Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857)

'Tom was nearest to the keeper,
and that officer, who was getting angry at the chaff, fixed his
eyes on our hero, as if to take a note of him for future use.
Tom returned his gaze with a steady stare, and then broke into a
laugh, and struck into the middle of a favourite School-house
song, -


"As I and my companions
Were setting of a snare
The gamekeeper was watching us;
For him we did not care:
For we can wrestle and fight, my boys,
And jump out anywhere.
For it's my delight of a likely night,
In the season of the year."


The chorus was taken up by the other boys with shouts of
laughter, and the keeper turned away with a grunt, but evidently
bent on mischief. The boys thought no more of the matter.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lincolnshire Poacher
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 06:51 PM

An interesting opinion from a Scottish memoir:

[1988:] There was no point in going out [poaching pheasants] on a clear frosty night, because then the inevitably rustling and clackling as one approached their roost gave warning, and they would take off into the clear sky. No, there was no point about 'My delight on a shiny night' and whoever wrote that song was certainly no poacher. A good poacher had to know his ground so well that he had no need of a shiny night. The ideal is a dark and stormy night [...]. (Archie Cameron, Bare Feet and Tackety Boots. A Boyhood on Rhum. Luath Press, Barr, p 161)


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