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Lyr Add: Father William (Lewis Carroll)

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Nigel Parsons 08 Sep 09 - 08:02 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Sep 09 - 08:16 PM
Bill D 08 Sep 09 - 08:16 PM
Leadfingers 08 Sep 09 - 08:23 PM
Snuffy 10 Sep 09 - 03:52 AM
Splott Man 10 Sep 09 - 04:02 AM
Nigel Parsons 10 Sep 09 - 07:48 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: FATHER WILLIAM (Lewis Carroll)
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 08:02 PM

Whilst the words of this poem have been quoted here before, there does not appear to be an associated tune.
I was walking on the Isle of Wight when my wife pointed out to me that I was no longer quite as young as I had been! This poem (learnt in school) then occurred to me, together with a rhythm from our walking. I decided it would fit well with "Rolling Down to old Maui", but with a need to repeat the second four lines of each verse as a chorus.
I decided to use it at the BBC club last night. It was purely coincidence that the Daily Telegraph printed a cartoon of Gordon Brown ("and yet you incessantly stand on your head") on the same day.

As it turned out, I sang it with repeats of the last 4 lines for verses 1 to 3, but an allargando on the second four lines of verse 4 to bring it to a close.

FATHER WILLIAM.

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head.
Do you think at your age it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain,
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back sommersault in at the door.
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment—one shilling the box.
Allow me to sell you a couple."

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet,
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak,
Pray how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife,
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth. "One would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever,
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose.
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions and that is enough,"
Said his father. "Don't give yourself airs.
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!"

From Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD MAN'S COMFORTS AND HOW HE GAINED
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 08:16 PM

in college I learned that Lewis Carroll liked to parody mealy-mouthed poetry. His 'Father William' was a response to Robert Southey's poem, as follows:


THE OLD MAN'S COMFORTS AND HOW HE GAINED THEM.

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,
"The few locks that are left you are grey:
You are hale, father William, a hearty old man:
Now tell me the reason, I pray."

"In the days of my youth," father William replied,
"I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abus'd not my health and my vigour at first,
That I never might need them at last."

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,
"And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone:
Now tell me the reason, I pray."

"In the days of my youth," father William replied,
"I remembered that youth could not last;
I thought of the future whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past."

"You are old, father William," the young man cried,
"And life must be hast'ning away;
You are cheerful and love to converse upon death;
Now tell me reason, I pray."

"I am cheerful, young man," father William replied,
"Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember'd my God,
And he hath not forgotten my age."

Robert Southey.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Are Old Father William
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 08:16 PM

amazing! The tune DOES fit. I never even considered singing the poem, although, I once DID stand on my head as folks recited it (my name IS William) ...on my 50th birthday.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Are Old Father William
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 08:23 PM

Nice One Nige !! NO Promises but I WILL look into stealing the idea !v


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Father William (Lewis Carroll)
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 03:52 AM

Nigel,

Another song that fits to the Maui tune if you repeat the last 4 lines is C Fox Smith's Limehouse Lass. So you should be able to use Dave Webber's LL tune "neat" without repeating any lines.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Father William (Lewis Carroll)
From: Splott Man
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 04:02 AM

Nigel, you left your folder at Llantrisant club last night, I've got it safe till we meet again.

Splottie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Father William (Lewis Carroll)
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Sep 09 - 07:48 AM

Thanks Ned, I hadn't missed it yet!


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