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Lyr Add: The Female Smuggler


Artful Codger 11 Nov 09 - 11:13 PM
Charley Noble 12 Nov 09 - 07:56 AM
Willa 12 Nov 09 - 11:48 AM
Artful Codger 12 Nov 09 - 06:36 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Female Smuggler
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 11:13 PM

A version of this song is already in the DigiTrad, but I ran across a couple older ones at the Bodley ballads site; a transcription of one follows, with printing errors largely uncorrected.

Tune[:] the Gallant [S]oldier.
Pitts Printer and Toy Warehouse 6, Great st. andrew-street, Seven [Di]als

Come list awhile, and you soon shall hear,
By the rolling sea lived a maiden fair,
Her father followed the smuggling trade,
Like a warlike hero that never was afraid,

In sailor's cloathing young Jane did go
Drest like a sailor from top to toe
Her aged father was the only care,
Of that female smuggler who never did despair

With her pistols loaded she went on board,
By her side hung a glittering sword,
In her belt two daggers--well arm'd for war
Was the female Smuggler who never fear'd a scar.

Not far they sailed from the land,
When a strange sail put them all to a stand,
Those are sea robbers the maid did cry,
The Female Smuggler will conquer or die.

Close alongside these two vessels came,
Cheer up said Jane, we'll board the same.
We'll run all chances to rise or fall,
Cried the Female smuggler, sho never fear'd a ball

They beat the robbers and took their store,
And soon returned to England's shore,
With a cag of brandy she walked along,
Did the Female Smuggler, and sweetly sung a song;

Not far she travelled before she espied,
A Commodore of the blockade,
He said--surrender, or you must fall,
But the Female Smuggler said I never feared a ball.

What do you mean? said the Commodore,
I mean to fight for my father's poor,
Then she pulled the trigger and shot him through
Did the Female Smuggler, and to her father flew,

But she was followed by the blockade,
In irons strong they put this fair maid,
But when they brought her for to be tried
The young female smuggler stood dressed like a bride.

The Commodore against her appeared,
His health restored, and from danger cleared
But when he found to his great surprise,
'Twas a female Smuggler had fought him in disguise

He to the judge and Jury said,
My heart won't let me prosecute this maid,
Pardon I beg for her on my knee,
She's a valiant maiden, so pardon if you please,

If you pardon this maid--said the gentleman,
To maker her my bride now is my plan
Then I'd be happy for evermore,
With my female Smuggler, said the bold Commodore.

Then the Commodore to her father went,
Though he was poor--to ask his consent,
He gained consent, so the Commodore
And the Female Smuggler are joined for evermore.

Harding B 11(1191); between 1819 and 1844.

As for the tune citation, the Bodley site also has versions of "The Gallant Soldier", a song now more commonly called "Mary and the [Gallant] Soldier". YouTubes has a number of clips of this, the least rocked-out being of Loreena McKennitt.

I believe the source for the DigiTrad version was Shay's More Pious Friends... (1928; i.e. a later collection than that cited in the posting). The song appeared earlier in earlier collections as well, such as Ashton's Modern Street Ballads (1888; see Google Books). Robert Blatchford, in The Nunquam Papers (1895), asserted that this song provided the thematic basis for one of Gilbert's Bab ballads, though he didn't indicate which.

Charlie Noble posted his version of "The Female Smuggler" in this thread.

The dating for "The Female Smuggler" (and consequently "The Gallant Soldier") is narrowed slightly by a reference to it in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1839, by which time it was already a popular ballad.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Female Smuggler
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 07:56 AM


That's certainly the most complete version I've ever seen. My own was worked up combining what John Ashton had printed in REAL-SAILOR SONGS (1891) with W.B. Whall's SEA SONGS AND SHANTIES (1910).

It's amazing how "love" can bring such people together.

Charley Noble

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Female Smuggler
From: Willa
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 11:48 AM

Jo Freya sings her amended version of this, and we sang it with Janet Russell at the Darlington workshop weekend.Great fun!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Female Smuggler
From: Artful Codger
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 06:36 PM

Well, I'm tempted to extend the song, by having her sue for divorce on the grounds of (purported) mistreatment and infidelity, setting herself up right royally in society without the encumbrance of an old fool for a husband. Women had few advantages, but a woman as cunning and audacious as she would surely have exploited them to the full.

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