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How many miles to Dublin?

Ray C 09 Jan 10 - 02:11 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Jan 10 - 02:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jan 10 - 02:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jan 10 - 02:58 PM
RobbieWilson 09 Jan 10 - 03:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jan 10 - 03:06 PM
MartinRyan 10 Jan 10 - 11:28 AM
MartinRyan 10 Jan 10 - 11:39 AM
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Subject: How many miles to Dublin?
From: Ray C
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 02:11 PM

My father, whose parents came from Skerries, would bounce babies on his knee while singing:
"Up jup little horse, up jup again
Many miles to Dublin
Three score and ten"

In Ulysses, James Joyce writes these words:
"How many miles to Dublin?
Three score and ten, sir.
Will we get there by candle light?"

Does anyone know the name of this song or anything about it?


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 02:38 PM

Seems to derive from nursery rhyme "How many miles to Babylon?", which likewise specifies 3=score & 10, and also contains the 'candle-light' question. Good entries in Wiki & in the Opies' Ox Dict of Nursery Rhymes [#26]. The Opies suggest that Babylon might be a corruption of Babyland — tho some religious or Biblical input seems likely to me also. 'Dublin', in both above variants, also has quite a strong assonantal relationship to 'Babylon', hasn't it?


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 02:43 PM

How many miles to Babylon?
Three-score and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, and back again.
If your heels are nimble and light,
You may get there by candle-light.

Iona and Peter Opie, 1955, The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book

London, etc. used as the town. More later.


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 02:58 PM

The game, and its rhyme, is fairly old, and widely known in UK, Ireland, U. S., etc.

1849, Gentleman's Magazine
How many miles to Hebron ?
Three score and ten.
Shall I be there by midnight ?
Yes, and back again.
---------------------
How many miles to Banbury Cross?
Three score and ten.
Shall we get there by midnight?
Yes, if you run well.
Then open your gates as wide as the sky,
And let King Georger and his men pass by.
It is so dark we cannot see, so thread the needle, Nancy,
One, two, three.
Warwick; from Alice B. Gomme, 1894-1898, vol. 1, (1984 ed.), The Traditional Games of England, Scotland and Ireland, Thames and Hudson.


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 03:01 PM

I wouldn't start from here


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jan 10 - 03:06 PM

A little more:
1805, Songs from the Nursery, is the oldest known.

"Sam Henry was of the opinion that the original text...referred to "Babyland," with Babylon as a corruption. Gomme, however, has nineteen texts .... and seven refer to Babylon, three to Banbury, a couple of others to variants on Bethlehem, a few to London, and none to Babyland." Traditional Ballads Index.
There is one referring to Glasgow.


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:28 AM

Several Irish versions - including some in Irish, so to speak. Think there's an earlier thread about it. I'll have a look.

Regards


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Subject: RE: How many miles to Dublin?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Jan 10 - 11:39 AM

Click here for an earlier thread.

Regards


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