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Lyr Add: Shabby Genteel (Harry Clifton)

DigiTrad:
LANIGAN'S BALL
PADDLE MY OWN CANOE


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In Mudcat MIDIs:
Shabby Genteel [Harry Clifton]
Shabby Genteel [lyrics by Harry Clifton, Tune by Gus Williams]


Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 03:25 PM
Artful Codger 11 Jun 10 - 03:34 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jun 10 - 09:52 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Shabby Genteel (Harry Clifton)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:25 PM

A song by the music hall performer Harry Clifton.


SHABBY GENTEEL
   Harry Clifton [1866]

        1
We have heard it asserted a dozen time o'er
   That a man may be happy in rags,
That a prince is no more, in his carriage and four,
   Than a pauper who tramps on the flags.
As I chance to be neither, I cannot describe
   How a prince or a pauper may feel.
I belong to that highly respectable tribe,
   Which is known as the Shabby Genteel.

        Chorus.
Too proud to beg, too honest to steal,
I know what it is to be wanting a meal.
My tatters and rags, I try to conceal,
I'm one of the Shabby Genteel.

        2
I'm a party, in fact, who has known better days,
   But their glory is faded and gone;
I have started in life in a lot of odd ways,
   But have not found the way to get on.
There are only three roads, I'm afraid, that are left:
   I shall have to beg, borrow, or steal.
Yet I don't quite encourage the notion of theft,
   Tho' I'm awfully Shabby Genteel.

        3
I am dress'd in my best, tho' I cannot pretend
   That my costume is quite comme il faut,
You'll observe that my watch has been left with a friend,
   And my gloves are unfitted for show.
There are traces of wear on my elbows and knees,
   And my boots have run down at the heels*                [heel]
But it's cruel to criticise matters like these
   When a man has grown Shabby Genteel.

        4
Still I strive* to be cheerful in all my distress,        [try]
   And I bear my bad luck like a man,
If I can't have my way as to feeding or dress,
   I must still do the best that I can.
And remember, good people, that Fortune some day,
   By a turn of her treacherous wheel,
May reduce one of you in the very same way
   To the level of Shabby Genteel.


Source: Scans at the California Sheet Music Project.
https://sherlock.ischool.berkeley.edu/sheet_music/
Published by M. Gray, 105 Kearny St., San Francisco, ca. 1875-8. Plate #: M.G. 1269 (11283.3)

I've compared the text against an earlier broadside, online at the Bodleian Library ballads site, which is probably closer to the source. Differences in wording are noted. The tune is presumably that composed or adapted by Clifton.


ABC transcription of the melody:

X:1
T:Shabby Genteel
C:Harry Clifton. [1866]
S:Sheet music published by M. Gray, San Francisco [1875-8]. M.G. 1269
%%MIDI program 1 69
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=56
K:Bb
F/ F/ | F D E F G F | G F D B2 B/ B/ | B A D E A> G |
w: We have heard it as-sert-ed a doz-en times o'er That a man may be hap-py in
F3-F z F/ F/ | F D E F G F | G F D B2 B/ B/ |
w: rags,_ That a prince is no more, in his car-riage and four, Than a
A B c B A G | F3-F z F// F/ | F E D E A G |
w: pau-per who tramps on the flags._ As I chance to be nei-ther, I
G F E D2 F/ F/ | G G G G c B | A3-A z F/ F/ |
w: can-not de-scribe How a prince or a pau-per may feel._ I be-
B A B c B G | G F D F2 F/ F/ | G A B c A F | B3-B2 z ||
w: long to that high-ly re-spect-a-ble tribe, Which is known as the Shab-by Gen-teel._]
%
%    Chorus.
M:3/4
L:1/4
Q:1/4=132
"^Chorus." F G A c2 B | A G> e | G2 G | A B c | d d> c |
w: Too proud to beg, too hon-est to steal, I know what it is to be
c B> G | F2 F | F G A | c2 B | A G> e |
w: want-ing a meal. My tat-ters and rags, I try to con-
G2 G | A B c | F F c | B3- | B z z |]
w: ceal, I'm one of the Shab-by Gen-teel._


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: Tune Add: Shabby Genteel (HC and Gus Williams)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Jun 10 - 03:34 PM

The Lester S. Levy Collection has a version of this song with the same lyrics but a different setting, composed by Gus Williams, a later American variety stage performer and compatriot of Tony Pastor. Gus is now best known for writing "See That My Grave's Kept Green", a song recorded by the Carter Family.

Here is an ABC transcription of Gus's melody:

X:2
T:Shabby Genteel
C:Music by Gus Williams, arr. by John Blum. Words by Harry Clifton.
S:Sheet music published by White, Smith & Perry, Boston.
N:In the Lester S. Levy collection: Box 134, Item 102.
N:The music is not that originally written for the song.
%%MIDI program 1 69
M:3/4
L:1/4
Q:1/4=112
K:C
(G/G/) | G e> e | e d c | B A A | A z B/ c/ |
w: We've_ heard it as-ser-ted a doz-en times o'er That a
d ^c d | G e> d | c3- | c z G/ G/ | G e> e |
w: man may be hap-py in rags;_ That a Prince is no
e d c | B A A | A z B/ c/ | d ^c d | G e> d |
w: more in his car-riage and four Than the pau-per who treads on the
c3- | c z B/ c/ | d ^c d | e d B | A ^G A | e z e/ e/ |
w: flags;_ As I chance to be nei-ther, I can-not much tell, How a
e A B | c e> d | B3- | B z B/ c/ | d ^c d | e d B |
w: prince or a pau-per may feel._ I be-long to that high-ly re-
A ^G A | e z e/ e/ | d c B | c B A | G z z | z z ||
w: spect-a-ble class Which is known as the shab-by gen-teel.
%
%    Chorus.
"^Chorus." e | e2 ^d | e2 d | d c f | A2 c | c B c |
w: Too proud to beg, too hon-est to steal, I know what it
d c d | e c A | G z e | e< e ^d | e2 d | d c f |
w: is to be want-ing a meal; My tat-ters, and rags I try to con-
HA2 d/ e/ | e Hz A/ A/ | B/ e Hz d | c3- | c z z |]
w: ceal, I be-long to the shab-by gen-teel._


Source: The Lester S. Levy Collection, Box 134, Item 102
Sheet music: Shabby Genteel. Gus Williams Songs.
Words by Harry Clifton.
Music by Gus Williams ["The American Star Comique."] Arr. by John Blum.
Boston: White, Smith & Perry, 298 & 300 Washington St; 1870; s/n 170.


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shabby Genteel (Harry Clifton)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jun 10 - 09:52 PM

MIDI files from Artful Codger posted.
-Joe-


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