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Lyr Req: The March of Intellect (Oliver Goldsmith?

In Mudcat MIDIs:
The March of Intellect (from More Irish Street Ballads, by Colm O Lachlainn (1965). Tune also used for "The Night Before Larry Was Stretched.")


GUEST,ruairiobroin 17 Sep 10 - 03:12 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 10 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,^&* 17 Sep 10 - 05:00 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 10 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,ruairiobroin 18 Sep 10 - 02:32 PM
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Subject: The March of Intellect lyrics anybody?
From: GUEST,ruairiobroin
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 03:12 PM

Had various copies of both O'Lochlans Street Ballads over the years and on the basis that they were reasonably available, gave them away and now am trying to find the words to the March of Intellect. Any help would be greatly appreciated


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Subject: ADD: The March of Intellect
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 04:53 PM

&cHi - a Google Search brings up several instances of the song. Here's the version from Noctes ambrosianæ, Volume 2 (No. XXIII, Dec. 1825, revised and collected in 1863), pp 147-148

THE MARCH OF INTELLECT—A NEW SONG.*
(Theodore Hook?? - Oliver Goldsmith????)
Tune, "Through all the Employments of Life."

Oh! Learning's a very fine thing,
   As also is wisdom and knowledge,
For a man is as great as a king,
   If he has but the airs of a college.
And now-a-days all must admit,
   In Learning we're wondrously (wonderful) favor'd.
For you scarce o'er your window can spit,
   But some learned man is beslaver'd!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c
(Sing tol de rol ol de rol ay)

We'll all of us shortly be doom'd
   To part with our plain understanding,
For Intellect now has assumed
   An attitude truly commanding !
All ranks are so dreadfully wise,
   Common sense is set quite at defiance,
And the child for its porridge that cries,
   Must cry in the language of Science.
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c

The Weaver it surely becomes
   To talk of his web's involution,
For doubtless the hero of thrums
   Is a member of some institution;
He speaks of supply and demand,
   With the airs (ease) of a great legislator,
And almost can tell you off-hand
   That the smaller is less than the greater!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c

The Tailor, in cutting his cloth,
   Will speak of the true conic section,
And no tailor is now such a Goth
   But he talks of his trade's genuflection!
If you laugh at his bandy-legg'd clan,
   He calls it unhandsome detraction,
And cocks up his chin like a man,
   Though we know that he's only a fraction!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c

The Blacksmith 'midst cinders and smoke,
   Whose visage is one of the dimmest,
His furnace profoundly will poke,
   With the air of a practical chemist;
Poor Vulcan has recently got
   A lingo that's almost historic,
And can tell you that iron is hot,
   Because it is filled with caloric!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, , &c

The Mason, in book-learned tone,
   Describes in the very best grammar
The resistance that dwells in the stone,
   And the power that resides in the hammer,
For the son of the trowel and hod
   Looks as big as the Frog in the Fable
While he talks in a jargon as odd
   As his brethren the builders of Babel!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c

The Cobbler who sits at your gate
   Now pensively points his hog's bristle,
Though the very same cobbler of late
   O'er his work used to sing and to whistle;
But cobbling's a paltry pursuit
   For a man of polite education—
His works may be trod under foot,
   Yet he's one of the Lords of Creation!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c

Oh! learning's a very fine thing!
   It almost is treason (It is almost treason) to doubt it—
Yet many of whom I could sing,
   Perhaps might be as well without it!
And without it my days I will pass,
   For to me it was ne'er worth a dollar,
And I don't wish to look like an Ass
   By trying to talk like a Scholar!
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c

Let schoolmasters bother their brains
   In their dry and their musty vocation;
But what can the rest of us gain
   By meddling with such botheration?
We cannot be very far wrong,
   If we live like our fathers before us,
Whose Learning went round in the (a) song,
   And whose cares were dispelled in the Chorus,
Sing, tol de rol lol, &c, &c, &c


1863 edition note, which is not in the 1825 edition: *This, I believe, was written by Theodore Hook.—M.
O'Locllainn has different punctuation but almost the same lyrics - the variants in O'Lochlainn are shown in parentheses.
The tune (from O Lochlainn) sounds very much like that of "The Night Before Larry Was Stretched."

Click to play


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Subject: RE: The March of Intellect lyrics anybody?
From: GUEST,^&*
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 05:00 PM

O'Lochlainn argues that it was written by the Irish poet Oliver Goldsmith.


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Subject: RE: The March of Intellect lyrics anybody?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 10 - 05:43 PM

The earliest online source I found was The Port folio, dated 1810, which cites its source as Blackwood's Magazine.

In More Irish Street Ballads (1965), O'Lochlainn claims this as his greatest literary 'find.' O'Lochlainn says he found the song "in one of a number of crudely printed song books issued in Dublin in the first decade of the last century." O'Lochlainn attributes the song to Goldsmith because the language and humor parallel that of Goldsmith in other works.

But no, O'Lochlainn did not find a copy of these lyrics signed by Goldsmith.

See also the thread titled The March of Intellect in the Butchering Line, a completely different song.

-Joe-
The tune (from O Lochlainn) is also used for "The Night Before Larry Was Stretched."

Click to play


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song. I'm glad to see that the Ballad Index also has reservations about O Lochlainn's attribution of the song to Goldsmith:

    March of Intellect, The

    DESCRIPTION: "Let schoolmasters bother their brain In their dry and their musty vocation; But what can the rest of us gain By meddling with such botheration?" Examples of people that work very well without esoteric knowledge: must the tailor know Conic Sections?
    AUTHOR: Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) ? (attribution by O Lochlainn in OLochlainn-More)
    EARLIEST DATE: 1802 (printed by Hicks, according to OLochlainn-More)
    KEYWORDS: commerce humorous nonballad
    FOUND IN: Ireland
    REFERENCES (1 citation):
    OLochlainn-More 52, "The March of Intellect" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Notes: O Lochlainn's attribution to Oliver Goldsmith is difficult to assess. I'm fairly sure that the song he refers to is Tony Lumpkin's song from Act I of She Stoops to Conquer, beginning
    Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain
    With grammar, and nonsense, and learning;
    Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
    Gives genus a better discerning....
    But the song simply calls for drink and roast fowl -- no conic sections mentioned. Did the song go into oral tradition and get modified? If so, why are there no other mentions? Or was it written somewhere along the way, perhaps by the printer Hicks?
    If Oliver Goldsmith did write this, it may have been a sarcastic comment on his own experience; Barnhart and Halsey's The New Century Handbook of English Literature (revised edition, 1967) comments of him that his career was "a record of almost unbroken failure in everything that he tried to reach by study or effort: he tried law, medicine, the church, and teaching, and failed in all of them; the only thing he succeeded in was literature, which he did not study and for which he had no technical preparation."
    The Handbook adds that "Facts meant little to him." - RBW
    File: OLcM052

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: The March of Intellect lyrics anybody?
From: GUEST,ruairiobroin
Date: 18 Sep 10 - 02:32 PM

Gentle folk I am in your debt Thank you very much


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