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Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain

DigiTrad:
FATHOM THE BOWL


Related threads:
Origins: Fathom the Bowl (57)
Lyr Add: The Punch Ladle (12)
Lyr Req: song about punch ladle / Fathom the Bowl (19)


GUEST,loftypeak 25 Aug 11 - 03:34 PM
Hesk 25 Aug 11 - 05:06 PM
Artful Codger 25 Aug 11 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Bill S from Adelaide 25 Aug 11 - 11:55 PM
Snuffy 26 Aug 11 - 06:47 AM
doc.tom 26 Aug 11 - 07:28 AM
Hesk 26 Aug 11 - 09:56 AM
Dead Horse 26 Aug 11 - 09:56 AM
GUEST,loftypeak 26 Aug 11 - 12:57 PM
Artful Codger 26 Aug 11 - 03:42 PM
greg stephens 27 Aug 11 - 11:15 AM
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Subject: Clear crystal fountain
From: GUEST,loftypeak
Date: 25 Aug 11 - 03:34 PM

Have been looking for 'pub' songs with good choruses, this seems a good candidate. Can I ask a question that was originally posed in December 1999, but not answered at that time, does anyone know what the references to the 'clear crystal fountain' are about. Have never sung in a pub before, booked for mid-October, I like to know the background of the songs that I sing when possible. I wonder if the line is just 'padding'.


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle
From: Hesk
Date: 25 Aug 11 - 05:06 PM

In "The Wanton Seed", "a clear crystal fountain" is said to refer to winter storms, hence "over England shall roll".
Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 Aug 11 - 05:53 PM

For what it's worth, links to some previous threads on the song, just to tie things together:

Lyr Add: The Punch Ladle: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=104197

Lyr Add: Fathom the Bowl - minor changes: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=15756

Lyr Req: song about punch ladle / Fathom the Bowl: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=36974

DigiTrad entry: http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=1968


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: GUEST,Bill S from Adelaide
Date: 25 Aug 11 - 11:55 PM

My father he do lie in the depths of the sea
No stone at his head but what matter to he
Though the sharks have his body, the Lord has his soul
Give me the punch ladle, I'll fathom the bowl

Where did that come from?


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 06:47 AM

Looks like an adaptation of the line found in several shanties and sea songs (Boston Harbour for one):

The sharks'll have his body, and the devil have his soul


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: doc.tom
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 07:28 AM

At Brendon on Exmoor, in the 1880s, according to John Lock's handwritten mss of his songs, the text went (with his veracular spelling!):

O my father he lies at the bottom of the sea
Cold stones for his pillow what matters to me
Here a clear christol fountain through old England doth flow
Bring me the punchladel I'll fill you the bool.


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: Hesk
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 09:56 AM

Learnt by ear, in Hampshire, UK:-

Me Father he do lie in the depths of the sea,
With no stone at his head, but what matters for he,
It's the clear crystal fountain, near (oe'r) England shall roll.
Give me the punch ladle, and I'll fathom the bowl.


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: Dead Horse
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 09:56 AM

I always assumed it was a reference to the flow of smuggled brandy etc that would be served in the finest chrystal goblets & decanters.
In other words, the stuff being smuggled ended up in the finest houses and was therefore semi legitimate.


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: GUEST,loftypeak
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 12:57 PM

Yes Hesk, I couldn't quite see why it should 'roll', so your analysis makes sense. I also like the flow of smuggled brandy. My version of the words has the fountain 'near Ireland' just to confuse things further. However I'm grateful for all your inputs, at least I can make some comment now if asked. Cheers


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: Artful Codger
Date: 26 Aug 11 - 03:42 PM

Added to which, the crystal fountain line often occurs in the first verse as well (or instead), the one mentioning brandy, rum, oranges and lemons coming into England.

FWIW, since storms often "roll in" or "roll over" an area, I don't understand why this verb should raise an eyebrow in connection with the storm interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Fathom the bowl/Punch ladle-clear crystal fountain
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Aug 11 - 11:15 AM

Surely the "crystal fountain" just refers to the punch(and other drinks) whose pleasures roll over the country. The phrase"crystal fountain" refers in literary circles to the life giving waters that sprang from the rock of Horeb when Moses gave it a whack in the book of Exodus. The writer of the song is comparing the action of the punch ladle to that of Moses' staff.


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