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Lyr Add: Mullholland's Contract (Rudyard Kipling)

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A PRESENT FROM THE GENTLEMEN
ENGLAND HAS TAKEN ME
ENGLAND SWINGS
GENTLEMEN-RANKERS
OAK, ASH, AND THORN
THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND
THE FRENCH WARS
THE LADIES
THE SONG OF THE BANJO
THE YOUNG BRITISH SOLDIER
WHEN 'OMER SMOTE 'IS BLOOMIN' LYRE


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Charley Noble 07 Nov 11 - 01:18 PM
Charmion 07 Nov 11 - 02:28 PM
Charley Noble 07 Nov 11 - 04:29 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: MULHOLLAND'S CONTRACT (Rudyard Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 01:18 PM

This is a favorite Kipling poem of my mother's and I've been looking for more songs about domestic animals at sea. This one seems to work well to a traditional blues tune such as Staggerlee (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12to line up chords):

As adapted for singing by Charlie Ipcar, 11/6/11
By Rudyard Kipling, © 1894
Tune: traditional blues

Mulholland's Contract-2

G-----------------------------------------C----G-----------G7
The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the sea,
----------C-----------------------------------------------------------------G
An' the pens broke up on the low-er deck an' let the creatures free --
------------D--------------------------D7-------------------C--------------------G
Then the lights went out as the cattle lowed, with no one down but me.

An' I'd been singin' all night long just to keep them quiet there,
For the lower deck has its dangers, requirin' constant care,
An' given to me as the strongest man, though I used to drink and swear.

I saw my chance was certain sure of bein' horned or trod,
For that deck was packed with cattle, thicker then peas in a pod,
An' more pens broke at every roll -- so I made a Contract with God.

An' by the terms of that Contract, as I have read the same,
If He got me back to port alive I would exalt His Name,
An' praise His Holy Majesty till further orders came.

He saved me from the cattle, an' He saved me from the sea,
For they found me 'tween two drowned ones where the roll had landed me --
With a four-inch crack on top of my head, as crazy as could be.

That crack was done by a stanchion, not by a bullock at all,
An' I lay still for seven weeks, convalessing of the fall,
An' readin' them shiny Scripture texts in the Seaman's Hospital.

Then I spoke to God of our Contract, an' He answer'd to me fair:
"I never puts on My ministers no more than they can bear;
So go you back to them cattle-boats an' preach My Gospel there.

"For human life's a chancy thing at any kind of trade,
But most of all, as well you know, when the steers are mad-afraid;
So go you back to them cattle-boats an' preach 'em as I've say'd.

"They must quit their drinkin' an' swearin', no knifing at a blow,
An' they must quit their gamblin', an' you must preach it so;
For them cattle-boats are more like Hell than anyplace I know."

Now I didn't want to do it, for I knew what I would get,
An' I wanted to preach Religion, handsome an' out of the wet,
But the Word of the Lord was laid on me, an' I done what I was set.

So I've been smit an' bruised, as I knew would be the case,
But I turned my cheek to the smiter exactly as Scripture says;
An' followin' that, I knocked him down an' led him up to Grace.

Now we've got preaching on Sundays, whenever the sea is calm,
An' I use no knife or pistol an' I never takes no harm,
For the Lord abideth back of me to guide my fightin' arm.

An' I sign for four-pound-ten a month and save the money clear,
An' I'm in charge of the lower deck, an' I never lose a steer;
An' I believe in Almighty God, an' preach His Gospel here.

The skippers say I'm crazy, but I can prove 'em wrong,
For I'm in charge of the lower deck with all that doth belong --
Which they would not give to a lunatic, with the competition so strong!

By Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Mulholland's Contract (original)

The fear was on the cattle, for the gale was on the sea,
An' the pens broke up on the lower deck an' let the creatures free --
An' the lights went out on the lower deck, an' no one near but me.

I had been singin' to them to keep them quiet there,
For the lower deck is the dangerousest, requirin' constant care,
An' give to me as the strongest man, though used to drink and swear.

I see my chance was certain of bein' horned or trod,
For the lower deck was packed with steers thicker 'n peas in a pod,
An' more pens broke at every roll -- so I made a Contract with God.

An' by the terms of the Contract, as I have read the same,
If He got me to port alive I would exalt His Name,
An' praise His Holy Majesty till further orders came.

He saved me from the cattle an' He saved me from the sea,
For they found me 'tween two drownded ones where the roll had landed me --
An' a four-inch crack on top of my head, as crazy as could be.

But that were done by a stanchion, an' not by a bullock at all,
An' I lay still for seven weeks convalessing of the fall,
An' readin' the shiny Scripture texts in the Seaman's Hospital.

An' I spoke to God of our Contract, an' He says to my prayer:
"I never puts on My ministers no more than they can bear.
So back you go to the cattle-boats an' preach My Gospel there.

"For human life is chancy at any kind of trade,
But most of all, as well you know, when the steers are mad-afraid;
So you go back to the cattle-boats an' preach 'em as I've said.

"They must quit drinkin' an' swearin', they mustn't knife on a blow,
They must quit gamblin' their wages, and you must preach it so;
For now those boats are more like Hell than anything else I know."

I didn't want to do it, for I knew what I should get,
An' I wanted to preach Religion, handsome an' out of the wet,
But the Word of the Lord were lain on me, an' I done what I was set.

I have been smit an' bruised, as warned would be the case,
An' turned my cheek to the smiter exactly as Scripture says;
But following that, I knocked him down an' led him up to Grace.

An' we have preaching on Sundays whenever the sea is calm,
An' I use no knife or pistol an' I never take no harm,
For the Lord abideth back of me to guide my fighting arm.

An' I sign for four-pound-ten a month and save the money clear,
An' I am in charge of the lower deck, an' I never lose a steer;
An' I believe in Almighty God an' preach His Gospel here.

The skippers say I'm crazy, but I can prove 'em wrong,
For I am in charge of the lower deck with all that doth belong --
Which they would not give to a lunatic, and the competition so strong!

Notes:

First published in 1894, republished in The Seven Seas, by Rudyard Kipling, © 1896, p. 88.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mullholland's Contract (Kipling)
From: Charmion
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 02:28 PM

Thanks, Charley. I've read a power of Kipling, but this one is new to me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mullholland's Contract (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Nov 11 - 04:29 PM

It's certainly one of those poems which has to be based on someone's story. I can't imagine anyone, even Kipling, coming up with this one on his own.

You got to love this verse:

I have been smit an' bruised, as warned would be the case,
An' turned my cheek to the smiter exactly as Scripture says;
But following that, I knocked him down an' led him up to Grace.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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