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Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee

Haruo 20 Aug 12 - 04:43 PM
Haruo 20 Aug 12 - 04:44 PM
Charley Noble 20 Aug 12 - 05:27 PM
Haruo 20 Aug 12 - 07:00 PM
Nigel Parsons 21 Aug 12 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 21 Aug 12 - 07:43 AM
Sailor Ron 21 Aug 12 - 10:21 AM
Haruo 21 Aug 12 - 11:22 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Haruo
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 04:43 PM

The following was just posted on Ishmailites, a Melville-studies Google group I moderate. I have a query in there for tune and attribution.

Haruo

-----

Dear Listmates,

      In honor of all the John Ushants who manned our warships in the War of 1812, the USS Constitution sailed a short voyage yesterday, under her own power. There's a photo on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal.
    One incident in her story of the battle with the Guerriere is seldom mentioned:

Oh listen to a story the British would like to shelve
Of the good ship Constitution in the War of 1812.
Brave Isaac Hull, her captain, was not a slender chap.
His belly was too big to sit a wench upon his lap.

When our frigate's timbers bounced away the enemy's round shot,
"Her sides are made of iron!' cheered Hull--but his uniform was not.
As he leaned far over the railing to defy the Guerriere,
His britches split from stem to stern and exposed his derriere.

Right then the British surrendered. They hauled their colors down.
Hull took his prisoners safe aboard, and sailed for Boston town.
So here's to our hero Isaac Hull, wherever his soul may be.
He won the day the American Way, when he mooned the king's navee.

                                                          Regards, Normie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Haruo
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 04:44 PM

I provided the title, using the end of the song because the first half-line seemed too generically nondescript.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 05:27 PM

Haruo-

Well, Isaac Hull, as I recall, was a portly fella. Nice to have such verses in tribute to him.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Haruo
Date: 20 Aug 12 - 07:00 PM

I didn't know Old Ironsides had "her own power"; I thought she borrowed from the wind.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 05:45 AM

Haruo:
I'm guessing that "the USS Constitution sailed a short voyage yesterday, under her own power." refers to sailing without benefit of help (no tug etc.) rather than under power.

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 07:43 AM

Well, "moon" as a verb is a recent innovation. Webster gives the earliest use as 1836, meaning to dream or spend time in idle reverie.

But the dictionary doesn't give a date for the "moon" use as flashing the derriere. (The Constitution and the Derriere???)

I'm betting that slang usage isn't older the 1960s. I first heard it used in connection with Jim Morrison of the Doors, and that was late 1960s. I didn't hear it in connection with the occasional dropping of the drawers (the term then common) to flash people during college days in the late 1950s.

So I think the song above has to be a post-1960 composition. To me its imitation of older phraseology sounds like common parlance of the 1980s or later. "Shelve" in this sense, for example ... "the American way" ... and so on.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 10:21 AM

When the Queen Mary left New York on her final voyage, it was reported
[though not in the press but throughout the MN].that scores of stewards "mooned" at all the folk ashore. Don't know the date though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: When He Mooned the King's Navee
From: Haruo
Date: 21 Aug 12 - 11:22 AM

Yes, actually the guy who posted it on Ishmailites, who is apparently named Alvin Hass but goes by "Normie", has confessed to authorship. He also says he has a tune for it, as yet undisclosed. Others have suggested "Wabash Cannonball". I agree that "moon" is anachronistic here. The date is not known but it's probably extremely recent, maybe even written yesterday or the day before. What about the historicity of the incident?


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