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Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'

Sanjay Sircar 22 Jan 13 - 06:03 PM
GUEST,999 22 Jan 13 - 06:19 PM
Sanjay Sircar 22 Jan 13 - 08:42 PM
Mo the caller 23 Jan 13 - 09:38 AM
Mo the caller 23 Jan 13 - 09:40 AM
Charmion 23 Jan 13 - 03:14 PM
Sanjay Sircar 23 Jan 13 - 06:38 PM
Artful Codger 23 Jan 13 - 08:36 PM
Sanjay Sircar 23 Jan 13 - 11:41 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 06:03 PM

The following was set to music, and I saw it in a collection (not of "children's songs) in the 1980s. I have tried Worldcat, but cannot find anything there. thank you. Sanjay Sircar

In Laura E Richards, In My Nursery. Boston: Little, Brown © 1890, p. 88 (originally in St Nicholas, frequently anthologised):

AN OLD RAT'S TALE.

He was a rat, and she was a rat,
And down in one hole they did dwell.
And each was as black as your Sunday hat,
And they loved one another well.

He had a tail, and she had a tail;
Both long and curling and fine.
And each said, "My love's is the finest tail
In the world, excepting mine!"

He smelt the cheese, and she smelt the cheese,
And they both pronounced it good;
And both remarked it would greatly add
To the charms of their daily food.

So he ventured out and she ventured out;
And I saw them go with pain.
But what them befell I never can tell,
For they never came back again.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: GUEST,999
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 06:19 PM

http://www.worldcat.org/title/old-rats-tale-humorous-part-song-for-mens-voices/oclc/223148916


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 22 Jan 13 - 08:42 PM

Thank you. I am after a citation, not for the part-song arrangement of "An Old Rat's Tale", but for the straight text and melody line, in a collection of songs, probably post 1970, pre 1990. I cannot seem to find it on Worldcat.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 09:38 AM

I don't know anything about the tune, but the poem was recited to us by one of my Junior school teachers in 1952/3 (I can date it because I remember which teacher).

The same teacher taught us

A flea and a fly in a flue
Were wondering what they should do
Said the flea 'let us fly'
Said the fly 'let us flea'
So the flew through a flaw in the flue.

Also Lord Allens Daughter which we recited with storm noises that another teacher described as 'sucking ice-creams'.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 09:40 AM

Why are spelling mistakes instantly visible while waiting for Submit to work?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Charmion
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 03:14 PM

Murphy's Law of Editing


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 06:38 PM

I grin grimly as such gremlin typos manifest themselves when it is too late. I did my best, I whisper plaintively...

"An Old Rat's tale" was one of the few US poems to become standard in the UK and then the Colonies, and get into textbooks which lingered on in he ex-Colonies (which is how we came to it). presemably because Richards's sensibilities, her taste for the faux-antique/quaint/whimsical/Learlike-nonsensical/Potterlike-anthropomorphised animal etc. accorded seamlessly with Englishy ones... You will find on the worldwideweb the nice (American-ish?) (folklike?) memory-substitution of "as black as a witches' hat" for "your Sunday hat"... An American academic said on a listserv a decade or so ago, when I spoke of it there, that it was a parody of Poe's "Annabel Lee", because of the first line, but I cannot decide.

We too did "Lord Ullin's Daughter" ni school, about which, in university, a teacher said, "Well, yes: it does have a certain cheap Romantic appeal". very kindof him. E Nesbit's Dicky has a parody of its lines: "Come back, come back!"/he cried in Greek/Across this stormywater/And I'll forgive your Highland cheek,/My daughter, oh my daughter!"

But SURELY, with all the international scholarly expertise on this form about finding things in songbooks, SOMEBODY knows how to find a reprint of "An Old Rat's Tale" from a collection in which it is not presented as a part-song??? It is most likely by the same composer as the part-song. There were other good things in that songbook, too. I kick myself not taking down the bibl. details when I saw it. Do spread the word on the search.

Sanjay Sircar


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Artful Codger
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 08:36 PM

I found that it had been set to music by 1898 by a J.F. Bridge, but found no score--not that I looked very far.

Are all the poems in In My Nursery by Laura Richards, or was she just the compiler/editor? Wherever I found the poem, no author was attributed.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: 'An Old Rat's Tale':'He was a rat &...'
From: Sanjay Sircar
Date: 23 Jan 13 - 11:41 PM

@ Artful Codger: Yes, Laura E Richards is the author (not editor/compiler) of everything in _In My Nursery_. Her name might have dropped off when tat poem entered school textbooks, though.

The World Cat listing above of the part-song, kindly provided by Guest 999 has the same J F Bridge as composer (though he seems to have gone by "Sir Frederick Bridge"). Here it is:

Named Person:        Laura E Richards
Document Type:        Musical Score
All Authors / Contributors: Frederick Bridge, Sir; Laura E Richards
Find more information about:   
OCLC Number:        223148916
Notes:        Caption title.
For chorus (ATTB) and piano.
Description:        1 score (7 p.) ; 27 cm.
Series Title:        Orpheus, no. 237.
Responsibility:        music composed by J. Frederick Bridge ; words written by Laura E. Richards.

But I am after the NON-part song form, which does exist in a collection, for I saw it with my own eyes.

Sanjay Sircar


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