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Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman

Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jun 13 - 03:21 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jun 13 - 03:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jun 13 - 03:40 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Jun 13 - 05:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 08 Jun 13 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Jun 13 - 09:08 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 13 - 09:34 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 13 - 09:39 AM
GUEST 09 Jun 13 - 10:35 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 13 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Jun 13 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Jun 13 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Grishka 09 Jun 13 - 12:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jun 13 - 12:35 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 13 - 01:35 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Jun 13 - 01:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jun 13 - 03:41 PM
IanC 10 Jun 13 - 03:58 AM
GUEST,Grishka 10 Jun 13 - 04:25 AM
IanC 10 Jun 13 - 04:44 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Jun 13 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,Eliza 10 Jun 13 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Eliza 10 Jun 13 - 01:17 PM
Dave Ruch 10 Jun 13 - 01:21 PM
Jim Dixon 14 Jun 13 - 09:59 AM
IanC 14 Jun 13 - 10:53 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 03:21 PM

Lyr. Add: The Jolly Thresherman
(17th C. ballad, coll. VA 1908)

1
As I was a travelling all on a summer's day,
I met a jolly thresherman all on the highway;
Wiyh his flail all o'er his shoulder and a bottle full of beer,
He was as happy as a squire with ten thousand a year.
2
Says I to this jolly thresherman,"And how do you do
To support your wife and children as well as you do?
Your family is so great and your wages are so small.
I scarce know how you do to maintain them at all."
3
"Sometimes I reap, and sometimes I mow;
A hedging, or a ditching sometimes I do go.
Oh! there's nothing goes amiss with me, a wagon or a plow,
For I earn my money by the sweat of my brow.
4
"When I come in at night, wet and weary as I be,
The youngest of my children I dandle on my knee.
While the others they come round me with their sweet prattling noise;
Oh! that is the pleasure a poor man enjoys."
5
Well, since you are so kind and loving to your wife,
Here's a thousand acres of good land, I'll give it for your life;
I'll will it forever to you and your dear."

Shortened versions like this one are known from VA, NJ, Arkansas, and NC.

G. L. Kittredge, "Ballads and Songs," JAFL 30, no. 117, 1917, pp. 354-355.
A 17th C. blackletter ballad, original some 17 verses. Burns contributed a text to the 1792 edition of Johnson's Museum. In Roxburghe (3:308), Pepys, etc.

Compare "The Thrasher," Charles Dibdin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 03:23 PM

Title variously spelled "thresherman" and "thrasherman" in the song variants, the former is correct.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 03:40 PM

The Thresherman
Coll. NC, 1923

1
As I rode out a-hunting, a-hunting one day,
I met a jolly thrasher all on the highway.
With a staff upon his shoulder and a bottle of good beer
He was as happy as a lord with a thousand pounds a year.
2
"O thrasher, jolly thrasher, come tell to me now
How you maintain your family with only one cow.
Your family it is large and your wages they are small,
And how you maintain them I know not at all."
3
"Sometimes a-hedging, a-ditching I go,
Sometimes I reap and other times I mow,
Other times I follow the barrow and the plow.
I earn all my money by the sweat of my brow.
4
When I go home at night just as tired as I can be,
I take the youngest child and I dangle him on my knee,
The other ones around me with their racket and their noise;
And that's all the comfort a poor man enjoys."

Frank C. Brown Coll. North Carolina Folklore, vol. 3, Folk Songs from North Carolina, ed. H. M. Belden and A. P. Hudson, no. 58, pp. 89-90.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 05:19 PM

The ballad is well-known and sung even today in Yorkshire. It must surely be in the DT.

It is Roud 19 and the Brooksby version of about 1685 is on the Bodleian site at Don. B13 (70)

My Master Title is 'The Nobleman and the Thresherman'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 08 Jun 13 - 07:37 PM

Not found in a search of the DT (Searched Jolly..., Thresherman, The J T., The T...

I couldn't find hide nor hair of this old song in mudcat, which seems most peculiar. Is it hiding in a place I haven't looked?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 09:08 AM

The above verse 5, somewhat crippled, indicates that there is a missing part, in which the former thresher, when bequeathed a thousand acres of good land, starts to feel like a "squire", cheat his wife and thrash his children. Eventually his family leaves him, and his life is ruined (hence "for your life" - as the Devil says "for your soul"). The bottom line is "you see how hard it is to be a nobleman or squire".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 09:34 AM

Whilst you are no doubt right to be cynical, Grishka, the 17thc version ends quite happily for all, unless you have a copy of a sequel! Yes, it is cloud cuckoo land for any century, but cloud cuckoo land sells.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 09:39 AM

Q,
The Nobleman and the Thresher is in there in the DT, the Wanton Seed version with a midi and score, but no historical notes as far as I can see. Plenty of British versions but very few American ones. It features in quite a few currently available album collections of traditional singers.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 10:35 AM

Tune?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 11:28 AM

Try www.yorkshirefolksong.net and click on the song The Nobleman and the Thresherman. This Yorkshire version sung by Frank Hinchliffe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 11:47 AM

The tune as given here is quite interesting in the way it treats the minor key.

Steve, I took the hint from the spelling "thrasherman", and from my own experience: I know a case where (apparent) family happiness was ruined by a lottery win. A "cynical" view can be taken both ways. Let's see how the folk process will continue.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 12:11 PM

The dialectics of wealth, happiness, and cynicism are of course topics of great philosophers such as Diogenes of Sinope and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The latter was particularly noted for giving away all his wealth to his relatives, whom he did not really like. When asked why he did not give it to the poor, he argued that the rich would less likely be harmed by even more money.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 12:26 PM

The Mudcat script is another mystery of life, restricting the power of linking for ordinary GUESTs, to keep them away from harm. Here is Diogenes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 12:35 PM

"The Nobleman and the Thresher" indeed is in the DT, but must be found under "The Nobleman....", not under "Thresher(man)."
It does not seem to be in "A Traditional Ballad Index," or if it is, under a name other than Thresher(man) or Noble(man).

The version collected by Sharp is listed in library.efdss.org. and the song is listed as "The Jolly Thresher" in the folk music index. It also is in Sam Henry.

I could not find a copy at the Bodleian under "Noble(man)" or "Thresher(man). It should be there, but what title?

Link to an early (extended) copy would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 01:35 PM

Q
The Bodl version is titled 'The Nobleman's Generous kindness'. I'm pretty useless at blue clickys. The first line in most broadside versions from the 17th to the 19th centuries is 'A Nobleman lived in a village of late.'

There are numerous Bodleian versions
Harding B11 (1300)
       B11 (3638)
       B15 (311b)
       B16 (258b)
       B25 (761) but these are all 19thc.
The Brooksby copy is on Bodleian under the reference already given, also in Roxburghe Vol 7 Pt 2, p329 and in Pepys Vol 2, p56.

There's also a copy in Dixon p148 and repeated in Bell, p98. (Ancient Poems Ballads and Songs) but collated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 01:35 PM

I should add a lot of the 19th century versions call it 'The Squire and Thrasher'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jun 13 - 03:41 PM

The copies in the Bodleian mentioned by Steve are under the titles, "Generous Gift" (Harding 11(1300), an extended version, and "Squire and Thrasher," shortened to six verses or so.

There does not seem to be a mudcat thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: IanC
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 03:58 AM

Q

If spelling follows prununciation, you should know that Threshing is "Thrashing" in the eastern counties of England. To Thresh is, anyway, only to thrash.

I'd imagine either spelling should be acceptable.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 04:25 AM

According to my dictionaries, also online etymological dictionaries, both spellings were considered synonymous until the 19th century, when the "e" spelling specialized on agricultural purposes. As a consequence, "thrash" became associated with aggressiveness. (The books do not mention pronunciation.)

The above Wittgenstein thrashed his pupils while believing to serve the common good as a meek village teacher. Neither he nor Diogenes enjoyed a happy social life - there are other preconditions for that than just lack of excessive wealth.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: IanC
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 04:44 AM

My dad once told nme that thrashing sugar beet was the worst job he'd ever had.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 01:06 PM

In the wheat belt here in Canada, I often heard "thrashing."

IanC- The sugar beet industry here in Alberta is important. This may interest you.

After WW2, Germans came to Canada; some, at least, required to work in the agricultural field. One was a German trained in engineering. Assigned to work in the sugar beet fields, the work was hard and foreign to him, as he had never worked with his hands, and he had been an officer in the German army during the War.
He knew English, and made his credentials known to the beet administrators, and was
eventually taken out of the fields and became an advisor to the company. After he gained his Canadian citizenship, he was hired by an oil company and became a seismologist in their exploration and development section. He was a good friend of mine.

How many Germans came to Canada and were required to work in the agricultural field?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 01:13 PM

Here in Norfolk UK they say "All the way ter Swaaaaaffham fer three days' troooooooooshing and all fer noooooothing." So troshing is also used.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 01:17 PM

Forgot to add that a very common parting remark is "Dew yew keep a-troshing!". People here say it all the time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 01:21 PM

Marjorie Lansing Porter collected a version of this in northern NY in 1952.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE NOBLEMAN'S GENEROUS KINDNESS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 09:59 AM

From Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England by James Henry Dixon (London: Printed for the Percy Society, 1846), page 148:


THE NOBLEMAN'S GENEROUS KINDNESS

Giving an account of a nobleman, who taking notice of a poor man's industrious care and pains for the maintaining of his charge of seven small children, met him upon a day, and discoursing with him, invited him, and his wife and his children, home to his house, and bestowed upon them a farm of thirty acres of land, to be continued to him and his heirs for ever.

To the tune of The Two English Travellers.

This pleasing ballad is entitled in the modern copies, The Nobleman and Thrasher; or the Generous Gift. It is very popular at the present day. There is a copy preserved in the Roxburgh Collection, with which our imprint has been collated. The tune to which the editor has always heard the ballad sung is Derry Down.


A nobleman lived in a village of late,
Hard by a poor thrasher, whose charge it was great;
For he had seven children, and most of them small,
And nought but his labour to support them withall.

He never was given to idle and lurk,
For this nobleman saw him go daily to work,
With his flail and his bag, and his bottle of beer,
As cheerful as those that have hundreds a year.

Thus careful, and constant, each morning he went,
Unto his daily labour with joy and content;
So jocular and jolly he'd whistle and sing,
As blithe and as brisk as the birds in the spring.

One morning, this nobleman taking a walk,
He met this poor man, and he freely did talk ;
He asked him, [at first], many questions at large,
And then began talking concerning his charge.

Thou hast many children, I very well know,
Thy labour is hard, and thy wages are low,
And yet thou art cheerful; I pray tell me true,
How can you maintain them as well as you do?

I carefully carry home what I do earn,
My daily expenses by this I do learn;
And find it is possible, though we be poor,
To still keep the ravenous wolf from the door.

I reap and I mow, and I harrow and sow,
Sometimes a hedging and ditching I go ;
No work comes amiss, for I thrash, and I plough,
Thus my bread I do earn by the sweat of my brow.

My wife she is willing to pull in a yoke,
We live like two lambs, nor each other provoke;
We both of us strive, like the labouring ant,
And do our endeavours to keep us from want.

And when I come home from my labour at night,
To my wife and my children, in whom I delight;
To see them come round me with prattling noise,—
Now these are the riches a poor man enjoys.

Though I am as weary as weary may be,
The youngest I commonly dance on my knee;
I find that content is a moderate feast,
I never repine at my lot in the least.

Now, the nobleman hearing what he did say,
Was pleased, and invited him home the next day;
His wife and his children he charged him to bring ;
In token of favour he gave him a ring.

He thanked his honour, and taking his leave,
He went to his wife, who would hardly believe
But this same story himself he might raise ;
Yet seeing the ring she was in amaze.

Betimes in the morning the good wife she arose,
And made them all fine, in the best of their clothes ;
The good man with his good wife, and children small,
They all went to dine at the nobleman's hall.

But when they came there, as truth does report,
All things were prepared in a plentiful sort;
And they at the nobleman's table did dine,
With all kinds of dainties, and plenty of wine.

The feast being over, he soon let thom know,
That he then intended on them to bestow
A farm-house, with thirty good acres of land,
And gave them the writings then, with his own hand.

Because thou art careful, and good to thy wife,
I'll make thy days happy the rest of thy life;
It shall be for ever, for thee and thy heirs,
Because I beheld thy industrious cares.

No tongue then is able in full to express
The depth of their joy, and true thankfulness;
With many a curtsey, and bow to the ground,
Such noblemen there are but few to be found.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Jolly Thrasherman
From: IanC
Date: 14 Jun 13 - 10:53 AM

Hi Q

I'm not sure how many went to Canada but there were 400,000 German PoWs in the UK at the end of WW2. At that point Britain was in a very poor state and there were nothing like enough workers in agriculture. The German PoWs worked on the land during and just after the war (all but 24,000 were repatriated in 1947) and made up about 25% of the agricultural work force at that time.

Unlike British PoWs in Germany, there was nowhere for them to run to, so they weren't generally locked up. There was also a shortage of young men, so they were allowed to go to the village dances and met most of the local girls. One of the 24,000 men who stayed married a local girl, one of my mother's good friends, and they and my parents became lifelong friends. His name was Ewald, so most people called him Eddie, but my dad always called him "Evil" (about how it's pronounced in German, especially with a Cambridgeshire accent). Despite my dad having been in the British army during (and after) WW2, they always liked and respected each other. It may be why my dad always said goodnight to me in German when I was small.

:-)


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