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Origins: The Reedy Lagoon

DigiTrad:
BY THE BANKS OF THE REEDY LAGOON


Related thread:
Tune Add: (Banks of the) Reedy Lagoon (4)


Fergie 30 May 14 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,# 30 May 14 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 May 14 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 May 14 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,Phil 31 May 14 - 02:34 AM
Joe Offer 31 May 14 - 02:34 AM
Joe Offer 31 May 14 - 02:57 AM
Sandra in Sydney 31 May 14 - 05:13 AM
Hrothgar 31 May 14 - 05:42 AM
Fergie 31 May 14 - 12:09 PM
Sandra in Sydney 31 May 14 - 10:29 PM
Sandra in Sydney 31 May 14 - 10:36 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Fergie
Date: 30 May 14 - 09:52 AM

Hi all,

For the spring in it's glory has come back again,
To the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

Was singing this song to myself (it's a beautiful morning here in Dublin) when I came to the line that goes; "a Benedict's life to enjoy" and I thought what does that mean? I consulted my copy of The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary, but alas no mention of a Benedict and no explanation in Lionel Long's -Favourite Australian Bush Songs- from which I learned the song when residing in Sydney almost forty years ago. So my question is, what does "a Benedict's life to enjoy" actually mean?

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: GUEST,#
Date: 30 May 14 - 03:25 PM

ben·e·dict [ben-i-dikt] noun

a newly married man, especially one who has been long a bachelor.


Please note that the B in benedict should be lower case.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 May 14 - 10:51 PM

It's clearer in context:

Oh where is young Frankie and how he could ride
And Johnnie the light-hearted boy?
They tell me that lately he's taken a bride
A benedict's life to enjoy.

I believe this term comes from Shakespeare's 'Much Ado about Nothing,' in which Beatrice and Benedick are first at each other's throats, then are finagled into falling in love. There's a will-known line something like, "Here comes Benedick, the married man."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 May 14 - 10:55 PM

No, it's:

DON PEDRO: In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.

BENEDICK: The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear
it, pluck off the bull's horns and set them in my forehead,
and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they
write "Here is good horse to hire" let them signify under my
sign "Here you may see Benedick the married man."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: GUEST,Phil
Date: 31 May 14 - 02:34 AM

Perhaps in this context it simply means a blessed life. Being married brings with it a blessing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 May 14 - 02:34 AM

For the record, here are the lyrics John MacKenzie posted in another thread:

Thread #11969   Message #2447538
Posted By: John MacKenzie
22-Sep-08 - 03:37 PM
Thread Name: The Famous Muldoon/Reedy Lagoon
Subject: Lyr Add: THE BANKS OF THE REEDY LAGOON

As Kendall says, it's from this song.

THE BANKS OF THE REEDY LAGOON

The sweet scented wattle sheds perfume around,
Enticing the bird and the bee,
As I lie and take rest, in a fern-covered nest
In the shade of a Currajong tree.
High up in the air I can hear the refrain
Of the butcher bird piping his tune,
For the Spring in her glory has come back again
To the banks of the reedy lagoon.

I've carried my bluey for many a mile,
My boots are worn out at the toes,
And I'm dressing this season in different style
From what I did last year, God knows!
My cooking utensils, I'm sorry to say,
Consist of a knife and a spoon;
And I've dry bread and tea, in a battered Jack Shea
On the banks of the reedy lagoon.

Oh where is poor Frankie (and how he could ride!)
And Johnny the kind hearted boy?
They tell me that lately he's taken a bride
A Benedick's life to enjoy.
And Mac the big Scotsman? I once heard him say.
He wrestled the famous Muldoon.
But they're all far away, and I'm lonely today
On the banks of the reedy lagoon.

Oh where is the lady I often caressed,
The girl with the sad dreamy eyes?
She pillows her head on another man's breast
Who tells her the very same lies!
My bed she would hardly be willing to share
Where I camp in the light of the moon!
But it's little I care, for I couldn't keep square,
On the banks of the reedy lagoon.

If you want to hear it sung to perfection,
listen to Martyn Wyndham-Read singing it.


JM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR9cXMket5M
-recording by Lionel Long- (Joe Offer)

And here are the lyrics from the Digital Tradition:
    BY THE BANKS OF THE REEDY LAGOON

    The sweet scented wattle sheds perfume around
    Delighting the bird and the bee
    While I lie and take rest in my fern covered nest
    In the shad of the currajong tree
    High up in the air I can hear the refrain
    Of a butcherbird piping his tune
    For the spring in her glory has come back again
    To the banks of the reedy lagoon

    I've carried me bluey for many a mile
    Me boot are worn out at the toes
    And I'm dressing this season in different style
    Than what I did wear last year, God knows
    My cooking utensils, I'm sorry to say
    Consist of a knife and a spoon
    And I've dry bread and tea in a battered Jack Shay
    By the banks of the reedy lagoon
    Oh where is young Frankie and how he could ride
    And Johnnie the light-hearted boy?
    They tell me that lately he's taken a bride
    A benedict's life to enjoy
    And Mac, the big Scotsman, I once heard him say
    He'd wrestled the famous Muldoon
    But they're all gone away and it's lonely today
    By the banks of the reedy lagoon

    And where is the lady I often caressed
    The girl with the sad dreamy eyes?
    She pillows her head on another man's breast
    He tells her the very same lies
    My bed she would hardly be willing to share
    Where I camp by the light of the moon
    But it's little I care, for I'd never keep square
    By the banks of the reedy lagoon

    @Australian
    sung by Gordon Bok and Martyn Wyndham-Read
    filename[ REEDYLAG
    TUNE FILE: REEDYLAG
    CLICK TO PLAY
    SOF

And the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

    Reedy Lagoon, The

    DESCRIPTION: "The sweet scented wattle sheds perfume around Delighting the bird and the bee, While I lie and take rest in my fern-covered nest." The rambler relaxes and thinks back on the friends and the girl he has left behind. He misses them, but cares little
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1964
    KEYWORDS: rambling Australia separation
    FOUND IN: Australia
    REFERENCES (2 citations):
    Manifold-PASB, pp. 144-145, "The Reedy Lagoon" (1 text, 1 tune)
    DT, REEDYLAG*

    File: PASB144

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.



Oh, and I found a rather nice recording by Czech singer Waldemar Matuška - he calls it "Tam, kde jsem jaro měl rád":

And there's a very nice recording of the song at Australian Folk Song a Day, by John Thompson.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Joe Offer
Date: 31 May 14 - 02:57 AM

This version is almost exactly the same as that posted by John MacKenzie. Only the punctuation and capitalization is different.

THE REEDY LAGOON

The sweet-scented wattle sheds perfume around,
Enticing the bird and the bee,
As I lie and take rest in a fern-covered nest
In the shade of a currajong tree.
High up in the air I can hear the refrain
Of the butcherbird piping his tune,
For the Spring in her glory has come back again
To the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

I've carried my bluey for many a mile,
My boots are worn out at the toes,
And I'm dressing this season in different style
From what I did last year, God knows!
My cooking utensils, I'm sorry to say,
Consist of a knife and a spoon;
And I've dry bread and tea, in a battered Jack-Shea
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

Oh where is poor Frankie (and how he could ride!)
And Johnny the kindhearted boy?
They tell me that lately he's taken a bride
A Benedick's life to enjoy.
And Mac the big Scotsman? I once heard him say
He wrestled the famous Muldoon.
But they're all far away, and I'm lonely today
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

Oh where is the lady I often caressed,
The girl with the sad dreamy eyes?
She pillows her head on another man's breast
Who tells her the very same lies!
My bed she would hardly be willing to share
Where I camp in the light of the moon!
But it's little I care, for I couldn't keep square,
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

Source: The Penguin Australian Songbook, compiled by J.S. Manifold (Adelaide: Penguin Books Pty Ltd, 1964), pp 144-145

Notes: from the Queensland Pocket Songbook where full details of source are given.
    Gee, thanks a lot for that explanation, Penguin....anybody have a copy of the Queensland Pocket Songbook so we can find out where this song comes from?


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Subject: ADD Version: On the Banks of the Reedy Lagoon
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 May 14 - 05:13 AM

& here's the earliest known version of the song, as located by Graeme Smith, a correspondent of OzCatter Mark Gregory & published by Mark on his Australian Folk Songs site

On The Banks Of The Reedy Lagoon

ON THE BANKS OF THE REEDY LAGOON

The bloom of the wattle sheds perfume around,
Enticing the bird and the bee ;
I lie at full length on the fern-covered ground
In the shade of a Kurrajong tree;
And high overhead I can hear a sweet strain
'Tis the butcher-bird singing a tune,
Spring, in her glory, has come back again
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

My swag I have carried for many a mile,
My boots are worn out at the toes;
I'm dressing, this season, in different style,
To my dress of last season, God knows:
Away, sad reflections, I mean to be gay
As I was, on that morning is June,
In a Northern bay, on the coast, far away
From the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

From over the mountain a westerly wind
Is bringing me pure oxygen;
I sigh for some salmon that's lately been tinned,
Or even the thigh of a hen.
My cooking utensils, I'm sorry to say,
Ah lacking a fork and a spoon.
I've dry bread and tea, in a battered jack shay
On the banks of the Reedy Lagoon.

I think of poor Edgar and Willie the brave,
Together we oft sang a song;
They're wrapped in the slumber that's found in the grave
Down them In the shades of Toowong.
That dark road I'll travel some day, soon or late,
Bus if death be tardy or soon,
My probable fate I'll not contemplate
On the bank of the Reedy Lagoon.

I wonder where's Frank ? Ah, could'nt he ride
And Georgie, the kind-hearted boy;
Old Jim, I heard lately has taken a bride
A benedict's life to enjoy.
And Jack, the big Scotchman ; I once heard 'em say,
He wrestled the famous Muldoon:
They're all far away, and I'm lonely to day
On the bank of the Reedy Lagoon.

Oh, where is the woman I often caressed -
The one with the dreamy sad eye;
She rests with her head on another man's breast,
She told me, when saying "Good-bye."
She'd love me and think of me, everywhere;
The jade has forgotten me soon.
(I didn't keep square.) But it's little I care
On the bank of the Reedy Lagoon.

Notes

From the Queensland Times 14 September 1893.

J.A.C.
Redbank Plains.



Many thanks to Graeme Smith for sending me his discovery of this song. He writes:

You might be interested in an early printed version, probably the original, of The Banks of the Reedy Lagoon
Later it is sent in to Vennard for his On the Track column, in the North Queenland Register, (and other papers that ran it) in 1923, and it was republished in one of his "Bill Boyang" Bush Recitations volumes, in 1933.

An article in 1935 identifies the author of the poem as Jimmy Connors, who is described as a prolific contributer of newspaper verses, and noted as having died a couple of years before. The song has been collected a few times from oral sources, all in Queensland or NT I think. Some of the wryness of the original verses has not survived oral transmission. Current singers might like to use some of the original text.

sandra

Joe, I've emailed Hrothgar to see if he has that songbook
    Sandra, your text appears to be the same as the one Fergie linked to below at TROVE - including the two mistakes I've underlined above in your text and corrected at Trove. I think it has to be "in June," and "are lacking."
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Hrothgar
Date: 31 May 14 - 05:42 AM

I don't think I have that book, but I'll have a look. My library is a bit chaotic at the moment (too many bloody books, and a big second-hand book sale coming up next week!!).

I haven't seen that fourth verse

I think of poor Edgar and Willie the brave,
Together we oft sang a song;
They're wrapped in the slumber that's found in the grave
Down them In the shades of Toowong.

before, but I have a suspicion that "Willie the brave" is Willie Stone, who was a jockey killed in a fall around 1890, and who is buried in Toowong cemetery in Brisbane. A couple of us, guided by the late Bob Michell, did some research on him a long time ago.

I'll see if I can pick up a likely reference for "Edgar".


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Fergie
Date: 31 May 14 - 12:09 PM

Hi all,

Thank to everyone for your interest and help. Thanks to TROVE I found the the older version as published in 1893. That site and search engine is a brilliant and I've been using it this morning so search for old Bush Songs with a lot of success. I'll start a new thread to demonstrate some of what I have found.

Fergus Russell


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 May 14 - 10:29 PM

fergie - if you look on Mark Gregory's site you'll see over 50 songs & poems he found

I have a complete list as I'm on his email list. He has posted some finds here - check out his posts, either Mark Gregory, or Guest, Mark Gregory

I'm putting the complete list onto the Bush Music Club Blog sometime soon

Joe - I cut & pasted the poem from Mark's site & we've been corresponding about the OCR typos.

Verse 5 - I wonder where's Frank ? Ah, could'nt he ride

I noticed "ah" in verse 3, but missed "is" (oops), & had an idea I'd seen "would'nt" in the past & he knew it was common, so we left that "typo" alone.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Reedy Lagoon
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 31 May 14 - 10:36 PM

posts by Mark Gregory I only found one post for 'Guest, Mark Gregory'

Here he is announcing the earliest version of Click go the Shears. Origins: Click Go the Shears -


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