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Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs

Lighter 13 May 18 - 12:11 PM
Jack Campin 13 May 18 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 13 May 18 - 06:28 PM
GUEST 13 May 18 - 06:39 PM
Lighter 13 May 18 - 06:47 PM
Lighter 13 May 18 - 06:51 PM
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Subject: Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs
From: Lighter
Date: 13 May 18 - 12:11 PM

The United States Marines have long and a rhyme (or song) that appears to date back to World War I (1917-18 for the U.S.):

"Ten thousand gobs laid down their swabs to fight one sick Marine."

The line appears in the 1926 silent film "Tell It to the Marines."

By 1945 it was being sung to the tune of "The Marines' Hymn," with a second line added:

"Ten thousand more stood by and swore 'twas the damnedest fight they'd seen."

In "The Run up to the Punch Bowl" (2006), Marine John Nolan recalled the following elaborate form from the Korean War (1950-53):

       A thousand gobs laid down their swabs
        To lick one sick Marine.                                
        A thousand more stood by and swore
       twas the bloodiest fight they’d seen.
        The Army and the Navy and the lousy Engineers
        Could never lick the Leathernecks
        In a hundred thousand years.

Chorus:
        As we go marching
        And the band begins to P-L-A-Y
        You can hear them shouting,
        The Raggedy Ass Marines are on parade


The chorus appeared as a separate WW1 song in Niles, Moore, & Walgren's "Songs My Mother Never Taught Me" (1928), and the lines about the Army and the Navy were sung during WW1 to the tune of "The Son of a Gamboleer" ("A Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech").

Does anybody still know the song?

(For those beyond the pond, "gob" is a now old-fashioned slang term for a sailor.)


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Subject: RE: Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 May 18 - 01:10 PM

And there was me thinking it had to be about the closure of a dental school.


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Subject: RE: Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 13 May 18 - 06:28 PM

You are usually right Jack!


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Subject: RE: Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs
From: GUEST
Date: 13 May 18 - 06:39 PM

Dats roight- and ten tousand Micks laid down der sticks at the battle of the Boyne.

Gud noight, Rutie.


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Subject: RE: Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs
From: Lighter
Date: 13 May 18 - 06:47 PM

In fact, the Cleveland Plain Dealer (Jan. 12, 1927), p. 2, advertises "Tell It to the Marines" (starring Lon Chaney) by headlining the rhyming line in question.

From the Seattle Daily Times (Dec. 31, 1928), p. 2:

Enlisted with the consent of their mother in Spokane Friday, the youngsters had learned up to the forty-ninth verse of the "Marine Hymn" and were expert in warbling "Ten thousand gobs laid down their swabs to lick a sick Marine," a tender ditty calculated to improve their future relations with the Navy.



And consider:

New York Journal and Advertiser (Nov. 20, 1898), p.44:

As the great crowd poured out through the gates [after Harvard beat Yale in their annual football game], there was one continued song of Harvard jubilation. he crimson men owned the town. Most of them went back on the evening trains in order to burn up Boston. But up to a late hour the voice of John the Orangeman [a devoted but alcoholic Harvard fan] was heard in the land. Down one of the dark, rain-swept streets he could be heard in the following jocund lay:

    Get ready, Mrs. Farrell,
      Get ye ready very soon,
    Tin thousand pikes are flashing
      Be the risin' of the moon.
    Be the risin' of the moon,
      Be the risin' of the moon,
    Tin thousand micks laid down their picks
      Be the risin' of the moon.


Dallas Morning News (June 20, 1905), p. 3:

"Three thousand Micks threw down their picks at the battle of Boyne- Water." Thirteen soldiers of the First Cavalry, more or less Irish, were singing this song at the top of their voices last night near the Leon Springs target range.

The historical "Boyne Water" turns into "B'ilin' Water" in a non-historical variant.


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Subject: RE: Ten Thousand Gobs Laid Down Their Swabs
From: Lighter
Date: 13 May 18 - 06:51 PM

Check out also the concurrent "10,000 Swedes" thread.


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