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Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn

DigiTrad:
KING ARTHUR (3 JOLLY ROGUES VARIANT)
THREE JOLLY ROGUES OF LYNNE


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: 3 Jolly rogues of Lynn(e) (15)
Lyr Add: In the Good Old Colony Days (6)


Chris Seymour 27 Mar 00 - 08:32 PM
Amos 27 Mar 00 - 08:52 PM
Bill D 27 Mar 00 - 09:47 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 27 Mar 00 - 11:00 PM
Jim Krause 28 Mar 00 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 28 Mar 00 - 07:30 PM
IanC 29 Mar 00 - 07:31 AM
GUEST,Murray on SS 29 Mar 00 - 01:11 PM
Snuffy 29 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM
Art Thieme 29 Mar 00 - 10:30 PM
Eluned 29 Mar 00 - 11:10 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 30 Mar 00 - 11:34 AM
dick greenhaus 30 Mar 00 - 12:09 PM
Chris Seymour 30 Mar 00 - 10:05 PM
hrodelbert 31 Mar 00 - 01:47 AM
IanC 31 Mar 00 - 03:41 AM
Jim Krause 31 Mar 00 - 12:39 PM
Chris Seymour 01 Apr 00 - 12:12 PM
Chris Seymour 02 Apr 00 - 09:12 PM
IanC 07 Apr 00 - 08:28 AM
Bill D 07 Apr 00 - 10:15 AM
Scotsbard 07 Apr 00 - 12:08 PM
Liam's Brother 08 Apr 00 - 11:13 AM
Chris Seymour 12 Apr 00 - 10:42 PM
IanC 13 Apr 00 - 03:54 AM
Chris Seymour 13 Apr 00 - 10:12 PM
IanC 14 Apr 00 - 05:34 AM
Chris Seymour 14 Apr 00 - 11:07 PM
IanC 17 Apr 00 - 05:44 AM
Art Thieme 17 Apr 00 - 06:19 PM
Chris Seymour 17 Apr 00 - 11:28 PM
rich-joy 11 Mar 03 - 05:26 AM
Dave Bryant 11 Mar 03 - 09:02 AM
masato sakurai 11 Mar 03 - 11:31 AM
masato sakurai 11 Mar 03 - 11:35 AM
Leadfingers 11 Mar 03 - 12:56 PM
Ian 12 Mar 03 - 04:06 AM
Dave Bryant 12 Mar 03 - 04:24 AM
Ian 12 Mar 03 - 10:37 AM
Blackcatter 12 Mar 03 - 10:54 AM
Gareth 24 Oct 03 - 07:21 PM
Dave Ruch 18 Dec 03 - 02:11 PM
Snuffy 19 Dec 03 - 08:14 AM
Dave Ruch 19 Dec 03 - 10:56 AM
Uncle_DaveO 19 Dec 03 - 11:39 AM
Snuffy 19 Dec 03 - 08:42 PM
GUEST,tom guest 20 Dec 03 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Sieffe 10 Oct 05 - 05:00 PM
Cool Beans 10 Oct 05 - 07:54 PM
Snuffy 10 Oct 05 - 08:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Oct 05 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 21 Apr 07 - 09:57 PM
Mrrzy 22 Apr 07 - 01:32 PM
Charley Noble 15 Dec 07 - 10:56 PM
Barry Finn 15 Dec 07 - 11:53 PM
Charley Noble 16 Dec 07 - 12:25 PM
GUEST,Jeanne 22 Nov 11 - 06:51 PM
GUEST 24 Dec 12 - 11:13 AM
Joe_F 24 Dec 12 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,Beachcomber 25 Dec 12 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,babypix 19 Sep 13 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,babypix 19 Sep 13 - 02:25 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Sep 13 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,GUTCHER 20 Sep 13 - 07:10 AM
Eldergirl 20 Sep 13 - 02:12 PM
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Subject: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 08:32 PM

I had almost forgotten this catchy little number about the three thieving rogues of Lynn...

The miller he stole corn And the weaver he stole yearn And the little tailor he stole broadcloth For to keep these three rogues warm

...until someone sang it the other night at a singing party. I'd heard Mike Miller sing it years ago at the Philadelphia Folksong Society's Spring Thing and had been after him to get me the words, but it didn't happen.

Anyway, I've got them now -- and am curious to learn anything anyone knows about the song.

The version I have is American -- it begins "In the good old colony time/when we lived under the King," but I'm curious to know if it has earlier origins.

Also, since I didn't find it in the database, how would I go about posting the lyrics for inclusion there?

Thanks, as always.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Amos
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 08:52 PM

Yes it does have an English predecessor, which is in the DT and I can't remember as what -- well here's one version and I think there was another claiming to be Arthurian but I think not actually, over here. You just stick "miller dam" in the search engine and these will show up as well as the later "Good Old Colony Times" variant.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 09:47 PM

....this is one of my favorite examples of an 'almost' song...(meaning it is almost about something)...it has a sort of catchy little tune, and starts to tell about something, but somewhere verses got lost, or the composer just never bothered, and by the time I had learned it, I was bored with it...and it bothers me that I CANT sustain interest in a song with such unfulfilled promise..*sigh*..I liked the damn thing till I payed attention to it..*grin*

The last verse seems to have been added just to make the catchy little tune last longer..


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 27 Mar 00 - 11:00 PM

See "When Arthur first in court began" in Scarce Songs 1 on my website for a 17th century version and some later ones. www.erols.com/olsonw


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Jim Krause
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 04:26 PM

I liked the song so much, I recorded it on my CD "Going Up the Missouri: Songs & Dance Tunes from Old Fort Osage." As soon as I had the final mixing done and had the recording sent off to be manufactured, I came accross another variant
In good old colony days
When we lived under the King
Three roguish chaps fell into mishaps
Because they would not sing
Because they would not sing
Becaise they would not sing
Three roguish chaps fell into mishaps
Because they would not sing

Then the rest of the story picks up with the miller, the weaver, and the wee tailor.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 28 Mar 00 - 07:30 PM

The first notable recording of it came from Richard Dyer- Bennett.

I think the song is about Lynn, Massachusetts. The geography was different in the colony days and the area was larger as was Salem.

Frank


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: IanC
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 07:31 AM

The Lynn mentioned is, in fact, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England.

The song is about something. In English mediaeval tradition members of three trades were thought of as ignoble. Millers, weavers and especially tailors (see Chaucer).

Whereas millers and weavers get their just desserts in the song, the tailor is too much of a rogue, so he ends up enjoying it.

This is it as I sing it.

King Arthur (A Farmer) Had Three Sons

A farmer had three sons
Three sons to him were born
And he came home tight in the middle of the night
And threw them out of the door

Ch:
And threw them out of the door
And threw them out of the door
And he came home tight in the middle of the night
And threw them out of the door

The first was a jolly miller
And the second was a weaver of yarn
And the third, to be sure, was a little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm

Ch:
With the broadcloth under his arm
With the broadcloth under his arm
And the third, to be sure, was a little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm

The miller, he stole corn
The weaver, he stole yarn
And the little tailor boy, he stole corduroy
To keep those three rogues warm

(ch)

The miller, he was drowned in his pool
The weaver, he was hung by his yarn
But the devil ran away with the tailor one day
With the broadcloth under his arm

(ch)

The miller still drowns in his pool
The weaver still hangs by his yarn
But the little tailor boy, he skips through hell
With the broadcloth under his arm

Cheers! IanC


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Murray on SS
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 01:11 PM

This is my version (learned in Canada in the late sixties)

In good King Arthur's days
When Arthur he was the king,
He threw three minstrels out of doors
Because they would not sing.
Because they would not sing,
Because they would not sing,
He threw [etc.]

Now the first one he was a miller,
And the second one he was a weaver,
And the third one was a little tailor,
Three jolly rogues together.
Three jolly rogues, etc.

Now the miller he stole corn,
And the weaver he stole yarn,
And the little tailor stole broadcloth for
To keep those three rogies warm
To keep, etc.

Now the miller was drowned in his dam,
And the weaver was hanged in his yarn,
And the devil clapped his paw(r) on the little tailor With the broadcloth under his arm
With the etc.

Now the miller still floats in his dam,
And the weaver still hangs in his yarn,
And the little tailor still skips through hell
With the broadcloth under his arm.
With the broadcloth, etc.

"paw(r)" is there to give the required internal rhyme.--The repetition in stanza 1 has always bothered me, though. There's been (way back in the twenties maybe) an examination of various versions of this, by Kittredge I think, in the pages of the Journal of American Folklore. Can someone look this up??


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM

Murray,

I learned: When good King Arthur ruled this land
And he ruled it like a king
He had 3 sons and he threw them out of doors
Because they would not sing, etc

Only other difference to yours is:
The devil ran away with the little tailor..

Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Art Thieme
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 10:30 PM

I used this song for over 20 years as a way to show students studying colonial times how different those times were from ours. First I sang the song. Then I asked 'em if they knew what a weaver, miller and tailor were ? What did all 3 do to earn their living ? Today, where would you go to get flower, cloth, a new suit of clothes ? Finally, I'd ask if they knew anyone who was named Weaver or Tailor or Miller ? And we'd talk about how people once took/got their names from what they did for a living---Cartwright, Wheelwright, Tay(i)lor, Smith, Miller etc.

Just reading between the lines reveals tons of basic information.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Eluned
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 11:10 PM

Well, here's something I noticed; the tune to this song strongly resembles something I remember from when I was a child called "The Grand Old Duke of York". Is this deliberate (a sly way of saying that Duke was a rogue) or merely coincidence? I'd dearly like to know!


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 11:34 AM

I'm not sure what is meant by "Good Old Colony Times". Was there a colony in Kings Lynn, Norfolk England? There certainly was in Massachussetts. The version I know might be an American transplant from colonial times in America. There was a Lynn Massachusetts that extended over a good bit of geography in those days.

Frank


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 12:09 PM

Frank- The earlier verses din't refer to Colony Times; the later ones dropped the King. Such is folksong.

And Chris- I'd guess that 90% of the failures people encounter in searching DigiTrad stem from mis- and variant spellings of proper nouns and place names. If you did a search for [stole yarn] (the brackets indicate that it's a phrase), you'd find two versions of the song.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 30 Mar 00 - 10:05 PM

Bill D--

Yes, it IS an "almost song," isn't it -- not much there there -- I realized this when I sat down to learn it. Maybe I can get somewheres with it given the variants folks have posted. Thanks, folks -- this place is just great. Everyone pat yourself on the back.

Dick-- thanks for the tip. I didn't try [stole yarn] (and didn't know that you put phrases in brackets), but did try a few other phrases I thought would have been in there. But I'll find it now, I'm sure. Thanks again, all.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: hrodelbert
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 01:47 AM

I never thought that lynn could have meant King's Lynn Coz I always heard it as Lym which is in Cheshire. Interesting!


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: IanC
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 03:41 AM

Chris

I don't really agree that it's an "almost song". The amount of information it gives depends on your understanding of the context in which it is sung. This song is just very context-dependent but there is an awful lot of context.

Try Chaucer's student's tale or "The Miller's Will" for the background about millers. There are numerous songs about tailors (one of the best skits is called Benjamin Bowmanay - I don't know if it's in DT). Songs about weavers are usually pretty kind but that's because they mostly date from the Industrial Revolution where they were regarded as having been treated harshly. Mediaeval stereotypes were not so complimentary.

This song is worth serious study as it is a pointer to a whole range of Mediaeval attitudes to trades. Butchers, for example, usually get a good press - anyone know why?

Cheers IanC


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Jim Krause
Date: 31 Mar 00 - 12:39 PM

No, but I can guess. If you insult or offend the butcher, he may take his meat cleaver to your sorry carcass and ply his trade, right? Like in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 01 Apr 00 - 12:12 PM

Ian --

You're probably right -- the song, like much folk music, takes work--something Martin Carthy often mentions. Folk music is not necessarily easy. When I have time, I'll do a little digging along the lines you suggest.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 02 Apr 00 - 09:12 PM

Ian --

I took a look at the version of this song you sing. Has a tighter internal rhyme scheme than either of the two the DT. Where did you get it?

Also, do you recommend any particular Chaucer translation? (My Middle English is a bit rusty) And how do you know that the song is old enough that Chaucerian-era stereotypes/beliefs about various occupations should come into play in thinking about this song?


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: IanC
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 08:28 AM

Chris

Sorry, not had time to reply to your query sooner.

Not sure where I learned this one and it is probably my own memory of more than one version, though I suspect that I learned one version in the seventies and it is mainly that. It was often sung round the (UK) clubs in the 70s as a bit of a joining in song with or without harmonies.

With regard to Chaucer, I think any modern english translation would give the sense of the mediaeval stereotypes. I'm not making any claims for the age of the song (though I think it is probably quite old) but the stereotypes about trade seem to have survived at least until the Industrial Revolution when things changed. I think these may be the trades where people had the opportunity for making a fast buck by quietly stealing stuff. Shakespeare has quite a lot of fun at the expense of certain trades and the literature throughout the period, as well as many folk songs, illustrates the theme.

For contrasting stereotypes, just look for Butcher and Tailor in DT. You will find that the butcher is a hail-fellow-well-met chap, who might get into trouble for seducing young maidens. The tailor, however, is unlikely to get in bed with a girl, is a coward and is often fooled by unscrupulous people just to provide a laugh at his expense. The attitudes survived into this century in some rural areas and most people going to hear folk music would, I think, still understand that tailors are to be poked fun at, etc.

Of course, the miller was particularly hated in mediaeval Britain because of the repressive laws introduced by William I. All domestic querns were outlawed and any milling had to be done at the mill belonging to the lord of the manor. During the peasants' revolt (1383-ish) probably the most savage action, at St Albans, revolved around the destruction of the Bishop's (he was lord of the manor) mill.

Cheers! IanC


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Bill D
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 10:15 AM

Yup- I realize that 'research' into a song CAN make it more interesting and there is lots to learn ....I was merely comparing it to songs which do 'tell the story' without having to explicate it. Though I see that various versions DO say more than the one I first tried. Perhaps I'll give it another chance...it IS a catchy tune....


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Scotsbard
Date: 07 Apr 00 - 12:08 PM

I learned a slightly different first verse:

In good old colony times,
When we lived under the king,
There was a miller and a weaver and a little tailor,
Three merry rogues of Lynn,
Three merry rogues of Lynn.
There was a miller and a weaver and a little tailor,
Three merry rogues of Lynn.

The remaining verses matched earlier postings closely, with the lines about the drowning and hanging played slowly and mournfully (invent chords to suit), and then back to uptempo for the devil got his paws, etc.

~S~


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 08 Apr 00 - 11:13 AM

Hi Art!

I liked your comments above regarding using this song in teaching... very good.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 12 Apr 00 - 10:42 PM

Thanks, Ian --

I didn't know about the lord of the manor's mills. I've bought a modern English "Canterbury Tales," and it's next on my list -- ought to have read 'em long ago anyway.

While we're picking apart this song, I want to see if my understanding of the plot is correct.

When the miller is drowned and the weaver is hanged, it's because they've been caught, and they're being punished, right; they're not committing suicide? (the passive voice is ambiguous) So when the devil scoops up the weaver, and he ends up "skipping through hell," are we to understand this as a better fate than that that met the other rogues -- that is, is he a favo[u]rite of Lucifers, skipping around down there? Or is he, too, being punished for his thievery?

How's that for 'satiable curtiosity?

While I'm at it, Ian, what's your full name, so I can mention where I got the words I've learned to the song?

cheers,

Chris


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: IanC
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 03:54 AM

Chris

The passive voice is not ambiguous in English (as opposed to American) The miller WAS hanged, he didn't hang himself (if he did, it would say so).

The fate of the tailor is, however, a bit ambiguous. He might be skipping because of devils chasing him with firebrands or, more likely I think, because he was just too wicked and so became one of the devils favourites as you suggest.

By the way (for Bill) I think that what I was saying wasn't that you need to research anything but that quite a few people would be familiar with the context and that, if you are, it gives the song far more meaning.

Ian Chandler Ashwell Hertfordshire UK


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 13 Apr 00 - 10:12 PM

More 'satiable curtiosity, Ian (I agree, knowing the context means you bring more to the song when you sing it):

Whom did the miller steal corn from? If it was his mill, wasn't it his grain? Or did people hire him to grind it for them, so it was their grain?

Similarly, from whom did the weaver steal yarn, since this is presumably a pre-industrial song, and he's not got a factory owner to steal from?

Ditto the tailor...

What say you? Or are you really tired of this?


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: IanC
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 05:34 AM

Chris

Millers were paid on a commission basis. You brought so many pecks or bushels (1 bushel = 4 pecks = 8 gallons dry volume) and the miller returned you the flour in sacks less his cut (and the manor's cut too). Millers were generally suspected of taking more than their agreed share. A good source for this is a song (the version I know is from the USA) called "The Millers Will" or "The Miller's Sons" where each son had to tell the miller what share they would take if they inherited the mill. Ralph (who would take half) lost out to Paul ... . Chaucer also alludes to this in "The Student's Tale".

Weavers were paid "by the piece" (sometimes nowadays known as peice work or piece rates). Every week, the cloth merchant brought ready-spun yarn and collected the finished cloth. The weaver was paid for each "piece" on the basis of size and quality. Again, there was the opportunity to steal the finished product, which was worth far more than the weaver was paid. During the mediaeval period, this was considered a heinous crime as the whole economy of England (and possibly Wales) depended on exports of wool cloth to Europe.

When "mills" (factories) came into being at the Industrial Revolution, large numbers of automated looms were set up powered by water (and later steam). Less skill was needed for these and people were paid less. The hand loom weavers were regarded as having been cruelly treated and there was a great deal of sympathy with them.

Tailors were paid differently again. They were skilled workers who needed to first measure the customer then agree on terms for each piece of work. The cloth was provided by the customer, who also paid for it to be made up. Any spare cloth was kept by the tailor as a "perk". There were 3 ways a tailor could steal from a customer. Firstly, the amount of cloth required could be grossly overestimated. Then, the tailor could cut the cloth in such a way that large pieces were left but the finished product was "badly cut". Finally, the tailor could "skimp" the clothes, using less cloth than was really required and, again, producing a poor quality product. On top of all this, the customer displayed the tailor's workmanship to the public, so if he had been cheated it was often apparent to everyone (as in the tale of The Emperor's New Clothes).

This any help?

IanC


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 14 Apr 00 - 11:07 PM

Thanks, Ian -- it's a whole lot of help. Historical knowledge is everything. I had no idea that people I assumed were independent artisans who owned their own means of production in fact had other people supplying them with raw materials that they, the crafts people, did not own.

I assume your audiences know most of this, while mine aren't likely to. Twill be a challenge to figure out what's essential to say in introducing the song and how to condense the essential matter so it's relatively short and sweet -- or, if not short, at least interesting. Martin Carthy is great at that -- something to aspire to...

Thanks again.

Chris


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: IanC
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 05:44 AM

Hi!

Here's a version of the song from the Bodleian Library Broadsheet archives. It's dated 1804 but is transcribed from someone's singing so that it's obviously earlier than that.

THE MILLER, WEAVER & LITTLE TAILOR
A much admir'd Song, Sung by Mr. Chas. Johnston, & proper to be Sung at al Musical Clubs.
Published by Laurie & Whittle, 53 Fleet Street, London. Dec. 12th 1804.

1/
In good King Arthur's Day,
He was a worthy King,
Three Sons of Whores were turned out of doors,
Because they could not sing. Because they &c.

2/
The first he was a Miller,
The second was a Weaver,
The third he was a little Tailor;
Three thieving Rogues together. Three &c.

3/
The Miller he stole corn,
The Weaver he stole yarn,
And the little Tailor he stole broad cloth,
To keep these three Rogues warm To keep &c.

4/
The Miller was drown'd in his dam,
The Weaver was hung in his yarn,
And the Devil flew away with the little Tailor
And the Broad Cloth under his arm And &c.

Very little seems to have changed from this version!

Cheers!

IanC


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Art Thieme
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 06:19 PM

Even if the song didn't originate in the American colonies, it came, in American versions , to actually BE about the town of Lynn in Massachusetts during colonial times. That's what it meant to me when I found it in the Old Town School Of Folk Music's teaching songbook and that's what I told students it meant when I showed it to them. I doubt I was wrong even if the song originally came from the old Soviet Union like Pavel Chekov (remember him?) said it did in an old episode of Star Trek. ;-)

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Chris Seymour
Date: 17 Apr 00 - 11:28 PM

One of many things I find interesting, Ian and Art, is that the American version, with its reference to Lynn, Mass., is so close to the English version. So many songs changed so much on this side of the ocean0, particularly outside southern Appalachia. Also interesting to note the Bowdlerization that's happened to the various versions I've seen -- the version from the Bodleian is the first I've seen with references to whores' sons, for example.

My, the folk process is fun, isn't it?

Thanks again, Ian, for all your patient explanations and research. I've begun on the Canterbury tales. Sure enough, in the general prologue, Chaucer talks about the miller stealing grain from his "customers." Great stuff.

Cheers!


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: rich-joy
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 05:26 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 09:02 AM

It's rather interesting to think that Miller, Weaver, and Tailor must be some of the earliest "Service" or "Value Added" trades. I expect that in the past these would have been regarded with the same sort of distrust as Builders, Plumbers, Double-Glazing Installers, Car Repairers etc are these days.

The Miller would normally have had a virtual monopoly and farmers always thought they were being cheated when their grain was milled. Weavers and Tailors were often journeymen and therefore would be suspect because they were external to the local community.

It would therefore have been considered amusing that these characters came to sticky ends. You've only got to look at this thread about lawyer jokes to see that things haven't really changed.


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Subject: Lyr Add: OLD COLONY TIMES
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:31 AM

"Old Colony Times" (ca 1800?) is reproduced in S. Foster Damon's Series of Old American Songs (Brown University Library, 1936, No. 6; with tune), with this note:
This ballad may have preceded even the first attempts at colonization in our country; but the opening lines of this version, sung from Maine to Georgia, and at least as far as Nebraska, were probably shaped about 1800, when "old colony times" began to seem very remote.
When John Lothrop Motley studies at Göttingen in 1832, he taught this song, one of his favorites, to his fellow student, Bismarck. Over fifty years later, in a speech before the Reichstag on February 6, 1888, Bismarck quoted "Old Colony Times", which he had learned from "his dear deceased friend", Motley. (Orie William Long: Literary Pioneers, Cambridge, 1935). This song is sung by the archbishop in Agnes Repplier's In Our Convent Days; and in Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree (Pt IV, ch 2) it is also to be found, beginning, however, "When Arthur first his court began".
Where sheep were raised, the "miller" ran a carding mill (see Flanders & Brown's Vermont Folk Songs, "The Farmer's Three Sons"). In the colleges, the tune was once much used for less familiar texts (Journal Am. Folk Lore XXIX, 167; see also XXX, 350; XLV, 47).

    OLD COLONY TIMES

    1.
In good Old Colony times
When we were under the king
Three roguish chaps fell into mishaps,
Because they could not sing

    Because they could not sing
    Because they could not sing
    Three roguish chaps fell into mishaps,
    Because they could not sing.

    2.
The first he was a Miller,
And the second he was a Weaver,
And the third he was a little Tailor,
Three roguish chaps together.

    3.
Now the Miller he stole corn
And the Weaver he stole yarn
And the little Tailor stole broadcloth for
To keep these three thieves warm.

    4.
The Miller got drown'd in his dam
The Weaver got hung in his yarn
And the devil clapp'd his paw on the little Tailor,
With the broadcloth under his arm.

This version is copied in Margaret Bradford Boni's Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs (Simon and Schuster, 1952, pp. 252-253).

Later editions are at American Memory:

Good old colony times, and Bonny boat. ( Sold, wholesale and retail, by L. Deming, No. 62, Hanover Street, 2d door from Friend street, Boston. [n. d.]) [text only]

Old Colony times (Cincinnati: Church & Co., John, 1878) [sheet music]

"The Noble Acts Newly Found, of Arthur of the Table Round" (To the Tune of Flying Fame) is at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads.

Printers: Coles, F. (London); Vere, T. (London); Wright, J. (London); Clarke, J. (London)
Date: between 1674 and 1679
Imprint: Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clarke
Illus. Ballads on sheet: 2   
Copies: Wood 401(61)
Ballads: 1. The jolly pinder of Wakefield: with Robin Hood, Scarlet, and Iohn ("In Wakefield there lives a jolly pinder ...")
Subject: Clergy; Robin Hood$qlegendary character
2. The noble acts newly found, of Arthur of the table round ("When Arthur first in court began ...")
Author: Deloney, Thomas
To the tune of: Flying fame
Subject: Chivalry; Arthur$qlegendary figure

Two later parodies of "When Arthur first in court began" are at Bruce Olson's Roots of Folk site (Click here).


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:35 AM

The second link above should be:

Old Colony times (Cincinnati: Church & Co., John, 1878) [sheet music]


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Leadfingers
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 12:56 PM

And of course Ron Shuttleworth wrote a lovely VERY right wing parody
in the mid eighties,having a go at the extremist activities during the miners strike:-

    When King Arthur ruled South Yorks
    He ruled it like a Turk
    He drove three brothers out of the union
    Because they dared to work

    The first two went below
    To make sure the roof was sound
    And the third he as the winder to bring
    His brothers from underground

And I am damned if i can remember the las verse at the moment. I will have to look it up and shove it in for all you hard line Union men to have a moan about.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Ian
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 04:06 AM

As an addage to the song I often include a nursery ryme.

In good King Arthers time he was a noble King,
He stole three pecks of barley meal to make a bag pudding
A bag pudding the King did make, he stuffed it well with plums
and in it put two lumps of fat as big as my two thumbs.
Well the King and Queen did eat thereof and noble men beside
and what they did not eat that night
the Queen next morning Fried.


I am told that that ratio fat to barley meal is about right.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 04:24 AM

Doesn't sound like enough fat to me - the usual rule of thumb is two portions of flour (meal) to one of fat - by weight. A peck is normally a liquid volume measure equal to two gallons. You'd need huge thumbs to balance that volume of meal.


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Ian
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:37 AM

I guess the scottish baker who told me that had large hands


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Blackcatter
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 10:54 AM

rich-joy

I'm curious as to why you refreshed this thread. Nothing wrong in doing so, but you simply refreshed it without comment.

Thanks


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Subject: RE: song info: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Gareth
Date: 24 Oct 03 - 07:21 PM

A little late{

But recall, Lynn, or Kings Lynn was one of the chief wool exporting ports in Medevial times.

There was a duty on the export of wool, the "Owlers" because they worked at night, smuggled wool to the continent.

Chaucer, when he was no writing his littary work was a customs official.

Perhaps this might clarify matters.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 18 Dec 03 - 02:11 PM

I've recently become very interested in a version of this song from English singer David Jones. My question is:

* what does the inability to sing ("because they could not sing") have to do with the mishaps these three fell into? Or is that a metaphor for their "ignoble" reputations?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 08:14 AM

because they would not sing? - i.e they refused to obey a royal command


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 10:56 AM

Thanks Snuffy, and please forgive my lack of imagination here, but I guess i still don't get it...what does singing have to do with a royal command?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 11:39 AM

Love this song. It (in Dyer-Bennet's version) is to be on my almost-ready-to-publish CD, Uncle DaveO Sings: The Real Story.

One problem with doing a folk-song story CD, though: It's not very practical to do the little explanatory talk I normally do with this and many other story songs when performing in person. Yes, if you have room in liner notes you can do this, but in my case I don't. I think I will have to list the "liner notes" on my site, which is not too satisfactory, but better than nothing, I guess.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 08:42 PM

The king told them to sing. They wouldn't, so he threw them out.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,tom guest
Date: 20 Dec 03 - 02:41 PM

I've always thought of this song accompanied by a little dance or sketch by three men - part of a something like a mummers' play . Anyone got any ideas on that ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Sieffe
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 05:00 PM

err . . I know this thread is so old it's smelly but I still haven't found the version I have been singing for years . . . help! searched everywhere I know so far . . .

mine goes:
"There once was Old King Cole,
and he was a jolly old king
and he had three sons and he sent them out of doors all
bacuse they would not sing
(because they would not sing x 2, and he had 3 sons and he sent them out of doors all because they would not sing . . )

And the first one, he was a Miller
and the second one, he was a Weaver
and the third one, he was a little Tailor
and there's three jolly rogues together (repeat as before)

And the Miller, he stole corn
and the weaver, he stole yarn
and the little Tailor, he stole broadcloth
to keep those three rogues warm (repeat etc)

And the Miller was drowned in his dam
and the weaver was hung by his yarn
and the little Tailor, he skipped through hell
with a broadcloth under his arm (repeat etc)

And the Miller stills drowns in his dam
and the Weaver still hangs from his yarn
and the litlle Tailor still skips through hell
with a broadcloth under his arm (repeat etc)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Cool Beans
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 07:54 PM

Fascinating thread--informative and entertaining. But I have a question: Why'd the three rogues get in trouble for not singing?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Snuffy
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 08:43 PM

They would not "sing" to the king, would not be stoolpigeons, would not betray their valiant comrades in the class struggle against the oppressive monarchy.

Or maybe just because sing rhymes with king.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Oct 05 - 09:19 PM

"Sieffe"'s text is pretty much the standard song-book one, with the first line altered by somebody (probably recently). I'd guess that the tune, too, is the usual one; but she didn't say.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 21 Apr 07 - 09:57 PM

If I understand the late Bruce Olson correctly, he seems to say the song originated in a parody later given shape by the celebrated singer-songwriter Dibdin. Judging by the scansion, it may not have used the tune we're familiar with (the later verses can be fitted to the tune only with difficulty). I quote from Olson's collection at erols.com:

"About 1600 a ballad came out on 'The Noble Acts, newly found, of Arthur of the Table Round,' commencing, 'When Arthur first in court began, and was approved King.' This was parodied in the 17th century. A 17th & 18th century version goes:

When Arthur first in court began
To wear long hanging sleeves,
He entertained three serving men,
And all of them were thieves.

The first he was an Irishman,
The second he was a Scot,
The third he was a Welshman,
And all were knaves, God wot.

The Irishman loved usquebaugh,   [whiskey]
The Scot love ale called blue-cap,
The Welshman loved toasted cheese,
And made his mouth like a mouse-trap.

Usquebaugh burnt the Irishman's throat,
The Scot was drowned in ale,
The Welshman had like to be choked by a mouse,
But he pulled it out by the tail.

But a version printed in 1781 commences 'In days when good King Stephen reigned.' Somewhat later we find in 'THe Universal Songster, III, p. 430, 1828 (attributed to T. Dibdin):

A Parody Glee Air: When Arthur First in Court Began

Wheb Richard Lion ruled, why, thyen
The Saxons wore long robes,
He entertained three serving-men,
And all of them were rogues.
The first he was a miller bold,
The next he was a weaver,
The third he was a tailor, good lack,
And they were rogues together.

The miller he stole grist from the mill,
The weaver he stole yarn,
The tailor he stole broadcloth
To keep the other rogues warm.
But the miller he got drowned in his mill-dam,
The weaver got hung up in his yarn,
And Tailor Dick went plump to Old Nick]
With the broadcloth under his arm."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Apr 07 - 01:32 PM

A friend in Africa sang it this way:
In the merry old town of Lynn
When we lived under the king
Lived a miller and a weaver and a little tailor
Three jolly rogues of Lynn

refrain:   repeat last line 2x, repeat last 2 lines

Now, the weaver he stole yarn
And the miller he stole corn
And the little tailor he stole broadcloth
For to keep those three rogues warm

Refrain

Well, the miller was drowned in his lake
And the weaver was hanged in his yarn
But the devil got his claw on the little tailor
With his broadcloth under his arm

Refrain

I don't think I've ever heard it on a record or performed...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 10:56 PM

I note that the final verse where the "little tailor skips through hell" is missing from all the earlier versions, which supports the family belief that Richard Dyer-Bennet composed that verse. But I'll check with his widow Melvene.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 11:53 PM

Charlie, Peter Johnson just released a CD "Newport's Fair Town" & I just listened to The Jolly Rouges of Lynn & he has that verse in it but he also says he learnt it from Richard Dyer Bennet........sometime in the 1940's. I didn't know Peter was that old.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 12:25 PM

Barry-

You're only as old as you feel!

Hell, I remember Dyer-Bennet singing this song at a concert at Bowdoin College in the early 1950's. His major recordings have been re-released from Smithsonian-Folkways Recordings. My mother says he also composed the final verse to "The Keeper of the Eddystone Light," the verse where the mermaid shouts "To hell with the keeper of the Eddystone Light!"

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Jeanne
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 06:51 PM

Hi, Bob C and hello, Charley N! Just coming across this thread while searching for something else. Bob, the version Bruce Olsen referred to tells essentially the same story as the Miller/Lynn/Colony variant, but to a different tune.

Claude Simpson identified "When Arthur first in court began" from a 1603 broadside, but said the song was likely older than that, as Falstaff sings the first line of it in Henry IV pt 2, II, iv, written 1596-1599. In 1631, the text was linked in Deloney's Garland of Good Will to the tune "Flying Fame," aka "Chevy Chase," mentioned earlier. More on this in Simpson, The British Broadside Ballad and its Music, 1966, p. 98. "Chevy Chase" suits the Thomas Dibdin text that came from his play Ivanhoe, I, iii (Ann F. Howey, et al, A Bibliography of Modern Arthuriana, 1500-2000, 2006, p. 456), but it doesn't work with the Miller/Lynn/Colony texts.

Ian C's post, the Miller/Weaver/Tailor version of the song (Charles Johnson, London, 1804), is the oldest source mentioned here of a text that suits the "newer" tune -- there wasn't a link to the Bodleian broadside in the thread, so here it is if someone wants it:
http://bodley24.bodley.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/acwwweng/ballads/image.pl?ref=Johnson+Ballads+fol.+84&id=23017.gif&seq=1&size=1

I'd be interested in knowing if there is an earlier example of the musical notation for the second tune than the 1878 sheet music already mentioned in this thread; of the two citations given above (Leonard Deming, Boston, 1829?-1851?, and John Church, Cincinnati, 1878), only the second has notation, and that one calls the setting a "New Arrangement." Since the text had been floating around since the beginning of the century in one form or another on both sides of the Atlantic, it's plausible that there could have been other settings, even by other names, in early 19th- or even late 18th-century Anglophonic songbooks. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 11:13 AM

Jim in Thamesford Ontario hazlewood@globalserve.net


I came across this thread when I was trying to recall a folk ditty from my youth. It went something like this:

There was a farmer had three sons
Three sons to him were born
And he came right home in the middle of the night
And he threw them out of doors.
And he threw them out of doors.
He came right home in the middle of the night
And he threw hem out of doors.

The first he was a stout miller
The second was a spinner of yarn
And the third to be sure as a little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm
With the broadcloth under his arm.
And the third to be sure was a little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm.

The miller he was drowned in his pond
The spinner was hanged in his yarn
And the devil ran away with the little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm
With the broadcloth under his arm
And the devil ran away with the little tailor
With the broadcloth under his arm.

I'm not sure if I have all the words correctly as my memory of the piece is not precise and I may have borrowed subconsciously from some lines in this thread to fill in the blanks in my memory. However, has anyone else heard of this version? It did not have any references to a king - why would it instead refer to a farmer? Second and third stanzas are very similar in content to those listed but I think the one I knew went to a different tune. I'm trying to place that melody as I think it has been used with other words - I'll add that info if I can figure it out. Input or comments most welcome.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Dec 12 - 02:55 PM

Part of the nursery rhyme quoted by Ian 12 Mar 03 also appears in the Scottish "Johnnie Lad":

When auld King Arthur ruled this land,
He was a thieving king.
He stole three bolls of barleycorn
To make a white pudding.

And wi you, etc.

The pudding it was unco guid.
'Twas weel mixed in wi plums.
The lumps of suet into it
Were big as baith my thumbs.

That makes more sense: big lumps, not just two lumps. However, the charming detail about the Queen frying the leftovers is missing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,Beachcomber
Date: 25 Dec 12 - 07:33 AM

I well remember a young man teaching a guitar accompaniment class using this song as his illustration. It would have been, downstairs, in Cecil Sharpe House sometime around 1963/4 . I still have the verse that we wrote down with chords.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn/Cplony Times
From: GUEST,babypix
Date: 19 Sep 13 - 02:23 PM

Gentle Colleagues

Hate to open this can of worms yet again, but something that doesn't seem to be addressed here is "Because they would not sing", is this merely poetic, or does it possibly refer to something more political, such as a cautionary tale for tradesmen would wouldn't pay bribes? name names (e.g., sing)? ...or am I being too analytical?

Thanks,

Deborah Robins


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,babypix
Date: 19 Sep 13 - 02:25 PM

that is, COULD not sing, of course!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Sep 13 - 06:27 PM

I wouldn't read too much into this simple ditty. Dibdin rewrote it as a glee and as such you would probably find it in the many collections of glee books from the late 18thc. The Derby Ram suffered the same treatment among others. Glee clubs were common about this time, particularly in London. They also sang catches or rounds and I've often heard this song sung as a round.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: GUEST,GUTCHER
Date: 20 Sep 13 - 07:10 AM

In a post in OCTOBER 05 a version of the song has Old King Cole as the father, Kyle, the middle part of Ayrshire takes its name from the said king with that part of Ayrshire to the North of Kyle being the home of the Lynns of Lynn one of whom features in the ballad "The Heir Of Lynn"

"The bonny heir the weel faured heir
and the weary heir o Lynn
yonder he stauns at his faithers yett
an naebody bids him cum in"

There is also a place called Lynn on Tweedside.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Jolly Rogues of Lynn
From: Eldergirl
Date: 20 Sep 13 - 02:12 PM

I thought it was King's Lynn, but if there are other Lynns about, why not them?
Always liked the bag-pudding rhyme, too, especially the picture of the queen in crown and robes, wielding a very large frying pan.
Which reminds me of another rhyme:

In days of old when knights were bold
And pants were made of tin,
No mortal cry escaped a guy
Who sat upon a pin.

Profound thought, that.
(tee hee!)


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