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Origins of The Wild Rover

DigiTrad:
HELL'S ANGEL (WILD BIKER)
WILD ROVER (NO NAY NEVER)


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John in Brisbane 04 Sep 98 - 12:32 AM
Albatross 07 Mar 01 - 10:39 AM
IanC 07 Mar 01 - 11:10 AM
MartinRyan 07 Mar 01 - 11:17 AM
Liam's Brother 07 Mar 01 - 11:53 AM
IanC 07 Mar 01 - 12:00 PM
TamthebamfraeScotland 07 Mar 01 - 12:21 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 07 Mar 01 - 12:35 PM
wes.w 07 Mar 01 - 12:43 PM
Clinton Hammond 07 Mar 01 - 12:47 PM
Liam's Brother 07 Mar 01 - 05:42 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Mar 01 - 06:13 PM
Liam's Brother 07 Mar 01 - 10:19 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 07 Mar 01 - 11:41 PM
Les B 07 Mar 01 - 11:50 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 08 Mar 01 - 12:04 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 08 Mar 01 - 12:09 AM
GUEST 08 Mar 01 - 12:36 AM
Wotcha 08 Mar 01 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Norfolk 08 Mar 01 - 03:54 AM
Liam's Brother 08 Mar 01 - 08:39 AM
Liam's Brother 08 Mar 01 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 12:07 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 01:04 AM
Liam's Brother 09 Mar 01 - 01:12 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 02:42 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 03:14 AM
English Jon 09 Mar 01 - 03:35 AM
Liam's Brother 09 Mar 01 - 04:12 AM
sian, west wales 09 Mar 01 - 04:43 AM
Jeri 09 Mar 01 - 10:04 AM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 01 - 07:02 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 01 - 07:10 PM
MartinRyan 11 Mar 01 - 03:47 AM
Bob Bolton 11 Mar 01 - 04:26 AM
MartinRyan 11 Mar 01 - 06:43 AM
John Moulden 11 Mar 01 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 11 Mar 01 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 11 Mar 01 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 11 Mar 01 - 06:04 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Mar 01 - 07:21 AM
Albatross 12 Mar 01 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 12 Mar 01 - 01:24 PM
John Moulden 12 Mar 01 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 12 Mar 01 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 12 Mar 01 - 05:28 PM
pavane 21 Sep 04 - 09:21 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 04 - 10:35 AM
pavane 21 Sep 04 - 02:37 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 04 - 04:45 PM
GUEST 01 Sep 10 - 04:56 PM
IanC 03 Dec 10 - 06:54 AM
Albatross 30 Dec 11 - 09:15 AM
Albatross 30 Dec 11 - 09:19 AM
Jack Campin 30 Dec 11 - 10:42 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: WILD ROVER (NO NAY NEVER)
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 12:32 AM

Click for related thread
A couple of extra verses for this old standard, being the third-last and second-last verses. Goodness knows whether my HTML bold will work.

This is the way I first learned this song.

WILD ROVER (NO NAY NEVER)

I've been a wild rover for many a year
And I spent all my money on whiskey and beer,
And now I'm returning with gold in great store
And I never will play the wild rover no more.

CHO: And it's no, nay, never,
No nay never no more,
Will I play the wild rover
No never no more.

I went to an alehouse I used to frequent
And I told the landlady my money was spent.
I asked her for credit, she answered me "Nay.
Such a custom as yours I could have any day."

CHO:

I took from my pocket ten sovereigns bright
And the landlady's eyes opened wide with delight.
She said, "I have whiskey and wines of the best,
And the words that I spoke sure were only in jest."

She reached up behind her to grab a glass from the shelf,
And I says, "Aha", just laughing to myself.
She said, "But, dear sir, your whiskey is poured."
I said, "Keep/Stick your bad whiskey, you bloody old fraud".

CHO:

There was Katy and Nancy and Margaret and Sue,
And three or four more who belonged to our crew.
We'd stay up 'til midnight and make the place roar.
I've been a wild boy but I'll be one no more.

I'll go home to my parents, confess what I've done,
And I'll ask them to pardon their prodigal son.
And if they caress (forgive) me as ofttimes before,
Sure I never will play the wild rover no more.


TGIF
John


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Subject: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Albatross
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 10:39 AM

To, those interested in the origins of folk tunes and songs: The famous song: The Wild Rover sung by The Dubliners and many others,much loved (and hated) and often requested song is commonly referred to as "Ireland's second national anthem". It was noted down by Cecil Sharp in about 1900 in Norfolk, Eastern England. Does anyone know if the song originally came from Norfolk? Maybe it was just one version that was collected of a song that was universal at that time. The text doesn't really give much clue to it's origin although one could easily believe that the wild rover would be Irish. Regards, Albatross (a keen supporter of Irish music who grew up in Norfolk)


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: IanC
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 11:10 AM

Hi

The Dubliners' version came from Ewan McColl & Peggy Seeger's "The Singing Island", published in 1960. The song was collected in 1953 (I think) from Sam Larner in Norfolk.

Broadside versions of the song exist from circa 1800 at least and there are other variant versions collected in various parts of England and also (I think) Ireland this century.

Cheers!
Ian

PS there's lots of other threads about this one, put Wild Rover into the filter and set for 2 years!


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: MartinRyan
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 11:17 AM

The real irony is that it appears to have been written for the temperance movement - and became a drinking song!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 11:53 AM

About 1970, The English Folk Dance & Song Society came out with a series of books with songs from the Hammond & Gardiner manuscripts. I noticed that there were a lot of Irish songs in them: Marrow Bones, The Wonton Seed, The Constant Lovers and The Foggy Dew.

A explanation (which I recall was made somewhere in one of the books) is that many of the hawkers of broadsides were Irish. Maybe they were Famine refugees. In addition the Great Famine (1847 - 1853), there were a number of other famines in the 19th century.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: IanC
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 12:00 PM

Dan

The more obvious - and correct - explanation is that many of these songs are common to all the English speaking peoples and have been for a long time.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: TamthebamfraeScotland
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 12:21 PM

I was told that it was an English Folk songs, and then it went over to Ireland and almost became an unoffical national anthem.

I also heard of the song in Australia, where there's a different version.

Tom


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 12:35 PM

Basically, the further back you go in time, the more you have to assume that songs in English moved into, rather than out of Ireland . Lots of reasons: the strength of the Irish language , relatively limited literacy in English, location of printers etc. IanC is right that many of the songs effectively became a common pool with local variations.

There often seems to be a tendency to assume that songs are Irish in origin - because they survived longest in Ireland, in oral tradition. But of course, it doesn't follow! We should be thankful that the damn things DID survive - and not be too anxious to claim their origin. Such details are worth teasing out for the insights they give us into the songs and the societies from which they emerged but in the end - songs are for singing!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: wes.w
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 12:43 PM

Dan-
Irish 'expert' friends say that some English language 'Irish ballads' are descendents of old English ballads, in contrast to the wholly Irish Sean Nos.
Perhaps that's a part of the story of why you think they are Irish too. But I'm sure that music like this has been going back and forth between these islands for hundreds of years, just like Ian C says.
For instance, Thomas Hardy, the novelist, had tune books containing lots of English, Irish and Scots tunes, written out by his ancestors, ordinary country people, before the Great Famine.


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Subject: The Wild Rover
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 12:47 PM

Now I've been a folk singer for many's a year (drunken slurr) "Can ya *hic* shhling the Wild Rover"
Is all that I hear
So I think I'll retire to live on the dole
Where I won't have to play The Wild Rover no more!!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 05:42 PM

The statement "some English language 'Irish ballads' are descendents of old English ballads" is literally quite correct. (You would have to add Scots ballads to that also.) But which ballads? Certainly, there is nothing in the old broadside copies of "The Wild Rover" I've viewed that makes the song unequivocably English or Irish or any nationality. Yes, many songs are known in a few countries with the origin long obscured. "The Cruel Mother" is not indigenous to Ireland but "The Wild Rover?" I don't think you can say where "The Wild Rover" originated. I agree with Martin Ryan that's it's just great it did survive - even if it is done to death. God bless those broadside hawkers!

Regarding the Irish languague, I'm looking at a map of the distribution of Irish speakers in Ireland in 1851. It shows that more than 75% of the population were not Irish speakers in an area to the east of a line roughly from Letterkenny, through Roscommon Town to Limerick City, and through Kilkenny to Waterford. I have nothing older than that but it is interesing however.

Now, about "Tim Finegan's Wake" - did you know it was written in New York City?

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 06:13 PM

A good clue to songs which originate in Ireland is when they have complicated internal rhyme schemes and para-rhymes, and words clearly put in for the sound rather than the strict meaning. And the good old Norfolk Rover doesn't have any of that malarkey.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 10:19 PM

Excellent point, Mr. McGrath! Internal rhyming and a "freer" (actually different standard of) rhyming are dead giveaways that a song was written by an Irishman but there are plenty of Irish songs that don't employ this.

Hey, maybe it is from Norfolk, I don't know. I would not be unhappy with that. Can it be proved though?


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 11:41 PM

Note that there are 7 issues of "Wild Rover" on the Bodley Ballads website and multiple copies of an 8th. All are by English printers, and it's no later than 1838.

Dan Milner, note that Frank Purslow was quick to identify any unknown good tune as Irish. He thought that's were most good English folk tune came from.

Origins ai going to remain a vexing questions for a long time. There is circumstantial evidence that the English knew and revised many Scots songs (Broom of Cowdens by c 1625-30). However they were revisted to fit contmporary tastes in England and one can pin down very well exactly what is Scots in some of them (Barbara Allan). Evidence is much more scant on Irish songs. "The Irish Lady" in the Dancing Master from 1651 is certainly Irish, because a version of it pops up later as "Teagues Ramble" The Teague song is Anglo-Irish and found on English broadsides, but the tune is not found in Enlish music sources. All Irish exept the earliest as "Nell of Connaught" in Oswald's CPC.

It's pretty obvious by looking in 18th century Irish songbook that the English in Ireland followed English tastes. It's difficult but far from impossible to find any (Anglo-)Irish songs. Gaelic was rare and it's phonetic Gaelic of extremly variable spelling that we get for tune titles, not songs, although researchs have found some of the original songs, but not from printed Irish sources. Gaelic speaking Irish weren't printers.

Give credit the the English for good taste; they devoured what was good no matter where it came from, and got some version published.

However, it seems to me that no matter the origin, it was to a large extent the British ballad printers that kept a lot of songs going, at least to the early 19th century (I only know of a MacGee as an Irish printer in the 18th century, and so far as I know all extant copies of his songs are in Harvard's collection).

There's a list of Irish broadsides in the huge Lauriston Castle Collection of NLS, compiled by Emily Lyle and published in (Eigse Cheol Tire) 'Irish Folk Music Studies', but all seem to be 19th century. The Bodleian Library also has a collection of ballads in Gaelic, but I don't know if they're Scots or Irish (and I've forgotten to look for them on the Bodley Ballads website.)

I'm afraid the battle of origins is going to go on forever, and we'll never find much solid evidence to prove anything.

Note that in a file on my website, I've made a case for an (Anglo-)Irish song being known in England in the late 16th century, "Derry's Fair" (a quarter century before Derry was given to London to became Londonderry). Also the tune "Braganderry" seems to be an undoubted corruption of a Gaelic title. Bragh and Breagh can mean several things and that part is far from certain (probably connected with false/toy/imitation or something close), and an daire is 'of oak' (Derry was named from it's oaks).

Take a look in my Scarce songs 1 file to see an Irish song and tune, "Pretty Peggy of Darby, Oh" that quickly disappeared in Ireland, only to turn up everywhere else, and it's was use as late as the civil war for a song on the battle of the Monitor and Merrimac (Song on Lib. of Congress recording- full text, naming same tune in Levy collection). (Bonnie Lass of Fyvie O". Well known "Scewball" has turned up in Ireland only in recent years, (and 18th century if not 17th) "Druimin Dubh Deelis" survived mostly in North America (Scarce Songs 1 again).

More than enough, I fear. Bye


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Les B
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 11:50 PM

Liam's Brother - can you elaborate on Finnegan's Wake being written in New York, please.

I discovered a few years ago that the song was sung (probably in the 1870's) by one of leaders of the vigilantes who rightfully or wrongly (depending on which history book you read) cleaned out Montana's outlaws in the 1860's.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 12:04 AM

It seems that the brittish imperialists
Again saved the day with their printers and lists
And so while they tortured the Irish and Scots
Such good taste in culture; to have the 'have nots'...
ttr


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 12:09 AM

"Finigan's Wake" was by Poole. He's only one of a group of Irish songwriters that congregated around Tony Pastor's (forgot name) big concert hall in New York in the mid 19th century, where the entertainment was Irish centered.

PS to note above. See history of "Callino" in file BMADD on my website (under broadside ballad tunes) it got renamed "In summer time" about 1584 and was often used for ballads for over a century under it's new title. It got attached to Carroll Malone's "The Croppy Boy" (litterary one, not folk one) soon after it was written (1843). It remained in use for hymns in the Wester Isle of Scotland into the 20th century.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 12:36 AM

Thomas the Rhymer, your rhymes are poor, but not nearly so bad as your grossly exaggerated political propanda. This isn't the place for that kind of stuff, as has been noted on the Mudcat Forum many times before.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Wotcha
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 02:22 AM

Note the sea chantey "The Holy Ground" which sounds very Irish but is -- according to Stan Hugill -- a borrowed version of "Swansea Town" and thus Welsh ...
Cheers,
Brian


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Norfolk
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 03:54 AM

The Broads to be exact. I note with some curiousity that there was and reamains a great Fiddling tradition there and I am not surprised that fine songs can be found in.

Information

Thomas Hardy lived in Dorset ( County ) England, again I am not surprised to learn his family collected Folk Music. BTW Thomas played as well as wrote. The area once hosted 'Fiddle' bands which included the 'Alto Fiddle' now rarely if ever seen, much less played.

Ireland. A great location for collecting and there are many fine tunes in the Tradition.

I find the attempt to 'Nationalise' songs and tunes in the British Isles fraught with complication, since travellers often brought stuff from one place to another with ease. It is still the case today.

Who in Ireland that first hears 'John BarleyCorn' will not be amazed, and who in England that first hears 'The Foggy Dew' will not be amazed?

I could have chosen a Scottish song or a Welsh one but I think the point is well made.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 08:39 AM

Hi Les B!

As Bruce O indicates above, John F. Poole, a Dubliner, wrote "Tim Finegan's Wake" (sic) in New York in the early 1860s. He fashioned it after a popular concert saloon song, "A Fine Ould Irish Gentleman."

Poole died, ultimately, from injuries sustained from falling off a ladder. Truth is stranger than fiction.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 08:50 AM

Hi Bruce O!

Glad to see you back!

Was Frank Purslow right?

I suspect that the Irish song tradition is less anchored in print than the English song tradition. Less money was probably a factor, along with lower literacy and, perhaps, a greater respect for oral tranmission.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 12:07 AM

Thanks Dan, I haven't been away, just on different threads. I don't know if Purslow was right. Want to stressed note code all his tunes so we can compare with all the Irish ones pre 1860 in the file COMBCOD2.TXT? (and I do mean every known Irish tune pre 1860)

PS: "A fine old Irish Gentleman" is about a 4th or 5th generation reworking of the 17th century English "Queen's Old Courtier" to the tune "Old Soldiers of the Queen". I know the tune is an ABC in my broadside ballad tunes. I've forgotten for sure if I put the song on my website. I think I did, and have, if not there elsewhere, the author of the Irish "A fine Old Irish Gentleman". I never got back to get a version of about 1800, and failed to copy Thomas Hudson's of about 1820 that I ran across. [My xerox copy, with music, of "A fine old Irish gentleman" is from an Irish-American songbook of 1864, where author is unidentified.]


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 12:34 AM

Sorry, it looks like I never finished "Queen's Old Courtier" and "Fine old English/Irish Gentleman". I found an html file with two of the songs on my hard disk, but without notes yet, or an ABC the 1864 Irish version of the tune. Can't finish until Saturday at the earliest.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 12:43 AM

[Miscounted. Here's what I've got typed up so far.]

Old Courtier
[Roxburghe Ballads, from Le Prince d/Amour, 1660.]

An old song made by an old aged pate,
Of an old worshipful gentleman, had a wealthy estate,
That kept an old house at a bountiful rate,
And an old Porter to relieve poor people at his gate,
Like and old courtier of the Queen's,
And the Queen's old courtier.

With an old Lady whose anger one word asswageth,
Who every quarter paid his old servants their wages,
Who never knew what belonged to coachman, footman, nor pages,
But kept two and fifty men in blew caps and badges.
Like an old courtier, &c.

With an old study, stuft full of old learned books,
And an old parson, you may know him by his looks;
And an old butt'ry-hatch worn quite off the old hooks,
And an old kitchin that maintain'd half a doxen old cooks.
Like an old courtier, &c.

With an old hall hung with pikes, guns, and bows,
AAnd old blades and bucklers, had borne many shrowd blows,
With an old freezadoe coat to cover his trunck hose,
With an old cup of sherry to comfort his old nose.
Like an old courtier, &c.

When an old fashion, when Christmas was come,
To call in all his old neighbours with a bagpipe or a drum,
And good cheer enough to furnish out every old room,
And beer and ale would make a cat to speak, and a wise man dumb.
Like an old courtier, &c.

With an old faulkner, a huntsman, and a kennel of hounds,
That never hauked nor hunted but in his grand-father's old grounds,
Who like a wise man kept himself in his own old bounds,
And when he died gave each child a thousand old pounds.
Like an old courtier, &c.

But to his son and heir his lands he assign'd,
With an old will to charge him to keep the same bountiful minde,
To be good to his old tenants, and to his old neighbours kinde,
But in the next ditty you shall hear how he was inclin'de.
Like a new courtier of the King's,
And the King's new courtier.

The New Courtier

With a flourishing gallant, who is newly come to his land,
Who keeps a brace of painted creatures at his own command,
And can take up readily a thousand pounds on his bond,
And drink in a new tavern, till he can neither go nor stand,
Like a new courtier, &c.

With a new lady whose face is beautiful and fair,
Who never knew what belong'd to house-keeping nor care,
But purchas'd seven colour'd fans to play the wanton ayr,
And seventeen new dressings of other women's hair,
Like a new, &c.

With a new study full of pamphlets and playes,
With a new Chaplin, that drinks oftener than he prays,
With a new butt'ry-hatch opens once in five or six days,
With a new French cook to devise cickshaws and toys,
For the new, &c.

With a new hall builded where an old hall stood,
Hung round with new pictures, does the poore little good,
With a new shouel-board whereon never stood food,
With 22 fair chimnies never burnt coals nor wood.
For the new, &c.

With a new fashion when Christmas was drawing on,
Upon a new journey they must all to London be gon,
And leave none to keep house in the country, but their new man John,
Who relieves all his neighbours with a great thump on the back with a cold stone,
For the new, &c.

With a new gentleman-usher whose carriage is compleat,
With a new coachman, and two footmen to carry the meat,
With a new waiting geltlewoman whose dressing is very neat,
Who when he lady hath dined gives her fellow very little meat,
Like a new, &c.

When new titles of honor bought with his grand-faather's old gold,
For which most of his father's mannors were all sold,
And that's one cause housekeeping is grown so cold,
Yet this is the new course most of our new gallants hold.
Like new courtiers of the King's, and the King's new courtiers.

Thus have you heard of the old courtiers and the new,
And for the last I could wish never a word were true,
With these rude lines which I dedicate to you,
And these rude verrses I present to your view.
By the poor courtier of the King's, and the King's poor courtier.

The Old English Gentleman [nominally Hudson's, 1821, but I neglected to copy his text. In the interim here's that given by Ebsworth, 1876. I neglected to copy a version in a songbook of c 1800.]

I'll sing you a good old song, made by a good old pate,
Of a fine old English gentleman, who had an old estate,
And who kept up his old mansion, at a bountiful old rate;
With a good old porter to relieve the poor at his gate.
Like a fine old English gentleman, all of the olden time.

His hall so old was hung around with pikes, and guns and bows,
And swords, and good old bucklers, that had stood against old foes;
'Twas there "his worship" held his state in doublet and trunk hose,
And quaff'd his cup of good old sack, to warm his good old nose:
Like a fine old English gentleman, &c.

When winter's cold brought frost and snow, he open'd house to all;
And though three-score and ten his years, he featly led the ball;
Nor was the houseless wanderer e'er driven from his hall,
For, while he feasted all the great, he ne'er forgot the small:
Like a fine old English gentleman, &c.

But time, though sweet, is strong in flight, and years roll swiftly by;
And autumn's falling leaves proclaim'd, the old man - he must die!
He laid him down right tranquilly, gave up life's latest sigh;
While a heavy stillness reign'd around, and tears dimm'd every eye.
For this good old English gentlman &c.

Now surely this is better far than all the new parade
Or theatres and fancy balls, "At home," and masquerade;
And much more economical, when all the bills are paid:
Then leave your new vagaries off, and take up the old trade
Of a fine old English gentleman, &c.

The Fine Ould Irish Gentleman [Howe's Songs of Ireland, 1864]

I'll sing you a dacent song, that was made by a Paddy's pate,
Of a real old Irish gentleman who had a fine estate,
Whose mansion it was made of mud, with thatch and all complete, With a hole at the top thro' which the smoke graceful did retrate;
Hurrah for the Irish gentleman, the boy of the oulden time.

His walls so cold werre covered wid the devil a thing for show,
Except an ould shillelah, which had knocked down many a foe,
And there ould Barney sits at ease without a shoe or hose,
And quaffs his noggin of poteen to warm his big red nose,
Like a fine ould Irishman, the boy of the oulden time.

To Donnybrook his custom was, to go to ev'ry fair,
And tho' he'd seen a few score years, he still was young when there,
And while the rich they feasted him, he still among the poor
Would sing, and dance, and hurl, and fight, and make the spaleens roar,
Like a real ould Irish gentleman, the boy of the oulden time.

But och! mavrone! once at a row, ould Barney got a knock,
And one thaat kilt him, 'cause he could'nt -- overget the shock;
They laid him out so beautiful, and then set up a groan,
Och! Barney darlint, jewel, dear-- why did ye die? och hone!
Then they waked the Irish gentleman, the boy of the oulden time.

Tho' all things in their course must change, and seasons pass away,
Yet Irish hearts, of oulden time, were just as at this day.
Each Irish boy he took a pride to prove himself a man--
To serve a friend, and bate a foe, it always was the plan
Of a raal ould Irish gentleman, the boy of the oulden time.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 01:04 AM

Here's the rest that I have for songs. I haven't done the notes yet.

[Not copied; in New Songs. The Fashionable Songster, Manchester: Hooper and Hope, 1801:

Moderation and Alteration

Here's an old song made by a good old antient pate.
Of a worthy old gentleman who had a good estate.
...........................................]


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 01:12 AM

First, Bruce, I would like to thank you most sincerely for laying out the (backwards) trail of "The Fine Ould Irish Gintleman" which I have encountered in a few places and copied from "The Shilling Song Book" of Oliver Ditson & Co., Boston, 1860. Because it is a little older than your copy (above) and somewhat different, I will append it below at a more respectable hour. Let me know if you don't need it.

Second, at some convenient time for you, I would LOVE to have a personal tour of your website but you must bear in mind that I am a life-long salesman/folksinger - so no initials for things that I can not readily understand even when you do not use initials for them. What do you say?

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 02:22 AM

I don't have any idea how to organize a personal tour. Some of that on my website has been there close to 3 years, and like here, I've forgotten about a lot I do have. Could you make that a bit more specific? And I'm not sure I understand about the intitials. Do you mean the short form identifiers I've used for sources? They're spelled out at the beginning of files that use them.

The name of the author of the Irish "The fine Old Irish Gentleman" I didn't copy down. Ebsworth gave it either in Roxburghe Ballads, above, or more likely in connection with drollery versions of "The Queen's Old Courtier". With Ebsworth erratic editorship (on which C. M Simpson wrote a whole article on his brosdside ballad books) it's going to take a while to find it. I'm now at the point I have to leave until tomorrow night. (I think the slightly later "Old Soldiers of the Queen" is in 'Pills to Purge Melancholy'.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 02:42 AM

Got back out of bed when I remember I hadn't checked the Levy Collection. In that is yet another version, "The Good Old Irish Gentleman", 1840.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 03:14 AM

Yet more. Several copies of "Fine Old English Gentleman" attributed to a Purdy, and imitations on "Old Adam" and another about Price Albert. (Use title search on 'fine old', for title and tune of)


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: English Jon
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 03:35 AM

Throwing a completely new spanner in the works, is it worth pointing out that East anglia is full of Dutch? Vermuyden and all that lot, digging bloody great drains etc? Is het Wild Rover een oude Nederlaanse liedtje?

There's a fabulous record by Swedish Trio "Frifot" that has a song on it that is obviously related to the English ballad "Long Lankin". etc etc.

Brian, your "Swansea Town" I've heard as

"Her hair it was as black as soot/ in bunches hanging down,/ I've searched the world all over/ But her equal can't be found/ She's the Blooming Rose of London/ And the Lass of Canning Town."

The point is that this sort of transmission of music happens all the time. If someone hears a good tune, they'll learn it. To whit: all the English players of Irish music. This is not a new thing, and while it makes a load of problems for Ethnomusicologists, it's basically a good thing.

Cheers,

Jon


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 04:12 AM

Bruce, I was a salesman in the airline business for 32 years and I ran the company's tour division for a couple of those years so "personal tours" are something I'm naturally accoustomed to.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: sian, west wales
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 04:43 AM

Bruce, could you post the URL for your site, please?

sian


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Jeri
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 10:04 AM

Bruce's website, which is on the links page, is http://users.erols.com/olsonw/.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 01 - 07:02 PM

G'day all,

It's worth remembering that Wild Rover is one of a family of related 'Rover's Return' (or 'Ruin' songs. I posted an interesting one back in June last year.It has been 'harvested' but is not yet in the DigiTrad.

This is collected in the 1950s from Sally Sloane, a lovely old singer in New South Wales, Australia and, although a lot of Sally's songs came through her Irish grandmother, Sarah Alexander, this is clearly an English, indeed a London song.

Regards,

Bob Bolton

I Have Been A Wild Boy

Oh, my father he died and he left me his estate,
I married a lady whose fortune was great,
And through keeping bad company, I've spent all my store,
I have been a wild boy but I'll be so no more.

Oh, there was Bill, Tom and Harry, and Betsy and Sue,
And two or three others belonged to our crew.
We sat up till midnight and made the town roar,
Oh, I've been a wild boy but I'll be so no more.

I was always too fond of treating ladies to wine,
Till my pockets rew empty, too soon I would find;
Twenty pounds in one night, oh, I've spent them and more,
Oh, I've been a wild boy but I'll be so no more.

Oh, it's first down to Newgate, a prisoner I stand,
I had on cold irons, I had to lament,
And I had to find comfort as I lay on the floor,
Oh, I've been a wild boy but I'll be so no more.

Oh, the next, down to Newgate a prisoner I stand,
And what I have longed for, is now out of hand,
And if ever I gain my liberty, as I've had before,
I will be a good boy as I have been before.

Oh, bad luck to all married men who visit strange doors,
I have done so myself, but I'll do so no more,
I'll go home to my family, I'll go home to my wife,
And I'll be a good boy all the rest of my life.


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


ABC format:

X:1
T:
M:3/4
Q:1/4=120
K:C
F5G|A3GA2|F2D2C2|D2F2G2|F4c2|d2d2c^A|^A2c2d2|
A3GF2|G4c2|d2d2c^A|^A2c2d2|A3GF2|G4FG|A3GA2|
F4DC|D2F3G|F5/2||


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 01 - 07:10 PM

G'day again,

I should have mentioned that the tune Sally sang to this is one that I subsequently heard sung by a visiting English folksinger in the (~) '80s to a parting song called Here's a Health to the Company (which I also mentioned in a thread on The other 'Parting Glass'.

He said Here's a Health to the Company was then commonly used as a finishing ("Now go home!") song at English folk clubs and sessions, but I had not heard it in Australia and don't know anything of its history.

I have included the MIDItext of the tune for anyone interested.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 03:47 AM

Bob

Here's a Health.. is still often used to end singing sessions - at least in Ireland. Mind you, I find the version used a bit annoying because some parts make little sense as usually sung. I don't mid being puzzled by a song - but not when the anser to the puzzle is obviouis!

Anyway: that's a nice "WIld Boy" version you've given.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 04:26 AM

G'day Martin,

The MIDItext is from Sally's singing of I've Been a Wild Boy and there are, undoubtedly, some differences from the Here's a Health to the Company tune as I heard it some 20 years back. I won't vouch for the distribution and use in UK or Ireland folk sessions, as I have never been to either ... I am only drawing on my memory of the singer's remarks.

I must say, on reflection, that there is some humour in trying to pin down the precise provenance and peregrinations of a song called The Wild Rover!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 06:43 AM

Bob

Exactly!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: John Moulden
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 08:09 AM

This one has been swaying back and forth, from Wild Rover, to Here's a health to the company, to the Fine old Irish gentleman - there are multiple adaptations and parodies of that one.

There was however, a reference early in the thread, to Frank Purslow's statement that many balld sheet hawkers in England were Irish. This is interesting to me since I am soon starting a research job for a Centre at National University of Ireland, Galway (but working from home) on the "Popular printed ballad in early nineteenth century Irealnd." Much of the work will involve aspects of the trade and will build on some of the work done in England by RS Thomson.

Dan, can you remember where Frank said that - I'm corresponding with him at present on the curious history of Fanny Blair and could add a question about his evidence I suppose.

Bruce, your work goes back as far as anybody's. While the braodside press in Ireland really only got going in the 1780, there is a lot of evidence of earlier trade - 17th century and as early as 1737 in Dublin. Do you have any ideas on the best starting date for my study. I hope I'll be able to call on you assistance and critical faculty.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 11:32 AM

Nice to see you back John. I'll do some checking when I get home, John, in a few hours. Don't know if I'll be able to find it, but one seventeenth century broadside, had a little adv. at the bottom of the sheet saying basically thet the printer could supply just about anything to English and Irish chapmen.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 02:26 PM

I may never relocate that adv. to English and Irish chapman ref. I didn't note it my broadside ballad index (but noted another in Pepys' colln addressed to 'any chapmen'). A quick thumb through didn't turn it up in Leslie Shepard's 'The Broadside Ballad". He liked to throw in tidbits like that.

Got my Irish 18th century printer mixed up with a Scotsman of slightly different name, and loosely used 'broadside' for that and song chapbooks. See ZN79 in by broadside ballad index for a song published by the Irish one (Macgee), in Belfast, 1764.

John, some work on ballad opera history said that Charles Coffey (evidently Irish) took the title for his ballad opera "The Boarding School", 1733, from a broadside, presumed Irish, copy in NLI. No mention was made of a publisher's imprint. (The short statement in the ballad opera tune index on my website at "Make you honour's miss" may not be 100 % correct, but I don't have the original to check.) I don't have the first line, so don't know if two copies of one of that title in the Madden collection (Steve Roud's broadside index) are the same song. (No copies by title or first line on the Bodley Ballads website that I could find.)

Please pass my regards to Frank from me. Our brief correspondance ended about 30 years ago. "The Flash Lad" on my website was due to his spotting it and in copying it out for me from Douce 10 at the Bodleian.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 11 Mar 01 - 06:04 PM

Correction, Ebsworth mentions and quotes a bit of "The Rale Ould Irish Gintleman" (5 verses he says) from Dinny Blake's Sprig of Shillelah (pretty much a generic title), but doesn't say specifically that Blake wrote it, nor does he give it's date.

His notes on other descends, 'Fine old/(even young) x gentleman' are in his notes to 'An Antidote to Melancholy' (1661) in his reprint edition of 'Choyce Drollery' (1656), 1876 (of which 'Choyce Drollery' isn't a large part).


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 07:21 AM

G'day again,

John Moulden (and Bruce O): I don't have the reference in front of me but, somewhere a decade or two back, I remember the reference from Henry Mayhew, the English journalist / proto-sociologist / ~anthropologist, (in his book, The London Poor, ~ 1850?) that the most common tune used by ballad sheet sellers, to hawk their wares, was Youghal Harbour ... the tune also used for Boulavogue and (in Australia) for Moreton Bay, a folk song based ultimately on a poem by "Frank the Poet" (Irish convict Francis McNamara).

This would certainly be because so many of them (in 1850) would have been displaced Irishmen from the 'famine' ... something on which he comments in other entries, such as that on costermongers.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Albatross
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 12:50 PM

Many thanks to all the informed contributions on this thread.

It is pleasing that it generated a lot of interest. In summary it seems it is not clear what the origins are. It is probably a very old song and, like many, of unknown origin but sung in many parts of the British Isles and Ireland in various forms. Norfolk, like many isolated areas, merely preserved some of the old songs and tunes longer. It interesting that often there isn't just one way to sing a song or play a tune and also the song or tune is extracted from years of complex interconnected Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Anglo-Saxon history.

Sometimes fans of Irish music try to be purist about it and look down on 'non-Irish' music, especially people from other parts of Europe or the world without realising the intricate threads and links that Irish music has with British music. However of course there should always be respect for the beautiful, skillful and sensitive way that Irish music is often played.

Ewan MacColl once said he sung his 'Shoals of Herring' to the old Norfolk singer Sam Larner who after hearing it said: "Oive known that song all me loife" It has been heard sung in Ireland as the 'Shores of Erin'. It natural for people when raising the profile of one identity to try to define it better at the exclusion of other identities but that process over simplifies a complex history.

The old english tune 'Girl I left behind me' or 'Brighton Camp' or 'Bride in Camp' appears to be very old, used by the cavalry in America, and in various Irish songs such as 'Bucket of the Mountain Dew' and is used in English Morris Dancing. And of course Morris Dancing, heralded as one of the few things that are particularly 'English', has many quite definitely Scottish and Irish tunes, presumably brought to the Cotswolds by itinerant travelling musicians or 'wild rovers'!

Albatross


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 01:24 PM

You'll find most of the verifiable history of "The Girl I left behind me" in the Scarce Songs 1 file on my website, where some of it is from my researchs (oldest known copy of song, etc). Songs and tune are very probably Irish, although, as usual, the English were quick to appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: John Moulden
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:38 PM

Thanks for your readiness to help, Bruce and everybody else. I looked through the notes in Frank Purslow's four books, to check on Dan's (Liam's Brother's) reference (and found it) and on the way noticed thanks to "an American colleague, William B Olsen" - you've been being helpful for a long time, Bruce. Frank does indeed frequently allude to Irish origin on little evidence - however, in the case of Fanny Blair, he was dead right. Using all the ballad sheet prints I could find, I conjectured that the incident, which gave rise to the song, happened in the late 17th century, close to the Parish of Tartaraghan, in north Armagh and that the protagonists were Fanny Blair and Dennis Hagan and that local notabilities called Workman, Dawson and probably, Verner (rather than Vernon) were also involved, possibly in some legal fashion.

By a lucky coincidence I was led to newspaper reports of the Armagh summer Assizes of 1785 where Dennis Hagan (formerly a servant to Francis Obré of Clantilew House, in the Parish of Tartaraghan) was condemened to death for the "rape of a very young woman of the county." The newspapers did not name the girl.

Because of the 1922 bombardment of the Irish Record Office, very few older court records survive in Ireland. However, the Assizes Indictments Book for Co Armagh was elsewhere and shows that in the summer of 1785 Dennis Hagan was arraigned before the Grand Jury for the County, three of whose members were called, Verner, Workman and Dawson; his prosecutrix was named as Frances Blair.

Well spotted Frank Purslow.

However, the really interesting thing is that the song is totally unknown, in print or in tradition, in Ireland. Its ballad sheet circulation appears to have been confined to England and northern prints tend to be closer to fact than those printed in London.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:22 PM

Thanks John, I'd found out there were old copies of "Fanny Blair", but knew nothing of the origin.

PS: Frank revised one statement I made concerning an old song (what was it now, "Kitt hath lost her key"?) and his restatement of it didn't come out quite right, obviously because I didn't state in clearly in the first place. [I don't like being pedantic, but if that's to only way to get to the right place and not imply something further I do it.)


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:28 PM

Let me make it clear that my contributions to Frank Purslow were quite trivial, and I was amazed to see my name pop up in his books.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: pavane
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 09:21 AM

Has anyone commented on 'The Alewives invitation' in the Bodley collection. (Between 1672 and 1696)

It seems to have many resemblences to the Wild Rover, both in story line and words. The words would also fit to the Wild Rover tune.
See the first verse:

Good fellows come hither, tis to you I speak
Good counsel here's for you if you it would take
In thy pockets may save thee many a crown
Where ever thou walkest in city or town
It's known a good fellow I've been many a year
And much have I spend in wine and strong beer
For so long as I had money, my kind hostess she
Would cry come when thou wilt boy, thou art welcome to me

In that excerpt, we have the phrases 'many a year' 'Wine & strong beer', and elsewhere in the text there are references to alehouses, credit (or refusal of), store (of money), all of which are found in Wild Rover.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 10:35 AM

The Wild Rover as we know it today started out as an English broadside song of the early 19th (just possibly late 18th) century; this however was a re-write, much shortened, of an earlier song by Thomas Lanfiere. Lanfiere wrote a whole series of sermonising tavern or "goodfellows" songs in the latter part of the 17th century, contemporary with the Brooksby song mentioned above (some were published by Brooksby). I don't know if he wrote The Alewife's Invitation, but it belongs to the same genre and employs some of the same commonplaces.

Bruce Olson and Jack Campin both quoted references to The Good Fellow's Resolution at various times in usenet discussions, which I later followed up. The Bodleian doesn't have a copy of this one, but it is transcribed in Roxburghe Ballads. Thomas Lanfiere's song is of 13 stanzas. I quote verses 1, 8 and 9, which are the core of the 19th century broadside re-writes.


The Good Fellow's Resolution; Or, The Bad Husband's return from his Folly
Being a Caveat for all Spend-Thrifts to beware of the Main Chance.

By T[homas] Lanfiere.


I have been a bad Husband this full fifteen year,
And have spent many pounds in good ale and strong beer:
I have Ranted in Ale-houses day after day,
And wasted my time and my Money away:
But now I'le beware, and have a great care,
Lest at the last Poverty falls to my share:
For now I will lay up my Money in store,
And I never will play the bad Husband ne more.

* * *

I went to an Hostiss where I us'd to resort,
And I made her believe that money was short;
I askt her to trust me, but she answered "Nay,
Enough of such Guests I can have every day."
Then quoth she, "Pray, forbear, there's no staying here,
Except you have money, you shall have no beer."
But now...

I pull'd out a handful of Money straightway,
And shew'd it unto her, to hear what she'd say;
Quoth she, "You shall have Beer and ale of the best,
You are kindly welcome, I did but speak in jest."
"O no, no," said I, "your words I defie,
I'le see you hang'd ere with you I'le spend a penny."
But now...

* * *

Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, J. Clarke, W. Thackeray, and T. Passinger.

J W Ebsworth (ed), Roxburghe Ballads, Hertford: The Ballad Society, vol VI 1889, 342-345. Roxburghe Collection II 200; Jersey Collection II 269.

Printed before the end of 1682, when Vere's name ceases to appear. The tune specified, The Plow-man's Honour made known, seems to be lost.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: pavane
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 02:37 PM

The Alewives invitation is to the tune Digby's Farewell - is that known?

It was 'printed for P Brooksby, at the Golden Ball'

Clearly, The Good Fellow's Resolution is closer to the Wild Rover, and yes, the style of The Alewives Invitation' does look similar.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 04:45 PM

Digby's Farewell is a bit of a complicated issue. Simpson prints three tunes which may not actually be related to each other: I'll have to come back to that later on when I have a bit more time.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 10 - 04:56 PM

A Welshman recently told me (Aug 2010) that the words of The
Wild Rover, as performed by, The Dubliner's, were written by
the Grandmother of the famous Cla


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: IanC
Date: 03 Dec 10 - 06:54 AM

A Welshman might have told you this, but I think it is fairly common knowledge that The Dubliners got their version from "The Singing Island" eds. MacColl/Seeger (1960). The version in there was, in turn, collected from Sam Larner, Norfolk fisherman, in 1959.

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Albatross
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:15 AM

I remember Ewan MacColl saying that he first sung his newly written Shoals of Herring to Sam Larner in Great Yarmouth to hear his opinion about it. ewan said the greatest accolade that he could have got was when Sam smiled and said: "Oive known that song all me loife....."


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Albatross
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 09:19 AM

PS Ewan said that in about 1983 in Luton Folk Club.


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Subject: RE: Origins of The Wild Rover
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Dec 11 - 10:42 AM

None of the "Digby's Farewell" tunes are anything like the modern "Wild Rover". Nor are any of them very interesting.


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