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Help: Four and Twenty Ponies / Smuggler's Song

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A PRESENT FROM THE GENTLEMEN


Related threads:
Lyr Req: A Smuggler's Song (Rudyard Kipling) (15)
INFO: Audio to Smuggler's Song? Dawson's version (10)
Chords Req: A Smuggler's Song (Rudyard Kipling) (14)


GUEST,Heely 22 Mar 02 - 11:23 AM
Bullfrog Jones 22 Mar 02 - 11:38 AM
Sorcha 22 Mar 02 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Heely 22 Mar 02 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Heely 22 Mar 02 - 11:47 AM
Bullfrog Jones 22 Mar 02 - 12:06 PM
Desert Dancer 22 Mar 02 - 01:05 PM
Mrrzy 22 Mar 02 - 01:47 PM
Mrrzy 22 Mar 02 - 01:49 PM
Gareth 22 Mar 02 - 02:13 PM
lamarca 22 Mar 02 - 03:30 PM
Charley Noble 22 Mar 02 - 04:21 PM
RolyH 22 Mar 02 - 04:28 PM
Manitas_at_home 22 Mar 02 - 04:46 PM
Gareth 22 Mar 02 - 04:57 PM
RoyH (Burl) 22 Mar 02 - 05:12 PM
NELLIE 22 Mar 02 - 05:54 PM
Joe_F 22 Mar 02 - 06:59 PM
Gareth 22 Mar 02 - 07:02 PM
Joe_F 23 Mar 02 - 11:15 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Mar 02 - 11:26 PM
Gareth 24 Mar 02 - 04:38 AM
Nigel Parsons 24 Mar 02 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,Jenni G 06 Dec 10 - 03:58 PM
Crane Driver 06 Dec 10 - 06:36 PM
Herga Kitty 07 Dec 10 - 01:58 PM
Nigel Parsons 07 Dec 10 - 03:55 PM
MGM·Lion 07 Dec 10 - 10:37 PM
Mrrzy 08 May 16 - 04:25 PM
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Subject: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: GUEST,Heely
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 11:23 AM

Help! Does anyone know the heritage or more verses to "The Smuggler" Song? My Grammy brought it to America via Australia from either Scotland or Wales. I think that it must be Scottish. It goes... "If you wake at midnight and hear the horses feet, don't be pulling back the blind or looking in the street. Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie. Watch the wall my darling as the gentlemen ride by.

If you do as you've been told likely there's a chance, you'll receive a lovely dolly all the way from France with a gown of valencense and a velvet hood, a present from the gentlemen along 0'being good."


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Subject: Lyr Add: A SMUGGLER'S SONG (Rudyard Kipling)
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 11:38 AM

It's by Rudyard Kipling..

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet
Don't go drawing back the blinds, or looking in the street
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie
Watch the wall my darling when the gentlemen go by.
Chorus:
Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark
Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy
And watch the wall my darling, while the gentlemen go by.

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrel, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine
Don't shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play
Put the brushwood back again ? they'll be gone next day.
Chorus:

If you see the stable door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining's wet and warm ? don't you ask no more!
Chorus:

If you met King George's men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you, "Pretty maid", and chuck you 'neath the chin
Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no ones been.
Chorus:

Knocks and footsteps round the house ? whistles after dark
You've no call for running out till the house dogs bark
Trusty's here, and Pincher's here, and see how dumb the lie
They don't fret to follow when the gentlemen go by!
Chorus:

If you do as you've been told, likely there's a chance
You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France
With a cap of Valenciennes and a velvet hood
A present from the gentlemen, along 'o being good.

Chorus:
Five and twenty ponies trotting through the dark
Brandy for the parson, baccy for the clerk
Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie
Watch the wall my darling when the gentlemen go by.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Sorcha
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 11:39 AM

See also, this page.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: GUEST,Heely
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 11:41 AM

Thank you, Bullfrog, for clearing up my dilemma. What a treat to see verses that I haven't remembered for forty years! Many thanks. Heely


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: GUEST,Heely
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 11:47 AM

Thanks Sorcha. What a great reference. You all have made my day/..


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Bullfrog Jones
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 12:06 PM

No problem -- sorry, I should have checked the HTML for the line spacings. It took me back about the same length of time to learning it in school!

BJ


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 01:05 PM

Here's the other simultaneous thread on the question.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 01:47 PM

It's Cornish, not Scottish, I thought, but I haven't read your blickies yet.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 01:49 PM

Guess I don't know enough geography - are Kent and Sussex anywhere near Cornwall?


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 02:13 PM

No Mrrzy, Kent and Sussex are in the bottom right hand corner of the British Isles, Cornwall is in the bottom left.

Smuggling, or freetrading, was a way of life all along the Coast.

And here is the Smugglers Song updated !

The Smugglers Song (revisited)

- with apologies to Rudyard Kipling

If you should wake at midnight, and hear the engines beat,
Don't go throwing back the curtains, or dashing in the street,
Them that ask no questions, isn't told a lie,
So watch the box my darling, while the Tranny Vans roll by.

A loaded, hired Tranny Van roaring through the dark,
With brandy for the parson, and baccy for the clerk,
Special Brew for the Millwall fan, Campari there for Di.
So watch the box my darling, while the Tranny Vans roll by.

Fag cartons in the hallway, callers after dark,
You don't need to worry until the Rotwiellers bark,
Look Satan's here, and Fang is here, see how still they lie,
Its quarantine for doggies, while the Tranny Vans roll by.

While strolling round the lock ups, if perchance you see,
Cartons of strong liquor, and other things that be,
Don't call your neighbours over, or use them in your play,
Just put the plastic back again, they'll be gone next day.

If you should meet the Customs Men, dressed in blue and gold,
You be careful what you say and careful what is told,
If they call you darling, and ask about the gin,
You don't know no nothing, nor where no one has bin.

If you can keep it buttoned up, likely there's a chance,
You will have a special trip, all the way to France,
To see the hypermarket, and load the booze and food,
A journey in a Tranny Van, a reward for being good.

A loaded, hired Tranny Van roaring through the dark,
With brandy for the parson, and baccy for the clerk,
Them that ask no questions, isn't told a lie,
So watch the box my darling, while the Tranny Vans roll by.

Gareth

( Writen in Sarf Lundon dialect - Tranny Van, the ubiqueous Fort Transit Cargo Van. Fag (Eng Slang) = Cigaretts Lock ups = strings of garags or other storage spces, much loved by villans for storing goods etc. Buttoned up = keep yer mouth shut.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: lamarca
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 03:30 PM

An earlier thread about Kipling poems set to music is here; in it, Mary Garvey gave a link to the Kipling Society's database of tune settings for Kipling poems. since your version of Smuggler's Song came from your granny, she may have sung one of the older tune settings. The Kipling site lists 9: 1. Peter Bellamy's 1972
2. Sir Adrian Boult 1912
3. L. Dampier ?
4. Paul Edmonds 1920 5. Marshal Kernochan 1911 6. Chris LeFleming 1950 7. Charles G. Mortimer 1914 8. Max Muller 1907 9. Michael Mulliner 1918

I wish there was an easy way to find the source for the tunes listed in the Kipling site!


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 04:21 PM

John Roberts and Tony Barrand did a nice rendition of this song on their CD: A PRESENT FROM THE GENTLEMEN © 1992. They used Peter Bellamy's musical arrangement.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: RolyH
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 04:28 PM

I,ve got a tape somewhere of a duo called Rogues in Rosin (Garry Blakely and Steve Cooke)doing a nice version of it.(I think they supported Steeleye in the 80's sometime)


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 04:46 PM

Didn't Rudyard Kipling live in or near Rye? There's quite a history of smuggling in that area. Hastings has a warren of caves dug out by smugglers and I read something about the cellars of the houses in Winchelsea being built to hold contraband.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 04:57 PM

Yes He retired to Sussex from India. His House ?? Batemans?? was set back in from the coast.

Manys the pub/church/house in Sussex and Kent with thier old hidyholes and cellers. Dover, Whitstable, and the Thanet towns all had thier tunnels and such linking cellars.

Interestingly some 20 years or so ago when the "Dove" public house at Dargate, between Whitstable and Faversham was rebuilt the workmen broke into a hidden and forgotten celler, still containg "cask harnesses, and bats (cudgels) and old pistols.

Gareth

For a Kipling website Click 'Ere


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 05:12 PM

Thanks for the memory. I used to sing this at school over 50 years ago. I might relearn it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: NELLIE
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 05:54 PM

I think this is (or part of it) is printed in the front of a book by John Masefield, about smugglers in or near Rye in Sussex, about a boy and a smuggler called Mara. Or am I mixing it up with some other book. Its many years since I read it. Thanks anyway for reminding me of a supper book and poem.

Jenny


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 06:59 PM

I suspect that there is a standard music-hall tune for this song, well known to Brits. My reason for thinking so is that one line of it is quoted in Flanders & Swann's "Bedstead Song" in _At the Drop of Another Hat_, and it gets a knowing laugh.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Gareth
Date: 22 Mar 02 - 07:02 PM

A thought Joe F, but this poem was drummed into most of us at primary school.

the line was/is " So watch the wall my darling,
While the bedstead men go by."

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 11:15 PM

Gareth: I take it you are British. Was it drummed into you as a recitation, or as a song? Flanders & Swann, when they sing that line, break into another tune, & it seemed a good guess that that tune was known to the audience.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Mar 02 - 11:26 PM

Thanks, Gareth. I hadn't read these poems for many years. Even in the U. S., we learned some of them for school recitations.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Gareth
Date: 24 Mar 02 - 04:38 AM

Joe - recitation in my case - though again a sung version must be about.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 24 Mar 02 - 11:36 AM

Nellie gets close to the origin on this one. The poem was part of a book including numerous Kipling poems, but held together by his writings about two children who learn of their local history by 'calling forth' people of other times from their locality.
The first 'person' called forth is 'Puck' who they know of from his appearance in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream
The whole story is told in the books "Puck of Pook's Hill" and "Rewards And Fairies"
Together they form a good source of history, and folk history, for Southern England.


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: GUEST,Jenni G
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 03:58 PM

HOW MANY PONIES WERE THERE? 24 OR 25


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Crane Driver
Date: 06 Dec 10 - 06:36 PM

It's five and twenty ponies.

It was four and twenty virgins, but that's another song entirely.

We recorded a version on our 'Characters' CD - see our website Crane Drivin' Music

The tune we use is apparently common in Sussex folk clubs. We were told it was originally written by an East Anglian schoolteacher named Bates, to introduce Kipling to his class.

We took the rhythm for our version from the trotting of wild ponies over the moors of the Gower peninsula in South Wales, where we now live.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 01:58 PM

Also recorded by (much-missed) Johnny Collins, on "Now and Then"...

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 03:55 PM

Also fits (quite) well to Noel Nouvelet a traditional French carol (may require a couple of ties or grace notes
I did it to this tune at the BBC club a couple of months ago.

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 07 Dec 10 - 10:37 PM

Nobody seems to have mentioned that the tune that Peter Bellamy used for this track on Merlin's Isle of Gramarye was that of The White Cockade {"'Tis true my love's enlisted, He wears the white cockade..."}

♫♫~Michael~♫♫


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Subject: RE: Help: Four and Twenty Ponies / Smuggler's Song
From: Mrrzy
Date: 08 May 16 - 04:25 PM

I also learned this as 4&20 ponies, but the version I just found says 5...

Also, the great link posted by Sorcha above is 404, anybody got anything else on this lovely ditty? Or is 5 verses too long to be a ditty?


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