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Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?

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RAGLAN ROAD


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Murray MacLeod 25 Dec 02 - 12:23 PM
GUEST 25 Dec 02 - 12:41 PM
mg 25 Dec 02 - 12:52 PM
banjomad (inactive) 25 Dec 02 - 01:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Dec 02 - 02:03 PM
Murray MacLeod 26 Dec 02 - 12:05 PM
boglion 26 Dec 02 - 05:53 PM
Murray MacLeod 26 Dec 02 - 08:45 PM
Cluin 26 Dec 02 - 08:51 PM
Murray MacLeod 27 Dec 02 - 04:33 AM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Dec 02 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Cluin 27 Dec 02 - 06:57 PM
Murray MacLeod 27 Dec 02 - 10:41 PM
GUEST 28 Dec 02 - 02:52 AM
GUEST,MCP 28 Dec 02 - 04:34 AM
JedMarum 28 Dec 02 - 08:12 AM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Dec 02 - 09:05 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Dec 02 - 09:14 PM
Cluin 29 Dec 02 - 02:16 AM
banjomad (inactive) 29 Dec 02 - 04:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 29 Dec 02 - 05:46 AM
Declan 30 Dec 02 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Jason 13 May 04 - 01:17 PM
Peter T. 13 May 04 - 02:25 PM
A Wandering Minstrel 14 May 04 - 08:02 AM
clueless don 14 May 04 - 11:49 AM
GUEST,KB 10 Jun 04 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,GUEST,MichealH 11 Jun 04 - 01:41 AM
Murray MacLeod 11 Jun 04 - 04:48 PM
GUEST,Micheal 11 Jun 04 - 05:52 PM
belfast 13 Jun 04 - 06:03 AM
GUEST,Roger Bruce Furst 29 Aug 04 - 01:36 PM
Big Tim 30 Aug 04 - 03:02 AM
Eric the Streetsinger 11 Sep 04 - 05:02 PM
GUEST 11 Dec 04 - 09:59 AM
Thompson 12 Dec 04 - 06:43 AM
RobbieWilson 12 Dec 04 - 07:22 AM
Thompson 12 Dec 04 - 07:50 AM
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dianavan 06 Mar 05 - 04:24 PM
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Subject: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 25 Dec 02 - 12:23 PM

I would like to know what Kavanagh actually wrote in this line. Is it

"The worth of passion play" (as given in the DT)

or is it

"The worth of passion's pledge" (which I have heard sung by many singers)

Some lucky person must have a first edition of Kavanagh's poems, or something equally authoritative?

I have read all the Raglan Road discussions btw, (even contributed to some of them) so blue clickies to previous threads won't be of much help here ....

Murray


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Dec 02 - 12:41 PM

"Pledge" rhymes with "ledge" from the previous line. That's how I heard it.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: mg
Date: 25 Dec 02 - 12:52 PM

I've always heard pledge but of course the original words are out there somewhere. I like pledge better. mg


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 25 Dec 02 - 01:36 PM

You should listen to the late Luke Kelly, he was given this song by Patrick Kavanagh himself.
Cheers, Dave


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Dec 02 - 02:03 PM

It doesn't really much matter what the "original words" are - what matters is what works best, and what gets into the oral tradition.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 12:05 PM

I would disagree there, Kevin. It does matter what the original words are, especially with an attributable poem such as Raglan Road

That is not to say that one shouldn't change the words if one needs to, but I think it is important to know what you are changing.

Maybe it doesn't matter in a pub session, but it does matter for a professional singer.

It all boils down to a matter of respect.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: boglion
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 05:53 PM

It DOES matter because Patrick Kavanagh was a serious poet who would have crafted every word. He does rhyme fairly meticulously and I would be surprised if it were "play" rather than "pledge". I sing the song myself after taking a long time to understand it and I use "pledge".

I had a look on the internet and came across both versions as well as another less plausible version. There does not seem to be a definitive answer easily available.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 08:45 PM

I cannot believe that nobody can answer the original question.

Where are Malcolm and Masato when you really need them?

(I know, they are both still on their Christmas vacation ....)

Murray


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Cluin
Date: 26 Dec 02 - 08:51 PM

I think it was answered a couple of times above. It's "pledge".

Dick Gaughan sings it that way (there's a lyric sheet with 1977's "Kist o' Gold") and that's good enough for me.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 04:33 AM

I am well aware that "pledge" is preferable when singing the song , but nobody has answered the original question, which was what did Kavanagh actually write?

Murray


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 10:30 AM

What a poet originally wrote is interesting, but if a song gets into the way of being transmitted orally, that's what really matters. I very much doubt if most people who sing Ragan Road learnt it from print, and that's a mark of what a great song it is.

For a song to reach the level of being passed on orally, so that everyone knows it but they don't know where they learnt it, I think that's the crown of respect for any songmaker.

But it would be interesting to know what the man wrote.

The fact that "pledge" rhymes with "ledge" doesn't in any way settle it. Rhymes aren't compulsory, and he might easily have decided to dispense with the obvious rhyme, and make it "passion play", and rhyme it in the process with the next two lines instead. My feeling is that "play" works better, but maybe that's because it's how I've always heard it sung, I think. There's supposed to be a tape in the Radio Eireann archives somewhere of Patrick Kavanagh singing it - maybe that'd settle the argument.

The other related thing here is whether to have it as "ledge", which probably is what he wrote, or "edge", which very often gets sung, and which I'm not sure isn't better.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Cluin
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 06:57 PM

"Passion Play" has a totally different meaning--not consistent with the song and likely yet another folk tradition/mondegreen that got passed on.

As I said above, Dick Gaughan sang it as "pledge" and I know of his high standard and committment to tradition, so I trust his research. He stated on the lyric sheet that it was a poem by Patrick Kavanaugh.

But there is another line in that song that I've heard a couple of different ways. It's the "true gods of sound and.." line. I've heard it as "sound and stone" or "sound and time". Now "time" is a near-rhyme to "sign" in the line above...


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 10:41 PM

After spending some time on the net researching this, I am pretty well convinced that Kavanagh did in fact write "pledge " and not "play", although nobody has come forward with irrefutable evidence.

I believe that the rhyming scheme throughout the poem is consistent with him having writen "pledge". If he had written "play" it would be totally at odds with the rest of the poem, and I think he was far too skilled a craftsman for that to have happened.

I suggest that Dick make it a priority to amend the faulty version in the DT forthwith. Admittedly , there are many other erroneous lyrics in the DT, but surely "Raglan Road " above all others merits the courtesy of accurate transcripion.

As an aside, Cluin raises an interesting point above concerning the
"true gods " line.

Firstly let me say that I think Cluin is way off beam with "sound and time".

I have always had difficulty in making a great deal of sense of this particular couplet, until, while researching my original query, I realised that the version in the DT is actually nonsensical.

"I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret signs,
That's known to the artists who have known
The true gods of sound and stone.
And her words and tint without stint
I gave her poems to say
With her own name there and her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May.

And her words and tint without stint. What's that about?

I believe that what Kavanagh originally wrote was :

"I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret signs,
That's known to the artists who have known
The true gods of sound, and stone, and words, and tint.
Without stint, I gave her poems to say
With her own name there and her own dark hair
Like clouds over fields of May.


i.e, "The true gods of sound, and stone, and words, and tint." refers to the Muses of music, sculpture, poetry and painting.

Only with this interpretation does it begin to make sense. Of course, when singing the song, it is practically impossible to convey this emphasis.......

Murray


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 02:52 AM

I heard it as IN words and tint-changes it a little.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 04:34 AM

Online sites with versions claiming to be from the Collected Poems have:

passion's pledge

and:


...
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.

...

Mick


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: JedMarum
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 08:12 AM

I sang this for a while ... but it's too weird for me. I guess I just don't get it!


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 09:05 PM

He may indeed have written pledge, but arguing that he must have, because being a craftsman in his writing he'd have felt compelled to put in the rhyme there - that just doesn't add up.

A craftsman poet could be quite capable of deciding to surprise the reader (or listener) by consciously refrainint from using the expected rhyme. In this instance, you hear "pl", you assume it'll be "pledge", and then it isn't after all.

So maybe he did it that way; and maybe he didn't, and the only way to settle it is to check with what the man wrote, and how he said it or sang it later on as well, because poets quite often change their own words, the same way people who write songs do.

I note that in the Ossian songbook (vol 3 Songs and Ballads popular in Irekand) it has "play", and that might be a factor in explaining why "play" seems to be more common when peopel sing it. But of course John Loesberg editing that must have got it from somewhere.

Isn't there anyone out there with Kavanagh's collected poems on their shelf?


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Dec 02 - 09:14 PM

Folk Songs and Ballads Popular in Ireland (the alleged source of the DT text) is full of ghastly errors and mis-attributions, and should only be used as a source of material by people who are unlucky enough to have no alternative.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Cluin
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 02:16 AM

Sounds good to me, Murray. I don't doubt but that you have the right of it.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: banjomad (inactive)
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 04:48 AM

This morning, 29/12/2002, on his radio programme Ciaran Macmathune
played the Dubliners version of the song as sung by the late and much missed Luke Kelly, Luke used to sing ' pledge ', I feel that this is correct because Paddy Kavanagh gave the song to Luke himself,
Cheers, Dave


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Dec 02 - 05:46 AM

I wasn't citing Folksongs and Ballads as validating the variant, but as one of the reasons it might have spread.

If Luke Kelly sang "pledge", that's a pretty strong indication thta that's how Kavanagh wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Declan
Date: 30 Dec 02 - 06:57 AM

I'm convinced it's passion's pledge (a) because it rhymes and (b) because it makes sense - Passion play doesn't mean anything to me, Passion's pledge does.

I've always heard the other lines as :

I gave her gifts of the mind, I gave her the secret sign,
That's known to the artist who has seen the true gods of sound and stone,
And words and tint, I did not stint for I gave her poems to say ...

The "words and tint" seem to work as either the end of the previous line or the beginning of the next one, ie I didn't stint on the words or the tint when I was writing the poems for her.

I learned this mainly from Luke Kelly's singing, but I'm not 100% sure I have Luke's words verbatim,


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Jason
Date: 13 May 04 - 01:17 PM

I have the Van Morrison version of the song in which he sang "passions pledged". I thought this was an interesting interpretation that nobody has mentioned yet. But, of course, Van Morrison tended to take great license with lyrics when singing folk songs. Plus it can be a bit of a challnge to understand what he's saying half the time. Just something to think about.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 May 04 - 02:25 PM

I think it is "pledge", but the line that worries me more is the one about "known to artists who have known" -- this seems to me to be carelessness. I don't think that the line can be "who have seen". But if someone has a better version of the line than the clumsy repetition of "known" I would appreciate it.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 14 May 04 - 08:02 AM

"Pledge" would make a lot more sense as in:

the promise made in the heat of passion is of no worth (as it will be easily broken)

this fits the context of the separation from his lover better than "play" which would suggest that:

the passion itself was pointless

which gibes with the rest of the work.

pedantic teacher mode off :)


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: clueless don
Date: 14 May 04 - 11:49 AM

I'm going strictly from memory here, so it's the folk process. But I know it as

I gave her these gifts of my mind
I gave her the secret sign
that's known to the artist who has known
the true gods of sound and stone.
By word and tint, I did not stint
for a gave her poems to say
with her own name there
and her own dark hair
like clouds o'er the fields in May

and I also think it should be passion's pledge, not play. just IMHO.

Don


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 08:57 PM

In the Patrick Kavanagh,The Complete Poems, by Patricks brother Peter, Goldsmith press, the original version is Pledge.Peter was so maticulos
















Look, does it really mattress!?just feel it.In the patrick Kavanagh,Complete Poems,edited by Patricks brother Peter,the word is pledge.Peter was so meticulous about his brothers work I doubt he'd printed anything but the original version.
Van Morrison took his rendition from what I consider the best recording of the song, Cathal mcConnell of the great band Boys of The Lough.Check it out! It's the feeling that's in it,not the bricks and mortar.


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Subject: Collected Poems (1973 ed.)
From: GUEST,GUEST,MichealH
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 01:41 AM

Hello, Murray. I happen to own a copy of

Patrick Kavanagh: Collected Poems
(New York: W. W. Norton, 1973)

Though it's not the first edition, it has the same text on page 186
as that quoted by GUEST,MCP (28 Dec 02). Hope it helps. - Micheal H.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 04:48 PM

Micheal, thank you for your welcome contribution. Could you do me a favour and check whether the version printed in your Collected Poems does in fact have a full stop (period) between "tint" and I " in the couplet

"To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say."

as MCP's version above states.

I am not being pedantic here, the presence or absence of the period alters the meaning of the whole verse.


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Subject: Full Stop after 'Tint'
From: GUEST,Micheal
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 05:52 PM

Murray, my Collected Poems does in fact have a full stop between "tint" and "I", as MCP's version states.

BTW, Kavanagh puts a comma after "the worth of passion's pledge" and a dash (--) after "not making hay" in the next line. These 'small things' must be dear to a poet, I guess.

Could I ask a question? Does anyone out there know if 'The Queen of Hearts' is still there on Grafton Street or it was long gone? (I don't remember seeing it when I walked there many years ago.) Sorry, if it were a well-known topic.


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Subject: RE: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: belfast
Date: 13 Jun 04 - 06:03 AM

The full stop or period after "tint" does indeed determine the meaning of the third verse but when you're singing the song it's impossible to include an indication of that punctuation without mangling the melody. What is sung is "And word and tint I did not stint", in other words "I did not stint word and tint". Does that mean anything?

I know that many people love this song dearly but when one looks at the final verse there is a possibility of dismissing it as misgynistic twaddle. "I am a poet,i.e. an angel. This woman was nothing but a piece of clay, i.e. dirt."

Is it any wonder that she walked away from him so hurriedly?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Roger Bruce Furst
Date: 29 Aug 04 - 01:36 PM

Perhaps "passion's pledge" is derived from Yeats"

"Eternity is passion, girl or boy
Cry at the onset of their sexual joy
'For ever and for ever'; then awake
Ignorant what Dramatis personae spake;
A passion-driven exultant man sings out
Sentences that he has never thought;
The Flagellant lashes those submissive loins
Ignorant what that dramatist enjoins,
What master made the lash. Whence had they come,
The hand and lash that beat down frigid Rome?
What sacred drama through her body heaved
When world-transforming Charlemagne was conceived?"

And I agree that "sound and stone and word and tint" refer to the muses that are known by the artists who invoke them. Thus the full stop makes it a cogent part of an excellent poem. Its unfortunate that the music is such a clumsy fit for that stanza, but the melody and the cadence do seem to add to the emotional power of the story.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Big Tim
Date: 30 Aug 04 - 03:02 AM

I don't think the Queen of Hearts was an actual place: cafe, pub, or whatever. Surely derived from the nursery rhyme,

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer's day,
The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them clean away.

Queen of Hearts = "beautiful woman" (Queen Elizabeth I was the original "Queen of Hearts": more recently, Princess Diana).

Hilda Moriarty, the subject of the song, married another man in August 1947, the year after after "Raglan" was published.

Big Tim.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play'
From: Eric the Streetsinger
Date: 11 Sep 04 - 05:02 PM

From the dates this appears to be a cold thread, but I'll add something
here-

I learned the song from a street musician on Grafton Street in Dublin
who definitely sang "pledge", I still have the scrap he wrote it on for me!

He told me an interesting thing about the song- said that
Wim Wenders was listening to "Raglan Road" when he first hatched
the early images for the film "Wings Of Desire" anyone else heard
that story, or know more about it?
E.T.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Dec 04 - 09:59 AM

The following is my understanding of the song~Maureen

On Raglan Road on an Autumn Day, I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I may one day rue.
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a falling leaf at the dawning of the day.
HE WAS ATTRACTED TO HER AND WANTED TO HAVE SOME PLEASURE IN LIFE THOUGH HE KNEW THE CONSEQUENSES WOULD NOT BE GOOD.

On Grafton Street in November, we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of a deep ravine where can be seen the worst of passions pledged.
The Queen of Hearts still baking tarts and I not making hay,
Well I loved too much; by such and such is happiness thrown away.
SHE WAS BEING SENSIBLE, WANTED TO GET MARRIED MAYBE, (PLANING AHEAD),
HE JUST WANTED TO HAVE SOME GOOD TIMES AND NOT WORRY ABOUT ANYTHING.

I gave her the gifts of my mind. I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own dark hair and her own name there like the clouds over fields of May.
SHE DECIDED THAT SHE DID NOT LOVE HIM ANYMORE DESPITE HIS WOOS, SO HE KILLED HER. (MAYBE HE BURIED HER WITH HIS POEMS AS A GIFT AT HER GRAVE). HE BECAME MAD (LIKE A THUNDERSTORM.)

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet, I see her walking now
Away from me, so hurriedly. My reason must allow,
For I have wooed, not As I should a creature made of clay-
When the angel woos the clay, he'll lose his wings at the dawn of the day.
THEY ARE NOW SEPERATED. HE HAS VISIONS OF HER. HE KNOWS THAT HE WILL NEVER FIND FORGIVENESS. HE KNOWS THAT HE HAD DONE SOMETHING TERRIBLE. HE WAS NOT CAREFUL WITH SOMEONE WHO WAS DESIGNED SO PERFECLY. HE IS REFFERED TO AS THE ANGEL~LOVER~HE FELT AS IF HE HAD TO RISE ABOVE THE GROUND WHEN HE WAS WITH HER~A HEAVENLY FEELING. HE SHOULD HAVE LOVED HER AS SHE DESERVED TO BE LOVED, BUT WAS NOT LOOKING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND HAS SINNED.~THEREFORE, HE LOST HIS WINGS.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ON RAGLAN ROAD (Patrick Kavanagh)
From: Thompson
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 06:43 AM

Here's a poetry site with the poems of Kavanagh:

http://www.poemhunter.com/p/m/poem.asp?poet=6773&poem=30540

Obviously it's "the true worth of passion's pledge" - it's pretty meaningless otherwise! Kavanagh is talking about the worth of the promise of love made by a man to a woman.

And the "words and tint" bit - again, it's obvious; maybe this is just that English is spoken precisely in Ireland, but it seems blindingly obvious to me that Kavanagh is talking about the artists in different media: stone and words and sound and colour; he's talking about the artist's dedication to the gods of the arts.

Here are the words of the poem, as Patrick Kavanagh wrote them:

On Raglan Road
        
On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

Patrick Kavanagh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 07:22 AM

I gave her gifts of the mind, I gave her the sectet signs that's known
To artists who have seen the true gods of sound and stone.
And word nor tint I did not stint for I gave her poems to say
with her own name there and her own dark hair
like clouds over fields of may.
Surely the whole verse just says that he gave her everything he had to offer; all the secrets of art and the efforts of his poetry for her, close up and personal. The next verse goes on to say that this didn't work. All this wonderful arty stuff was wasted on a pleb, no matter how beautiful she might be.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play'
From: Thompson
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 07:50 AM

Not a pleb, perhaps, but "a creature made of clay", compared with the angelic poet.

They all say that, so they do.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: erinmaidin
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 05:28 PM

another site with the so-called "definitive" version of Kavanagh's poetry http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/Poetry/PatKavanagh.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Cheeky
Date: 20 Feb 05 - 06:55 AM

It's "passion's pledge"... It's named after the statute of Jesus "The Passion's Pledge" which is situated outside the Church on the "Deep Ravine" which is the laneway leading from Grafton Street towards Powerscourt.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: MuddleC
Date: 05 Mar 05 - 04:35 PM

---It's "passion's pledge"... It's named after the statute of Jesus "The Passion's Pledge" which is situated outside the Church on the "Deep Ravine" which is the laneway leading from Grafton Street towards Powerscourt. ----

this puts a new slant on the meaning of the stanza for me.... -and we tripped down the alley past the statue.... sortathing.
and not a metaphysical lovey thing, nor looking in at jewellers'shop windows as has been mentioned elsewhere........


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: dianavan
Date: 06 Mar 05 - 04:24 PM

Just reading the posts makes me want to cry. This has to be one of the all time most beautiful songs. Keep singing.

BTW - I think its pledge

...but oral tradition is more fluid than the written word so I'd say sing whatever feels best to you. Its all about the music and the feeling, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Bill the Collie
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 01:13 AM

Dianavan


I agree that it's rather lovely - except for the bit about "Queen of hearts still making tarts" it seems so incongruous that I hope the oral tradition changes it to something else


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play'
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 01:56 AM

Why do people keep adding their tuppennyworth "I think it's pledge"? Of course it's "pledge". That's what Kavanagh wrote, as was pointed out long ago. A matter of simple fact, not open to dispute. Why nobody bothered to nip down to the local library to check two years ago beats me.

This isn't a traditional song. Kavanagh only died in 1967, for heaven's sake. The fact that lazy, ignorant people have distorted his song since then (and published it, mutilated, in cheap and nasty collections of mostly fake "Irish" songs) has little to do with the sacred cow of the "folk process." Most people who invoke the term seem to have not the remotest understanding of what it means, and no respect for poor Kavanagh, who, for all his failings, was a better poet than any of the contributors to this thread will ever be.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Teresa
Date: 07 Mar 05 - 02:32 AM

Just my own interpretation of something, here:

"That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay
-
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day"

When I come across those words I think of putting someone on a pedestal and idolizing her, and then finding that she had feet of clay, and of course, the narrator finds this in himself, too. I don't think it's some kind of poet's conceit.

teresa


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: MuddleC
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 01:00 PM

hello GUEST cheeky...It's "passion's pledge"... It's named after the statute of Jesus "The Passion's Pledge" which is situated outside the Church on the "Deep Ravine" which is the laneway leading from Grafton Street towards Powerscourt.

..can anyone confirm this ?

As the new Powerscourt Centre is in William Street South, the quickest way from Grafton Street is via Johson Court, cutting across Clarendon Street and down Coppner Row. In the angle formed by Grafton St.,Johnson Court and Clarendon Road is the church of St. Teresa's .
This Church was established by the Discalced Carmelite Community They pledge to live the central part of their life in prayer and a whole lot of other pledges
(see http://www.ocd.ie/default.asp?article=the%20rule), one of which is 'Your loins are to be girt with chastity', so, NO fraternising!!!- and a solitary existence is required, so walking out with the Queen of Hearts is a no-no. Perhaps this is the knife-edge dilemma....?
-is this the worth of passions pledge???????!!!! no nookie!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Mar 05 - 01:40 PM

It's fascinating to have those literal referances - such as the statue and the alley - but they aren't the end of the story.

Just because an expression has a literal reference doesn't mean that it can't have other meanings as well. That's the magic that words can achieve, and it's at the heart of poetry.

For the life of me I can't see why some people have a problem with the "Queen of Tarts" line. I think perhaps it's something to do with a feeling that it's out of tune with what is taken to be a sombre and solemn poem. But I don't think the poem is in fact like that, rather it's a wry and self-mocking poem, on one level, with a sense of fun and wordplay, and that line is an aspect of that. It helps keep the balance.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Conspiracy Theorist
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 06:38 AM

And there was me singin' all these years "with word and HINT, I did not stint". That seemed logical to me. He was teaching her the words of poems and giving her the odd HINT when she hesitated. What has TINT got to do with it? (Of course I'm right. Someone transcribing Kavanagh's original handwritten text misread a "H" as "T". Nobody bothered to correct it.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 07:05 AM

Well, and I thought the deep ravine/passion's pledge,queen of hearts stuff was contrasting their pure and naive love with the rather grubbier activities of the ladies of the night and their customers. But maybe I was wrong.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 09:36 AM

Beautiful poem

Lovely tune

Putting one to the other was a HUGE mistake

It never fitted, and

never will

it merely ruined both

as this thread proves


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Conspiracy Theorist
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 11:01 AM

I think different. If Luke kelly had not recorded tthe "song" Paddy Kavanagh would have remained some obscure poet. Now his poems are on the school curriculum. Personally, I don't think much of them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 06:49 PM

Writing poetry and writing song lyrics are equal but different artforms. It's all about phrasing. If you write poetry with a metre suitable for singing you're wasting the medium of poetry. The whole point of the spoken word, against the sung word, is that even when written in strict time it creates a subtle cadence of its own, which can only be spoiled by the addition of a tune.

The repetition of 'known' referred to above is a perfect example - in the poem the return to that 'key note' adds power - but when you sing it you can't return to the note there, so it just sounds like bad writing. And that lovely 'stint/tint' line becomes gobbledgook. Read the original poem aloud - you'll soon see what I mean.

Likewise song lyrics, spoken, tend to sound pedestrian - no matter how beautiful or clever the language.

Great songwriters understand how to match lyric and melody so that they add their own harmony to eachother - something horribly missing in Raglan Road which works fantastically in some places (purely by luck) but which is an embarrassing joke in others.

If Kelly was so smitten with Lavanagh's poem he should, with the poet's permission, have witten new words (with full attribution, of course), that DID work with the tune, and did convey Kavanagh's images and idea adequately through the very different medium of song. Or if that was impossible or beyond his skill, he shouldn't have bothered.

Bodging one to the other was lazy and disrespectful to both works, and produced a mess - which is why everyone sings it wrong.

They have to.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Sep 06 - 09:22 PM

'by word and hint, I did not stint,
I gave her poems to say'

Clear?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 03:56 AM

Clear, yes, but wrong. Not wrong to change it from the words Kavanagh wrote, not wrong to remove the reference to the four muses (though that's a shame because with a bit more thought it could probably have been kept) but wrong because by removing the 'word and tint' but leaving 'sound and stone' you've made a mockery of the second line, which now makes no sense whatsoever. Anyone singing this lyric passionately is just going to look like a great big stupid fool who's singing pure bollix to an atonished and confused audience.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Snuffy
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 09:12 AM

I agree that to make the words come alive it can't be done in strict meter, You can keep the words and notes but take liberties with the timing and line endings. Then you can sing:

The true gods of sound and stone and word and tint
Without stint I gave her poems to say

And again in the last verse you can sing:

When the angel woos the clay PAUSE
He'd lose his wings PAUSE
At the dawn of day

Instead of the godawful

When the angel woos PAUSE
The clay he'd lose PAUSE
His wings at the dawn of day


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Big Tim
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:26 PM

Anybody who wants to know more about Patrick Kavanagh should read 'Patrick Kavanagh: a biography' (2003), by [Professor] Antoinnette Quinn.

It's not perfect, Kavanagh's brother Dr. Peter Kavanagh has taken some issue with the author, but it's pretty dammned good.


btw, according to the Penguin Modern Classics 'Collected Poems' of Patrick Kavanagh, it definitely 'pledge'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play'
From: ard mhacha
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:32 PM

Read The Green Fool and Tarry Flynn by the man himself, two classics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:57 PM

Four years on from my initial post, I see the DigiTrad still hasn't amended the "passion's play" line.

I'm not certain whether I am reassured or whether I am disappointed ...

I very much appreciate Thompson's post Date: 12 Dec 04 - 06:43 AM where he posts the words as Kavanagh wrote them.

The verse in question, when laid out like this, makes a great deal of sense. I have only ever heard it sung thus:

"I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign
That's known to the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone"


However, after a minute of mental visualisation, I figured out it could be sung

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone

I am certain there will be dozens of indignant replies pointing out that of course that is how it should be sung, but I can only repeat that the former is the only way I have ever heard it sung.

Furthermore, that is how Luke Kelly sang it, and he also sang Snuffy's "Godawful"

"When the angel woos PAUSE
The clay he'd lose PAUSE
His wings at the dawn of day "

WIth all due respect to Luke's memory, I feel that if were around nowadays to read this thread, he might rethink his interpretation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,baggnz
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 03:32 PM

I agree with Declan. who, five years ago now, offered:


"...and words and tint, I did not stint
I gave her poems to say"

Also..

Pledge ought to be the consensus


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 06:27 PM

I wouldn't think of wading into this controversy, but anyone who wants to find Kavanagh's "Collected Poems" in a library might find WorldCat useful. Americans and Canadians can enter their ZIP Code or postal code to find the nearest library that has it; I'm not sure how well it works for other countries.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: MuddleC
Date: 10 Jun 07 - 01:40 PM

....and life is breathed into the sleeping corpse............!

Okay, I will quickly say how I sing this and apply the folk process sandpaper..

'..the POWER of passion's PLEDGE.'
'..OF ARTIST'S HONED and who have known,..'(cuts out the known/known problem and scans)
'..When the angel woos the clay he'll loose, (PAUSE)..his wings aaat the dawn(PAUSE)of day-yy'


>>'Dark-Haired Miriam'(MuddleC's arrangement)(Unaccompanied)
      
On Raglan Road OF an autumn day,
I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare,
that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked ,
along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf,
at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November,
we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of A deep ravine where can be seen,
the POWER of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts
and I not making hay -
O I loved too much, and by such and such,
is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind,
I gave her the secret sign
OF ARTIST'S HONED and who have known,
the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint, I did not stint
for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her long dark hair
like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street, where old ghosts meet,
I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly, my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should,
a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'll loose,
his wings at the dawn of day.

Original version by Patrick Kavanagh

I'll get my coat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Wolf
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 03:38 AM

To Murray McLeod:

I think you're right with your comment on "The clay he'd lose" (of course you are), and I figured out that "the secret sign that's known"-thing as well (after reading the poem in its original form).

But regarding the latter I did fail to convince myself that the lines really should be sung this way. Opening the next line with that "to" sounds harsh and uneasy to me, and I would miss having the previous line end with that "secret sign". And after all we got an internal rhyme (or at least kind of it) with the "known"-"known".

I think singing should follow it own rules. The melody does not really fit - so we have to manage with it in one way or another.

P.S.: Interesting thread, and thanks for the original lyrics!

P.P.S.: Luke Kelly (and many followers) did replace the (first) "wooed" with "loved". This alteration should be rejected, too. It may sound familiar and folky, but diminishes rhyme and, what's more, meaning.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 08:20 PM

I've just happened upon this thread for the first time. I don't really "do" poetry much, but this poem somehow insinuates itself deep into my imagination. I've tried for several years to pin down a definitive version, without success. But it has to be "pledge" to make sense to me, and it definitely has to be the true gods of sound and stone and words and tint. Luke's version is one of my eight desert island discs and I'll forgive him the odd bit of artistic licence. I do not agree with the following comment from this thread (several years old now!) at all:
   
[QUOTE}I think it is "pledge", but the line that worries me more is the one about "known to artists who have known" -- this seems to me to be carelessness. I don't think that the line can be "who have seen". But if someone has a better version of the line than the clumsy repetition of "known" I would appreciate it.

yours,

Peter T. [UNQUOTE]

The repetition of "known" is anything but carelessness. The author of this post is applying rules where there should be none. Yeats employs repetition very effectively in "The Song of Wandering Aengus:"

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Note the deliberate repetition of "hazel," "moth," "floor," "called me by my name" and "lands." I'm not going to begin to try to describe the effect this has on my imagination as I read the poem, but it works for me, and clumsy it ain't! As I say, I'm no poetry scholar, but that repetition of "known" by Kavanagh strikes a very positive chord with me as I read the poem.

Sorry to have waffled on for so long without adding much, but I do love the poem!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: GUEST,Gillian Gardner
Date: 04 Mar 08 - 03:44 PM

Obviously many people are tormented by trying to fit the lyric and the tune. I did find a solution that flows very nicely and doesn't alter the meaning of the lines with the two words "known". Try this -it is easy to phrase...

I gave her gifts of the mind; I gave her the secret sign
Of artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone ...

So simple and eliminates the word congestion.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 10:38 AM

It also eliminates the rhyme "known" and "stone"; and, as has been pointed out in another of the threads devoted to a torturing this one poor verse a thousand ways, internal rhyme and assonance is very much a feature of this work, and has a relationship to Irish song in general. I guess that, in the posting above, you're following Luke Kelly's phrasing rather than doing what, two centuries back, Robert Burns recommended doing with melody and verse; become thoroughly familiar with the music before making any attempt to fit words to it. There's no congestion here;

"i GAVE hr GIFTS of th MIND; i GAVE hr th SEE-cret SIGN that's KNOWN
to the AR-tists WHO have KNOWN the TRU-ue gods of SOUND and STONE
and WORD and TINT; i DID not stint &c..."

A recent thread on the Irish baritone H Plunkett Greene and his views on the rhythmic freedom employed by traditional singers might be of interest with regard to fitting these long phrases to the melody in a way that does manage to convey the sense


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 10:39 AM

Sorry, "gods" above should also have been in Upper-Case to denote a stress; but, you recognised that I'm sure.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 05 Mar 08 - 10:44 AM

I've always sung it as

'By word and hint ,I did not stint'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Mar 08 - 08:24 AM

If anyone is in doubt about the correct text of ON RAGLAN ROAD as intended by Patrick Kavanagh, it might help to consult several print copies that are available through Google Book Search:

Very Best Irish Songs & Ballads By Pat Conway, 1999, page 11.

Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century: A Reader By David Pierce, 2000, page 780.

Gather Round Me: The Best of Irish Popular Poetry By Christopher Cahill, 2004, page 45.

These books are still under copyright--so is the original poem, apparently--and so the complete books are not viewable. They are in the "limited preview" category. Only selected pages are viewable, and those pages happen to include ON RAGLAN ROAD. (At least they are viewable to me, in the US, but we have found that some books are not viewable everywhere.) I suppose the publishers have given permission for excerpts to be shown, in order to promote sales of the books. (I wonder how that works, when the publisher of an anthology is not the owner of the copyrights on the original works?)

Anyway, I find no significant discrepancy between the Pierce book and the Cahill book, but right off the bat, I see that the Conway book has "I saw her" where the other two have "I met her." Also Conway calls it RAGLAN ROAD where the other two call it ON RAGLAN ROAD.

I'm inclined to believe Pierce and Cahill rather than Conway.

I'm speculating here: Maybe the editors of "poetry" books are more careful than the editors of "song" books. Maybe people feel that calling something a "song" rather than a "poem" gives permission for the folk process to creep in--even when the text is credited to a known author.

Conway does have the music "lead sheet" for the first verse, as well as chords.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Raglan Road, is it 'pledge' or 'play' ?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 26 Nov 09 - 04:00 PM

An article on Kavanagh`s wily ways in to-days Irish Times.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/1126/1224259481211.html


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