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Tune Req: Distressed Men of War (from Bodleian)

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OBIT: The Passing of Patrick O'Brian (9)


GUEST,sadams@bitstream.net 30 Mar 03 - 12:51 AM
Joe Offer 30 Mar 03 - 01:46 AM
Melani 30 Mar 03 - 01:55 AM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 03 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,Guest 30 Mar 03 - 10:21 AM
Gareth 30 Mar 03 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,Guest 30 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM
GUEST,JB 30 Mar 03 - 12:11 PM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 03 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Sam Adams 30 Mar 03 - 02:02 PM
Charley Noble 30 Mar 03 - 02:21 PM
GUEST,JB 30 Mar 03 - 06:47 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Dec 10 - 07:08 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: GUEST,sadams@bitstream.net
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 12:51 AM

Hello friends,

The late Patrick O'Brian's novels feature bits of song here and there. At the beginning of _Post Captain_, Jack Aubrey sings these verses to Stephen Maturin:

Says Jack, There is very good news, there is peace both by land and by sea
Great guns no more shall be used, for we all disbanded be.
Says the Admiral, That's very bad news; says the captain, my heart will break;
The lieutenant cries, What shall I do? For I know not what course for to take.
Says the doctor, I'm a gentleman too, I'm a gentleman of the first rank;
I will go to some country fair, and there I'll set up mountebank.
Says the midshipman, I have no trade; I have got my trade for to choose,
I will go to St. James's Park gate, and there I'll set black of shoes;*
And there I will set all day, at everybody's call,
And everyone that comes by, Do you want my nice shining balls?

[*i.e., shine shoes for a living]

Is this an actual song, or the product of Mr. O'Brian's boundless and well-researched inspiration?

best wishes -- think peace,

Sam Adams


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 01:46 AM

Hmmm. Couldn't find anything except this site which gives what appears to be the whole damn text of several O'Brian novels...
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: Melani
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 01:55 AM

My guess is that O'Brian wrote it--it just has that sort of sound.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 09:09 AM

Melani-

I disagree. Usually O'Brian found some factual basis for his creative efforts. In this case it may have been a fragment that he expanded upon, an old broadside or one of Charles Dibdin's ditties.

However, I haven't run across anything promising so far.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 10:21 AM

A copy on the Bodleian Ballads website (Distressed Men of War) has no tune direction.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: Gareth
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 11:16 AM

"Click 'Ere, for a link to that page inb the Bodleian Collection.

No specific author is attributed.

Significantly the publication date seems to coincide with the 'Peace of Amiens' (SP) Which also tallies with the book, The Post Captain, in which it appears in the Jack Aubry Chronicals.

Its well worth reading, as a satire on the frauds perpetuated by the ships petty, standing, officers.

Now some better talented 'Catter write or adapt a tune to this ??

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 11:29 AM

Note that the song is in the Firth collection in the Bodleian, and Firth included the song in 'Naval Songs and Ballads', p. 228, 1908. [No tune direction or author]. That's probably where O'Brian found it.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: GUEST,JB
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 12:11 PM

I don't claim to be a "better talented 'Catter" than Gareth, but I did adapt a tune to these lyrics. The result is on my CD "Roast Beef of Old England". This tune is the one anachronism on the recording (I found contemporary melodies for all the other tune-less historical lyrics included. I modified "Over the Bounding Wave" for Distressed Men of War, since it fit so well and has the exact meter needed.

I found the lyrics in Roy Palmer's "Oxford Book of Sea Songs".

Jerry Bryant


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 01:20 PM

Good for you, Jerry! Maybe you could sing it to us at Mystic?

Now where did I put your CD?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: GUEST,Sam Adams
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 02:02 PM

Wow, thanks everyone, and Jerry, where can I get your CD?

I love the last verse (thanks for the link, Gareth!):

Says Jack, I will take to the road
For I'd better do that than do worse;
And every one that comes by,
I'll cry, Damn you, deliver your purse.

May peace be with us soon!

best
Sam


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 02:21 PM

This is what truly makes this website fun!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Unknown Sea Song in Patrick O'Brian
From: GUEST,JB
Date: 30 Mar 03 - 06:47 PM

Sam,

I urge you to buy Roast Beef of Old England at www.woodenshipsmusic.com, THE most complete on-line sea music store in the world.

Happy listening!

Jerry


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Subject: Lyr Add: DISTRESSED MEN OF WAR
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Dec 10 - 07:08 PM

From Naval Songs and Ballads by Charles Harding Firth (London?: Navy Records Society, 1908), page 228:


DISTRESSED MEN OF WAR.

1. Says Jack, 'There is very good news. There is peace both by land and by sea.
Great guns no more shall be used, for we all disbanded must be.'

2. Says the admiral, 'That's very bad news.' Says the captain, 'My heart it will break.'
The lieutenant cries, 'What shall I do? for I know not what course for to take.'

3. Says the purser, 'I'm a gentleman born. My coat is lined with gold,
And my chest is full of the same, by cheating of sailors so bold.'

4. Says the doctor, 'I'm a gentleman too, I'm a gentleman of the first rank.
I will go to some country fair, and there I'll set up mountebank.'

5. Says the steward, 'I'm sorry it's peace, for I love my ship as my life,
And by cheating of honest Jack Tars I have plenty of shiners so bright.'

6. Says the carpenter, 'I have a chest, a chest of very good tools.
I will go to some country fair and there I'll sell three-legged stools.'

7. Says the cook, 'I will go to that fair, and there I will sell all my fat.'
Says Jack Tar, 'If I should meet you there, damn me, I'll pay you for that.

8. 'For don't you remember the time our topsail stuck close to the tack,
And we all stuck fast in the sheet, for want of some of that fat?'

9. Says the midshipman, 'I have no trade. I have got my trade for to chuse.
I will go to St. James Park gate, and there I'll set blacking of shoes.

10. 'And there I will set all the day, at everybody's call,
And every one that comes by, "Do you want my nice shining balls?"'

11. Says Jack, 'I will take to the road, for I'd better do that than do worse.
And every one that comes by, I'll cry, "Damn you, deliver your purse."'


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