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Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commander

GUEST,JTT 02 Apr 04 - 02:50 AM
The Walrus 02 Apr 04 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,JTT 02 Apr 04 - 12:10 PM
JWB 02 Apr 04 - 12:48 PM
EBarnacle 02 Apr 04 - 02:50 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Apr 04 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 02 Apr 04 - 04:21 PM
Charley Noble 02 Apr 04 - 07:26 PM
GUEST,JTT 03 Apr 04 - 02:40 AM
GUEST,guest mick 03 Apr 04 - 03:03 PM
JWB 05 Apr 04 - 11:31 AM
EBarnacle 05 Apr 04 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Another JWB 13 Dec 10 - 05:18 AM
Charley Noble 13 Dec 10 - 08:07 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 02:50 AM

I'm just reading Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian, and he has a couple of the characters - Stephen Maturin and James Dillon, United Irishmen working on the ship - singing a song about the Wild Geese that I've never heard. Here's the verse he quotes, and a couple of surrounding lines:

"When I was last at home," said James, filling Stephen's glass, "we waked old Terence Healy. He had been my grandfather's tenant. And there was a song they sang there has been in the middle part of my mind all day - I cannot quite bring it to the front, to sing it."

"Was it an Irish song or an English?"

"There were English words as well. One line went

Oh the wild geese a-flying a-flying a-flying
The wild geese a-swimming upon the grey sea."

Stephen whistled a bar and then, in his disagreeable crake, he sang

"They will never return, for the white horse has scunnered
Has scunnered has scunnered
The white horse has scunnered upon the green lea."

----

Does anyone know this song? I don't think I've ever heard it, yet it's oddly familiar.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: The Walrus
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 09:26 AM

I can't help with the song, but I presume the 'White Horse' mentioned is that of the badge of the House of Hannover.

Walrus


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Comma
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 12:10 PM

White horses in Ireland are generally the one ridden by King William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne; it used to be a common thing for loyalists to have a white horse in the fanlight. Wild geese were the Gaelic aristocracy and revolutionaries who fled after various attempted coups d'etat or defeats such as 1691, 1798 and so on.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Comma
From: JWB
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 12:48 PM

JTT,

I did some research on this when I was putting together my CD of traditional songs from the Aubrey-Maturin series. I couldn't find anything on it. I suspect it might be an O'Brian original, since he was known to create such snippets. There are plenty of songs about the Wild Geese, but I didn't turn up anything with these lyrics.

I'm curious to see if more erudite 'Catters have knowledge of this.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: EBarnacle
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 02:50 PM

I have been wondering whether this might relate to the Wild Goose chantey--

"Did you ever see a wild goose Flyin' oer the ocean,
    Ranzo boys, Ranzo
Just like them young girls when they take a notion
    Ranzo Boys, Ranzo.

Although the overt text is about immigration in the mid-19th century, there is no reason that this could not be a descendant of an earlier piece, especially with the mention of flight over the ocean, possibly referring to deportation to Australia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 04:12 PM

Highly unlikely. Sometimes geese are just geese.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 04:21 PM

I recall reading the section in the book - but don't recognise the words. I've never heard "scunnered" used in this (oddly obscure) sense. I'll look again.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Apr 04 - 07:26 PM

I also think it's likely that this is an original O'Brian composition, perhaps inspired by a reference he ran across to the Wild Goose Shanty.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commande
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 03 Apr 04 - 02:40 AM

Taking a scunner to something is taking a strong dislike, feeling disgust towards something. I've never seen it used like that either - scuppered sounds more apt.

It's probably O'Brien's invention, unless there's a song in Irish, though again I don't know any that goes:

Tá na Géanna Fíainne ag eitilt, ag eitilt, ag eitilt
Táa na Géanna Fíanna ag eitilt ar na farraige...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Comma
From: GUEST,guest mick
Date: 03 Apr 04 - 03:03 PM

JWB , Where can I get hold of a copy of your CD ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Comma
From: JWB
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 11:31 AM

Mick,

You can either get it direct from me (PM me for details), from ESS.A.Y Recordings, at www.essaycd.com, or from www.twobigtoes.com .

The recording is called Roast Beef of Old England.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commander
From: EBarnacle
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 03:32 PM

I believe Scunner is a derivation of scorn.
To throw a little confusion into the works, consider that the derivation of Schooner comes from "See how she schoons [or scorns the waves], which is the normal apocryphal derivation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Commander
From: GUEST,Another JWB
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 05:18 AM

Scunner is Middle English, derived from 'skurnen' meaning to flinch. In current North Yorkshire and Scots usage, it implies disgust, revulsion as a verb and a disgusting person as a noun. I believe it to be related to 'scon' and 'scunner' (v) in Cumbrian speech, meaning to shock or stun. (When I was a youngster, to 'Scon' someone was to hit him on the head, typicaly with a stone... "He sconned him wi' a gurt clemmie".)
From that, I'd hypothesise that the song implies that white horse (either the Hanoverian emblem or, more likley, the older one of the Saxons)has fouled the Irish landscape, and exiled the native people.

JWB- I have your CD, my thanks and congratulations! Excellent!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wild Geese song from Master and Comma
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Dec 10 - 08:07 AM

Makes sense to me. But I still wonder if there were a traditional song that O'Brian unearthed in his research. For example, phrases such as "kicking up Bob's a-dying" have in fact been traced back to traditional tunes and other historical references.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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