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Origins: Eighteenth of June

DigiTrad:
EILEEN AROON


Related thread:
thought for 18th day of June, me lads (13)


Fergie 27 Apr 04 - 10:47 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Apr 04 - 11:20 PM
open mike 28 Apr 04 - 12:33 AM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Apr 04 - 01:23 AM
IanC 28 Apr 04 - 04:16 AM
Fergie 04 Jun 04 - 09:38 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Jun 04 - 01:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jun 04 - 02:01 PM
Fergie 14 Jun 04 - 10:26 AM
MartinRyan 14 Jun 04 - 10:43 AM
M.Ted 14 Jun 04 - 11:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Jun 04 - 02:18 PM
Fergie 15 Jun 04 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,guest,John 20 May 13 - 04:18 AM
Richard Mellish 20 May 13 - 04:18 PM
GeoffLawes 30 Jun 17 - 07:07 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: EIGHTEENTH OF JUNE (from Harte & Lunny)
From: Fergie
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 10:47 PM

Frank Harte & Donal Lunny released a CD entitled 'My Name is Napoleon Bonaparte' a year or so ago. One of the songs is entitled;


Eighteenth of June.

All you people who live at home easy
And far from the trials of war
Never knowing the dangers of battle
But are safe with your families secure
Know you the long scythe of destruction
Has been sweeping the nations all round
But it never yet cut with the keenness
That it did on the eighteenth of June

CHORUS: And what a sad heart had poor Boney
To take up instead of the crown
And to canter from Brussels to Paris
Lamenting the eighteenth of June.

It began about five in the morning
And it lasted till seven at night
All the people stood round in amazement
They had never yet seen such a sight
And the thunder of five hundred cannon
Proclaimed that the battle was on
And the moon in the sky overshone all
Recording the eighteenth of June.

chorus

All you young girls with sweethearts out yonder
That go daily to buy the black gown
It's one thousand to one I will lay you
Your love fell on the eighteenth of June
Sixty thousand stout-hearted brave soldiers
who died made an awful pall tune
And there's many's the one will remember
With sorrow the eighteenth of June.

And what a sad heart had poor Boney
For to take up instead of his crown
And there's many's the girl will remember
With sorrow the eighteenth of June.


In his notes Frank comments that the song was collected in England from Henry Burstow and that Frank himself learned the song from Rod Stradling.

I am interested in variations and alternative or additional verses for this song, The air/tune is similar to the Irish tune/song
'An Cailín Deas Cruite Na mBo'
Regards
Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Apr 04 - 11:20 PM

The Roud Folk Song Index lists this at number 2539; at present Henry Burstow's set is the only example in the index. His text and tune were published in The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol II (issue 8, 1906) p 193; numerous small changes and interpolations have been made to it -either by Rod Stradling or Frank Harte- if the transcription here is anything to go by.

Henry said that he had learned the song "from a soldier in the Rifle Brigade who fought at Waterloo". The composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who noted the tune in November 1905, mentioned that it bore some resemblance to The Green Mossy Banks of the Lea. Variants of that tune, and of the similar Pretty Maid Milking Her Cow, were very common at the time, so that doesn't really tell us anything useful about provenance. Such tunes were pressed into all manner of jobs that required a standard triple-time metre.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: open mike
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 12:33 AM

in the U.S. June 19th is known as the day of freedom when slavery ended. there are many celebrations of Juneteenth.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 01:23 AM

Is that in any way relevant to the question Fergus asked? Quite a lot of things happened in various Junes during the 19th century, but I'd hope that we don't wind up with a full list of them here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: IanC
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 04:16 AM

Malcolm

Perhaps it would have been better to explain to Open Mike what 18th June signifies in this song. It is, of course, the date of the Battle of Waterloo (18th June 1815).

:-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Fergie
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 09:38 AM

I have since learned that Norma Waterson did a version of this song, does anybody have her version of the lyrics?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 01:24 PM

There's a provisional transcription at Reinhard Zierke's Watersons site: Poor Boney. Watch out for the mondegreens, though. The difficulty over "awful pall tune", or whatever it originally was, goes back nearly a hundred years; Vaughan Williams wasn't entirely sure what Henry Burstow had sung, and printed it as "awful paltune", with a query.

From the look of it, it's an arrangement of the same set, as mediated by Stradling and/or Harte.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jun 04 - 02:01 PM

'eighteenth of June' appears in the poem, "Napoleon's Farewell to Paris," no relation to the song, but mentioning the same event. One of the ten verses:

My golden eagles were pulled down by Wellington's allied army
My troops, all in disorder, could no longer stand the field;
I was sold that afternoon, on the eighteenth of June,
My reinforcements proved traitors, which caused me to yield.

On a sheet with "The Nut Girl," printed by Taylor, Spitalfields, London, no date. American Memory.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Fergie
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:26 AM

I hope to sing this song at the Góilín singers club here in Dublin next friday (18th June). I have taken an extreme liberty and rewritten the last verse in a form that (in my opinion)scans easier than the version which Frank sings, I have done this in an attempt to make the song more accessible. I would really appreciate some brutally constructive critism on my efforts as usually I am loath to interfere with song lyrics.

Franks version
All you young girls with sweethearts out yonder
That go daily to buy the black gown
It's one thousand to one I will lay you
Your love fell on the eighteenth of June
Sixty thousand bravehearted stout soldiers
who died made an awful pall tune
And there's many's a one will remember
With sorrow the eighteenth of June.

My rewritten version
All you widows whose loves died in battle
And who daily must don the black gown
It's one thousand to one I will lay you
Your love died on the Eighteenth of June
Sixty thousand stout hearted brave soldiers
Were slain and their bodies lay strewn
Amid the ruin and destruction of the battle
That befell on the Eighteenth of June.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: MartinRyan
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 10:43 AM

Fergie

If it feels comfortable to you - go for it!

Two minor suggestions you might consider:
1. Battle/gown seems to sit much less easily than yoNder/gowN

2. "Amid the ruin and the destruction of the battle" looks to be two syllables too many for comfort? To me, "'mid" and "of battle" would seem easier.

IMHO what makes this song work is the combination of a lsow jig tune, soft delivery and a sense of loss.

Good luck with it!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 11:49 AM

Doesn't scan as well--Fergie--and your choice of words--a bit more precise, but less direct--
"Were Slain and their bodies lay strewn" seems contrived more to rhyme than to convey meaning, and you've completely changed the meaning of the last lines--and what point to meddle with these verses, anyway?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 02:18 PM

Perhaps I should post the song as Henry Burstow sang it. You'll see that Rod and Frank have made a fair few alterations between them.


THE EIGHTEENTH OF JUNE

(Sung by Henry Burstow, Horsham, November 1905. Noted by R Vaughan Williams)

You people that live at home easy,
And free from the riot of war
*
*
Know that long has the scythe of destruction
Been sweeping our nation around;
It never yet cut with such keenness
As on the great eighteenth of June.

From half past five in the morning,
To half past seven at night
The people of the [ ? ]
Never before saw such a sight,
When the thunder of five hundred cannons
Proclaiming the battle was won,
The moon in the night overshone,
As recorded the eighteenth of June.

You lasses whose sweethearts were yonder,
Go gaily and buy a black gown,
A thousand I will lay to a hundred
He fell on the eighteenth of June,
Sixty thousand stout hearted mortals
That fell, made an awful paltune [?]
Many a sad heart will remember
With sorrow the eighteenth of June.

What a sad heart had poor Boney
To take up instead of a crown
A canter for Brussels and Paris
Lamenting the eighteenth of June.


X:1
T:The Eighteenth of June
S:Henry Burstow, Horsham, Sussex. November 1905.
Z:Noted by Ralph Vaughan Williams
N:Learnt by Henry from J Shoebridge, Rifle Brigade, who had fought at Waterloo.
B:The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol II (issue 8, 1906) p 193.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:6/8
K:G
"Aeolian"(E/F/)|G B d B3/2 A/ G|E E z z z E|
w:You_ peo-ple that live at home eas-y, And
G B B (A/G/) E D|E3 z z (E/F/)|
w:free from the ri_ot of war,
G B d B3/2 A/ G|E E z z z E|
w:* * * * * * * * * * *
G B B (A/G/) E D|E3 z z E/ F/|
w:* * ** * * * * Know that
G3/2 A/ B d e f|d B z z z A|
w:long has the scythe of de-struc-tion Been
B e d B A G|D3 z z D|
w:sweep-ing our na-tion a-round; It
E F G A B D|D E z z z E|
w:nev-er yet cut with such keen-ness As
G/ A/ H(B3/2A/) G E D|E3 z z|]
w:on the great_ eight-eenth of June.


The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol II (issue 8, 1906) p 193.

Mr Burstow (who was 78 at the time) seems to have been a little unsure of some of the words, and to have omitted two lines in the first verse; he didn't list the song among the 420 that he considered to be his "active" repertoire. There is no clear indication that the final half-verse was used as a chorus. Vaughan Williams added the following note in his MS:

"Sung to Burstow by J. Shoebridge, Rifle Brigade, who was in the Battle of Waterloo and, Burstow thought, learnt it there."

Evidently this was Jim Shoubridge, who is mentioned briefly in Burstow's memoirs (Reminiscences of Horsham, 1912, p. 46) as a local veteran of Wellington's campaigns. Genealogical data (source unspecified) at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website refers to a James Shoubridge, christened at Horsham on 2 February 1783: quite likely the same man.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Fergie
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 09:00 AM

Thanks for all your contributions
M.Ted thanks for your interest and comments - I like the song and it's sentiment, I have only heard Frank Harte's version, and I find the last verse a little confusing, this maybe because as Malcolm Douglas points out it was collected only once and the source Henry Burstow was unsure of some of the words, therefore subsequently those who attempt to revive the song have had to improvise. Henry Burstow's version was transcribed by Ralph Vaughan Williams and he was unsure of what he was hearing and he placed question marks over some of the words. Paltune was one of these words and there has been much debate over this word and its possible meaning etc. I am trying to overcome (or maybe add to) some of this confusion by my own bit of improvisation/interpretation. and in the end isn't that what some of the magic, attraction and dynamism of the singing tradition is about.

Thanks Martin Ryan for your comments - You are right concerning the number of syllables and I will take up your suggestions.

Thanks to Malcolm also - I appreciate you going to such trouble to post such valuable and very interesting background to the history of this song, it has helped me a lot and given me a deeper insight into the lyrics.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: GUEST,guest,John
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:18 AM

That line, as sung by Martin Carthy, sounds to me like "That fell paid an awful poor due", as in "to pay one's dues".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteen of June
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:18 PM

Seeing as this thread has been revived, I'll throw in one comment.

When I first heard this song (I forget who sung it) it was with a chorus of Burstow's last four lines:
"What a sad heart had poor Boney
To take up instead of a crown
A canter for Brussels and Paris
Lamenting the eighteenth of June."
i.e. instead of taking up a crown he took up a canter to Paris.

When I recently acquired and listened to the Frank Harte double-CD, it seemed to me that his version of the chorus:
"And what a sad heart had poor Boney
(For) to take up instead of a crown
And to canter from Brussels to Paris
Lamenting the eighteenth of June."
doesn't make sense.

But I must add that this is a minor whinge about what is on the whole an absolutely set of recordings.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Origins: Eighteenth of June
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 07:07 AM

A link to Frank Harte singing the song
https://www.itma.ie/goilin/song/eighteenth_of_june_frank_harte


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