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Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'

Lighter 18 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM
Dave Hanson 19 Jan 05 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 19 Jan 05 - 04:29 AM
Gibb Sahib 17 Apr 10 - 01:17 AM
Lighter 17 Apr 10 - 10:47 AM
Gibb Sahib 17 Apr 10 - 11:53 AM
Jim Dixon 18 Apr 10 - 01:13 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 18 Apr 10 - 01:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Apr 10 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Brian Farley 24 Mar 13 - 02:55 PM
Lighter 24 Mar 13 - 03:06 PM
MartinRyan 24 Mar 13 - 04:26 PM
GUEST,Wm 08 May 17 - 08:02 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 06:42 PM

We know that limericks have been sung and not just recited for a long time. Stan Hugill even gives a "Limerick Shanty" that he learned at sea, and Charles J. Finger refers to the singing of limericks in his own experience as far back as the 1890s.

It's been said that the name "limerick" comes from a "lost" chorus made up of or including the phrase "Won't you come up [or down] to Limerick?"

Has anyone ever heard such a chorus? When and where? How many different choruses are in use today?

As most 'Catters know, bawdy limericks are sung at endless length, especially in British, Irish, and rugby circles. But are clean limericks ever sung, or are they always simply recited one or two at a time? Is it mainly university types who memorize limericks at all?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 04:29 AM

' Will You Come Down To Limerick ' [ Kitty Come Down To Limerick ]
is a slip jig not a song tune.

eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 19 Jan 05 - 04:29 AM

I'm sure that there was such a song, but I doubt if it ever had anything to do with Limericks as in the rhyme pattern. It just doesn't fit.

The only (clean) one I've heard was the one used in singsongs at family parties in the 50s/60s (yes, our paremts really DID make their own entertainment)- which were "clean" though tended to border on the risque:

That was a wonderful song
Give us another one, do.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 01:17 AM

A tangential question:

The "Limerick Shanty" given by Hugill has a chorus of "The elephants walk around, and the band begins to play..." It sounds familiar. Anyone know where it might have been borrowed from?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 10:47 AM

Re limericks in general, Stephan Goranson has recently made the following dramatic discovery in the St. John (New Brunswick)Daily News of Nov. 30, 1880:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Fx81AAAAIBAJ&sjid=kCYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3306,6135404&dq=come-to-limerick&hl=en

The article provides

1. The earliest known connection, by many years, of the word "Limerick" with the verse form.

2. Confirmation that the stanzas were sung, rather than simply recited, from at least 1880.

3. Confirmation that the tune used was the Irish slip jig, "Won't You Come (Up) to Limerick?"

4. Confirmation that that phrase was actually used as a chorus.

5. Convergence of all these factors in North America - amazing in itself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Apr 10 - 11:53 AM

Wow - must have been hard fitting the verse to a slip jig meter! I can't quite hear it...yet.


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Subject: Lyr Add: 'There was a young rustic named Mallory'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 01:13 PM

Here's that item Lighter referred to, from the St. John Daily News, November 30, 1880, page 4:

The relevant part is merely one paragraph in an article titled "Wise and Otherwise," consisting of numerous short and unrelated jokes, puns, quips, etc. It appears without line breaks:
      There was a young rustic named Mallory, who drew but a very small salary. When he went to show, his purse made him go to a seat in the uppermost gallery. Tune, wont you come to Limerick.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 01:25 PM

Piper Willie Clancy sang these words to 'Will you come down to Limerick' (which is also often called 'The Munster Gimlet'

Kitty come down, come down
Kitty come down to Limerick.
I knew by the glint in her eye,
that she wanted a touch of the gimlet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Apr 10 - 02:00 PM

Tangential, again, but since I'm not aware of anyone else having recorded the "Limerick Shanty," here is a rendition:

The Limerick Shanty

If limericks were *sung* back in the day, this may have been one of the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: GUEST,Brian Farley
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 02:55 PM

Gibb Sahib said limericks don't fit 9/8 slipped jig time - I agree. It fits 8 bars of 6/8 jig time perfectly, if we include the silent beat at the end of lines 1,2 and 5. What do others think? Just treat lines 3 and 4 as another two bar line.

Does anyone know of common 8 bar jig tunes used for limericks? Or would any jig do?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 03:06 PM

You may not be able to fit a limerick *stanza* to the tune of "Won't You Come up to Limerick?" but the reported *chorus* certainly fits:

Won't you come up, come up,
Won't you come up to Limerick?
Won't you come up, come up.
Won't you come up to Limerick?

It's particularly fitting because you can keep on chanting till someone comes up with another stanza.

How the stanza was sung in 1880 is not known, but I believe the current tune is the only one associated with the song, all the way back to the early 1900s. So they may have been using it in 1880 as well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Mar 13 - 04:26 PM

Missed this thread first time round.

I can certainly hear 9/8 in the Limerick Shanty sample and see the connection to WIlly Clancy's "Will you come done Limerick" as shown by Peter Laban. Very interesting.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Will You Come Down to Limerick?'
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 08 May 17 - 08:02 PM

The chorus Hugill gives for the Limerick Shanty derives from Van Ambergh's Menagerie: A Comic Song, written for voice and piano by W.J. Wetmore and published in Brooklyn, 1865 (link). Isaac Van Ambergh (1811–65) was a lion tamer and circus pioneer famed for his travelling menagerie.

The song's chorus runs:

The elephant now moves round, the music begins to play,
Them boys around the monkey cage had better keep away.


The verses are amusing, but not limericks. I will leave it to another to compare the melody to Hugill.

--

The song seems to have achieved immediate popularity. It is, for instance, one of the few songs without an explicit connection to the university published in Carmina Yalensia: A Complete and Accurate Collection of Yale College Songs (1867), with a slightly different text.

The song retained enough currency in later decades that it was parodied, for instance, in this February 1887 advertisement in the Cambridge Herald, an Ohio newspaper:

The Elephant now moves round,
The Band begins to play,
And people wanting to buy goods cheap
Had better not stay away!


If the OCR transcription is to be trusted, a notice in the July 5, 1899 Pittsburgh Press similarly reads:

The Elephant Now Moves Round,
The band begins to play,
The Elks Street Fair is coming
And don't you stay away


Such references continued to made into the twentieth century.

--

In his 1905 novel The Lady Navigators: And Incidentally the Man with the Nubble Brow, Edward Noble is the first I can find to pair the chorus with limericks (and in a maritime context as well, though not a chanteying one). In the novel, the ship's crew make a game of trading limericks (of insufficient quality and sufficient rarity to perhaps stem from the author's own experience—Noble, a contemporary and acquaintance of Conrad, spent 16 years at sea) to this delightful permutation of the chorus:

Oh, the elephant walks around
And the band begins to play
The silly young geese go quack, quack, quack—
And the donkey shouts haw-hay.


The sequence begins on page 101.

--

This is just a cursory bit of research. I expect a more comprehensive search might yield more further results.

--

Bonus reference to the 1927 death of a Captain Eric Atterling of the Swedish motorship Santos in the July 11 edition of the Oakland Tribune. Perhaps Hugill's informant?


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