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Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman

Related thread:
The common and the goose (24)


Rank 20 Jun 05 - 04:45 PM
Peace 20 Jun 05 - 05:02 PM
Rank 20 Jun 05 - 05:45 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Jun 05 - 06:13 PM
Richard Bridge 20 Jun 05 - 06:15 PM
Rank 25 Jun 05 - 05:48 PM
Richard Bridge 25 Jun 05 - 06:14 PM
sapper82 26 Jun 05 - 03:46 PM
InOBU 27 Jun 05 - 07:21 AM
Charmion 27 Jun 05 - 09:26 AM
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Subject: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Rank
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 04:45 PM

This song or poem is apparently circa 1764 and while there are thousands of links to it on the internet, most are concerned with commons theft, or using it to make a political point. Anyway I couldn't find any information about the author, or whether it had a tune or not.

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don't escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common'
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Peace
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 05:02 PM

I would look at who was ruling in 1764, social conditions, etc. It's a protest song right up there with "The Times They Are A'Changin'".

Was it English or American?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Rank
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 05:45 PM

Variously described as an English nursery rhyme and as an old English folk poem, both cica 1764. I've just tried it to 'See amid the winter's snow', which doesn't sound too bad, but an original tune might be better.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 06:13 PM

It's definitely English - we had to learn a version (not quite the same words) at school. It refers to the Inclosure Acts, pursuant to which almost all common land in England passed into private ownership - but curiously the maps for which have helped to preserve the rights of way recorded on them.   

I can get a date for the Acts, but I don't have it in my head.

I know a tune for it, but it is contemporary, written by two twin brothers called Worral, at school. They even got to bring their guitars into a history lesson and sing it to us.

Problem is I neither write dots nor MIDI nor ABC, so passing on said tune might be tricky. As well as an infringment of copyright.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 06:15 PM

notes on Inclosure Acts


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Rank
Date: 25 Jun 05 - 05:48 PM

The inclosure acts link is interesting. That is a new word to me so I've learnt something.

It surprises me that I can't find a title for it or any publication details, author etc. Perhaps a proper title might yield some results.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Jun 05 - 06:14 PM

It was in the school poetry books as "anon".


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: sapper82
Date: 26 Jun 05 - 03:46 PM

The Inclosure Acts were enacted in dribs and drabs from the 12th Century onwards, but were mainly passed from 1750 to 1860, so the song probably dates to the 1750s or '60s.

Inclosure Acts


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Jun 05 - 07:21 AM

This is very timely, in light of the US Supreme Court ruling that immanent domain applies to the state taking private property to give to private concerns... In New London, single family homes were taken away by the municipality, so the land could be given to a corporation to build a Mall. This is a complete change in American law and attitude. The expression "an Englishman's home is his castle" comes from the first day of the War for Independence, when a New Englander, born and raised in New England yelled this to the British soldiers who demanded he open his home to them. He died when they burned his castle around him.

Now, all this fight for the right of the individual to work for a small piece of land, is gone. The rich will now always get the land they want, because the right of the little person not to sell is over. One more American right is smashed like the Berlin Wall.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: They hang the man and flog the woman
From: Charmion
Date: 27 Jun 05 - 09:26 AM

I learned this from Professor Robert Malcolmson at Queen's University (Kingston, Ont) around 1981. He taught a senior seminar on English social history based largely on the works of JH Plumb, Asa Briggs, EP Thompson et al -- he was himself a student of Thompson -- and began a series of classes on the transition from commons to private land with this little verse.

I have also seen it quoted in literally dozens of scholarly papers and monographs on the subject, beginning with the magisterial two-volume history of British agriculture by Joan Thirsk.


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