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Lyr Req: Four Prominent Bastards (Ogden Nash)

Charmion 02 Aug 06 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Mike Miller 02 Aug 06 - 03:20 PM
MMario 02 Aug 06 - 03:24 PM
Charmion 02 Aug 06 - 03:28 PM
Joe Offer 02 Aug 06 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 02 Aug 06 - 09:30 PM
Bill D 02 Aug 06 - 10:34 PM
Joe_F 30 May 10 - 11:40 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards
From: Charmion
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:03 PM

It's time for me to consult the Great Mudsource, fount of all lyrics past and present.

I would be grateful for any advances on the text set out below, which I found in A Bloody War, a war memoir by Hal Lawrence, a Canadian naval officer. It's not a song but a recitation, a performance art form very popular in wardroom and lower deck alike (viz, 'Awkins' 'Alo.

I'm an autocratic figure in these democratic states;
I'm a dandy demonstration of hereditary traits.
My position in the structure of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.

My father was a gentleman, and musical to boot;
He used to play the fiddle in a house of ill-repute.
The madam was a lady, a credit to her cult;
She enjoyed my father's fiddling and I was the result.
So my mummy and my daddy are the ones I have to thank
That I'm the Chairman of the Board of a stable Boston bank.

[Two stanzas in which two more bastards describe their worldly successes]

I'm an ordinary figure in these democratic states;
A pathetic demonstration of hereditary traits.
My position in the structure of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.

My father was a married man and, what is even more,
He was married to my mother -- a fact that I abhor.
I was born in holy wedlock; consequently, by and by,
I was rooked by every bastard that had plunder in his eye.
I invested, I deposited, I voted every fall,
I saved up every penny and the bastards took it all.

[Something else might be missing here]

But now I've learned my lesson and I'm on the proper track;
I'm a self-appointed Bastard, and I'm going to get it back!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards
From: GUEST,Mike Miller
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:20 PM

I heard this song performed by Oscar Brand on one of his "Bawdy Songs and Backroom Ballads" albums. He would, often, use it in concerts, too. Ogden Nash claims to have written it and I believe him. Nash's claims to fame, as a poet, songwriter and humorist, are so broad as to affirm any claim he cared to make. He called it "Three Prominent So-and-sos". In those days, the most popular ism was euphemism.

                      Mike


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards
From: MMario
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:24 PM

In the DT as 'Four Prominent Bastards'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards
From: Charmion
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 03:28 PM

Thanks, Leo. I wonder where Sub-Lieutenant Lawrence learned it!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 04:20 PM

I always question Ogden Nash and Robert W. Service and Kipling attributions, because I've seen things falsely attributted to these three. This one, however, seems legit. This Ogden Nash bibliography (click) lists a 1934 broadside poem titled Four Prominent Bastards Are We; and also a 1934 song titled Four Prominent So and So's, with lyrics by Ogden Nash, music by Robert Armbruster, illustrations by Otto Soglow.


This poetry site (click) has a slightly different version:


The Lay of the Three Bastards

[This recitation was allegedly written by Ogden Nash in the late 1930s. The version presented here was current in Australia in the 1940s and differs slightly from the original.]

The First Bastard:

I am an autocratic figure in these democratic days,
A dandy demonstration of hereditary traits.
As the children of the baker bake the most delicious breads,
And the sons of Casanova fill the most exclusive beds,
So my position in the structure of society I owe
To the qualities of parents bequeathed my long ago.
My father was a gentleman, and musical to boot,
He played the second fiddle in a house of ill-repute,
The madam was a lady, and a credit to her cult,
And she liked my father's fiddling - and I am the result.
So my mother and my father are the ones I have to thank
For the fact that I'm the Chairman of the National Mutual Bank.

The Second Bastard:

In a cosy little farm house in a quaint old country dell,
A dear old-fashioned farmer and his daughter used to dwell,
She was pretty, she was charming, she was gentle, she was mild,
And her sympathies were such that she was frequently with child.
In the year her hospitality attained a record high
She then became the mother of a happy infant - I.
And whenever she was gloomy, I could always make her grin
By childishly inquiring who my father might have bin
The hired man was favoured by the girls of mother's set
And a traveler from Sydney was an even money bet,
But such was mother's morals, and such was her allure
The even the Archbishop was not completely sure.
So I took my mother's morals, and I took my mother's crust
And now I am the Chairman of the top Investment Trust.

The Third Bastard:

As a member of a chain gang on a dusty Bathurst road
My late lamented father had a permanent abode.
Now some were there for stealing, but my father's only fault
Was an overwhelming weakness for criminal assault
My father always told me that raping was a crime,
Unless you raped the voters a million at a time.
I'm a debit to my country, but a credit to my dad,
I'm the most expensive M.H.R. this country ever had.

Our parents forgot to get married, our parents forgot to get wed,
Did a wedding bell chime, it was always the time that our parents were somewhere in bed
So thanks to our kind loving parents, we are kings in this land of the free,
Yon banker, yon broker, yon Canberra joker - three prominent bastards are we.

Lament Of The Person Who Is Not Prominent:

I'm an ordinary figure in these democratic days,
A pathetic demonstration of hereditary traits.
As the children of the flat-footed have the flattest kind of feet
And the children of Flo. Ziegfield have a waggle in the seat,
So my position at the bottom of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.
My father was a married man, and what is even more,
He was married to my mother, a fact which I deplore.
I was born in holy wedlock, consequently by-and-by
I was rooked by even bastard who had plunder in his eye.
I deposited, I invested, and I voted at the call,
If I've ever made a penny then these bastards took it all.
But now I've learned my lesson and I'm on the proper track
I'm a self-appointed bastard, and I'm going to get it back.


For comparison, here's the text from the Digital Tradition. Anybody have an authentic Ogden Nash text?

FOUR PROMINENT BASTARDS
(Ogden Nash)

I'm an autocratic figure in these democratic states
A dandy demonstration of hereditary traits.
As the children of the baker make the most delicious breads
And the sons of Casanova fill the most exclusive beds,
And the Barrymores and Roosevelts and others I could name
Inherited the features that perpetuate their fame,
My position in the structure of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.
Now, my father was a gentleman, and musical, to boot;
He used to play piano in a house of ill repute.
My mother was the madam, and a credit to her cult
She liked my daddy's playing, and I was the result.
So my mammy and my daddy are the ones I've got to thank,
I'm the chairman of the board of the National City Bank.

cho: Our parents forgot to get married
Our parents forgot to get wed;
Did a wedding bell chime, that was always a time
They were somewhere off in bed.
So it's thanks to our kind-hearted parents
We're kings in this land of the free
The banker, the broker, the Washington joker
Three prominent bastards are we.

In a cozy little cottage, in a cozy little dell
A dear old-fashioned farmer and his daughter used to dwell.
She was pretty, she was charming, she was tender, she was mild
And her sympathies were such that she was frequently with child.
The year her hospitality attained a record high
She found herself the mother of an infant, which was I.
And whenever she was gloomy I could always make her grin
By childishly inquiring who my daddy might have been.
Now the hired man was favored by the gals of mammy's set
And the traveling man from Scranton was an even-money bet,
But such were mammy motives, and such was her allure
That even Roger Babson wasn't altogether sure.
So I took my mammy's morals and I took my daddy's crust
And I grew to be the founder of a big investment trust.

On a dusty southern chain-gang, on a dusty southern road
My late-lamented pappy made his permanent abode,
Now while some was there for stealing, my pappy's only fault
Was an overwhelming weakness for criminal assault.
His philosophy was simple, and free of moral tape,
"Seduction is for sissies; a he-man wants his rape!"
Pappy's total list of victims was embarrassingly rich
And though one of them was mammy, still he could not tell me which.
Well I never went to college, but I got me a degree,
I guess I am the model of a perfect S.O.B,
I'm a debit to my country, but a credit to my dad,
The most expensive senator this country ever had.
I remember pappy's telling me, "Boy, rapin' is a crime
Unless you rape the voters, a million at a time."

I'm an ordinary figure in these democratic states,
A pathetic demonstration of hereditary traits.
As the children of the cops possess the flattest kind of feet
And the daughter of the floozie has a waggle to seat,
My position in the basement of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.
Now, my father was a married man, and what is even more
He was married to my mother, a fact that I deplore
I was born in holy wedlock, consequently by and by
I got rooked by every bastard with plunder in his eye.
I invested, I deposited, I voted every fall
Did I ever get a penny saved, those bastards took it all.
Well, at last I've learned my lesson, and I'm on the proper track
I'm a self-appointed bastard, and I'm gonna get it back.

final cho:
Our parents forgot to get married
Our parents forgot to get wed;
Did a wedding bell chime, that was always a time
They were somewhere off in bed.
So it's thanks to our kind-hearted parents
We're kings in this land of the free
The banker, the broker, the Washington joker
Three prominent bastards --- and me,
The banker, the broker, the joker and me
Four prominent bastards are we.

This was, the story goes, written for a Gridiron Club dinner ca. 1941, and
was broadcast on Armed Service Radio by mistake. It's been published as "A
Ballad to be Sung By Four Prominent Love Children"

@political @sex
filename[ FOURBSTD
TUNE FILE: FOURBSTD
CLICK TO PLAY
RG


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Subject: Lyr Add: FOUR PROMINENT BASTARDS (Ogden Nash)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 09:30 PM

I looked this up at Harvard. I copied it with a pencil (I was not allowed to photocopy it), and this is the result. I did not have time to copy the tune, but it is not the one Oscar Brand uses.

Four Prominent Bastards
by Ogden Nash
(Written for the Dutch Treat Club show, New York, March 1933)

The banker:
I'm an autocratic figure in these democratic states.
I'm a dandy demonstration of hereditary traits.
As the children of the baker bake the most delicious breads,
As the sons of Casanova fill the most exclusive beds,
As the Barrymores, the Roosevelts, and others I could name
Inherited the talents that perpetuate their fame,
My position in the structure of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.
My pappy was a gentleman and musical to boot.
He used to play piano in a house of ill repute.
The madam was a lady and a credit to her cult.
She enjoyed my pappy's playing, and I was the result.
So my mammy and my pappy are the ones I have to thank
That I'm chairman of the board of the National County Bank.

Chorus:
Oh, our parents forgot to get married.
Oh, our parents forgot to get wed.
Did a wedding bell chime? It was always a time
When our parents were somewhere in bed.
Oh, thanks to our kind, loving parents,
We are kings in the land of the free --
Your banker, your broker, your Washington joker,
Four prominent bastards are we, tralalala,
Four prominent bastards are we.

The broker:
In a cozy little farmhouse, in a cozy little dell,
A dear, old-fashioned farmer and his daughter used to dwell.
She was pretty, she was charming, she was tender, she was mild,
And her sympathies were such that she was frequently with child.
The year her hospitality attained a record high,
She became the happy mammy of an infant, which was I.
Whenever she was gloomy, I could always make her grin
By childishly inquiring who my pappy might have been.
The hired man was favored by the girls in mammy's set,
And a traveling man from Scranton was an even-money bet,
But such were mammy's motives, and such was her allure,
That even Roger Babson wasn't altogether sure.
Well, I took my mammy's morals, and I took my pappy's crust,
And I grew to be the founder of a big investment trust.

The senator:
On a lonesome southern chain gang on a dusty southern road,
My late lamented daddy made his permanent abode.
Now some were there for stealing, but daddy's only fault
Was an overwhelming weakness for criminal assault.
His philosophy was simple and free from moral tape:
Seduction is for sissies -- a he-man wants his rape.
Daddy's total list of victims was embarrasingly rich,
And though one of them was mammy, he couldn't tell me which.
Well, I didn't go to college, but I got me a degree:
I reckon I'm the model of a perfect S.O.B.
I'm a debit to my country, but a credit to my dad:
I'm the most expensive senator the country ever had.
I remember daddy's warning that raping is a crime,
Unless you rape the voters a million at a time.

You and I:
I'm an ordinary figure in these democratic states,
A pathetic demonstration of hereditary traits.
As the children of the cops possess the flattest kind of feet
And the daughter of a floosy has a wiggle to her seat,
My position at the bottom of society I owe
To the qualities my parents bequeathed me long ago.
My father was a married man, and what is even more,
He was married to my mother, a fact that I deplore.
I was born in holy wedlock; consequently by and by
I was rooked by every bastard with plunder in his eye.
I invested, I deposited, I voted every fall,
And if I saved a penny, the bastards took it all.
At last I've learned my lesson and I'm on the proper track:
I'm a self-appointed bastard, and I'm going to get it back.


--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: If people have to work for a living, then the price of labor equals the standard of living. :||
    Great work, Joe! I deleted the extra line breaks from your post.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards/Four Bastards
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Aug 06 - 10:34 PM

I have a 4 volume set of Ogden Nash, but this doesn't seem to have been 'collected' as part of them. If, as noted, it was written as a special item, maybe he never intended it to be in one of the 4 books.

He DID, however have several unflattering poems about bankers! I don't think he cared for that class very much.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: /Add: The Three Bastards/Four Bastards
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 May 10 - 11:40 AM

I have never seen it in a collection, either. It was published as a booklet (15 pp.): Four prominent so and so's: lyrics by Ogden Nash, music by Robert Armbruster, illustrations by Otto Soglow; New York: Simon and Schuster, 1934. The Houghton Library at Harvard has it.

In addition to changing the tune, Oscar Brand left out the fourth bastard & stanza, thereby depriving the song of its full malice.

We are not exactly back to 1934, but it is fair to say that the song is once again topical.


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