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Common poems set to music

eechlay 01 Sep 06 - 11:21 AM
eechlay 01 Sep 06 - 11:55 AM
Dan Schatz 01 Sep 06 - 12:16 PM
Old Grizzly 01 Sep 06 - 01:34 PM
sciencegeek 01 Sep 06 - 01:39 PM
Leadfingers 01 Sep 06 - 02:33 PM
Big Al Whittle 01 Sep 06 - 03:12 PM
Nigel Parsons 01 Sep 06 - 03:13 PM
harpmolly 01 Sep 06 - 03:49 PM
weerover 01 Sep 06 - 03:53 PM
weerover 01 Sep 06 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 01 Sep 06 - 05:24 PM
Helen 01 Sep 06 - 05:28 PM
The Sandman 01 Sep 06 - 05:57 PM
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Amos 01 Sep 06 - 06:05 PM
Haruo 01 Sep 06 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 01 Sep 06 - 09:31 PM
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Subject: Common poems set to music
From: eechlay
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 11:21 AM

I'm looking for recorded versions of poems set to music that are not too obscure :). So far, my list goes...

Loreena McKennit - Stolen child, Lady of Shalott, The Two Trees
Maura O'Connell, Dolores Keane - Down By the Salley Gardens
Karan Casey, Judy Collins, Christy Moore - Song of Wandering Aengus
Cherish the Ladies, Bill Douglas - Lake Isle of Innisfree

Anyone know of any Keats' songs put to music?


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: eechlay
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 11:55 AM

I meant Keats' poems, though either way :)


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 12:16 PM

I don't know about Keats, but Greg Brown did an entire album of Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience," and Phil Ochs did a wonderful setting of Noyes's "The Highwayman." Any number of Kipling's poems were set by Peter Bellamy.

I've set a couple of poems, though I haven't recorded them - one is "The Song and the Sigh," by Henry Lawson. The other I did years ago, and have never sang in public - but it was a rockin' folkin' version of "The Jabberwocky," if I do say so myself!

Dan Schatz


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Old Grizzly
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 01:34 PM

Hi eechlay,

Try Peter Bellamy who recorded a lot of Rudyard Kiping's poetry, including a sizeable proportion of the 'Barrackroom Ballads'

Dave


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: sciencegeek
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 01:39 PM

check with Charlie Noble , he should know of a fair number of poems by C. Fox Smith that have been set to music.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 02:33 PM

If you want to write , but have trouble with words , setting poems to your own tunes is as good a way as any ! I've done a couple my self !


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 03:12 PM

Drink to me only - Bing Crosy/ Ben Jonson collaboration
Tell me where is fancy bred - Chris Barber and Otillie Patterson/Bard


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 03:13 PM

There's always J G Whittier's The Brewing of Soma

The first verses of which read:

"The fagots blazed, the caldron's smoke
Up through the green wood curled;
"Bring honey from the hollow oak,
Brink milky sap," the brewers spoke,
In the childhood of the world.

And brewed they well or brewed they ill,
The priests thrust in their rods,
First tasted, and then drank their fill,
And shouted, with one voice and will,
"Behold, the drink of the gods!"

They drank, and lo! in heart and brain
A new, glad life began;
The gray of hair grew young again,
The sick man laughed away his pain,
The cripple leaped and ran.

"Drink, mortals, what the gods have sent,
Forget your long annoy."
So sang the priests, From tent to tent
The Soma's sacred madness went,
A storm of drunken joy.


Which would make a marvellous folk song, if the church hadn't already laid claim to the last six verses!

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: harpmolly
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 03:49 PM

Eeech, you're missing one truly excellent McKennitt offering: Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman", which she did on her last album (The Book Of Secrets). It's got a wonderful dark brooding flavor to it.

I have a great love for the poem, as my grandfather used to recite it at family dinners. I was afraid Loreena would make it twinkly and pretty, but she really does it justice.

I've been flirting with the idea (don't laugh!) of setting Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee" to the tune of "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore". The meter fits perfectly, and the slightly eerie Mixolydian melody seems to complement the poem well.

BTW, ANUNA also does a lovely version of "Inisfree".

Cheers,

Molly


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: weerover
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 03:53 PM

I have wondered on Occasion if Thomas Davis's "The Sack of Baltimore" had ever been sent to music. There are a couple of tunes I know that would fit. Maybe Big Tim would know?

wr


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: weerover
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 03:54 PM

Don't know why I managed to capitalise "occasion", only my second Guinness of the evening.

wr


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 05:24 PM

Not perhaps that common, but Joan Baez's performance of Peter Schickele's setting of e.e. cummings's "All in green went my love riding" is wonderful. (On her concept album "Baptism", which I have not heard for 35 years; I've no idea if it's available).


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Helen
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 05:28 PM

The first one which came to my mind is Sea Fever, written by John Masefield but sung in the very unique style of Oz singer, Kavisha Mazzella on her Mermaids in the Well CD

But a large number of the poems of Australian poet Henry Lawson have been set to music. There is a brilliant collection of these by Chris Kempster including music notation of various versions and tunes. My favourite is:

Do You Think That I Do Not Know?

Henry Lawson

1910

They say that I never have written of love,
As a writer of songs should do;
They say that I never could touch the strings
With a touch that is firm and true;
They say I know nothing of women and men
In the fields where Love's roses grow,
And they say I must write with a halting pen
Do you think that I do not know?

etc

Helen


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: The Sandman
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 05:57 PM

Sailortown,written by c fox smith, set to music by Dick Miles. on charley nobles site.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 06:03 PM

Most of Emily Dickinson can be readily set to standard hymn tunes, and in fact in one recent hymnal (can't recall which) I saw one of her texts set as a hymn.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Amos
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 06:05 PM

"How Can I keep From Singing" performed by various artists, e.g., Enya.

A


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 08:37 PM

No, that doesn't count, it's a song text not a poem (Lowry wrote the tune himself).

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 09:31 PM

As to Kipling: He intended many of his poems to be songs (in the contents of his collected poems, I find 28 titles that begin with "Song", and 10 with "Ballad"), and many of them were set to music (some of them many times) in his lifetime, long before Peter Bellamy & Leslie Fish. Some became music-hall favorites. I have never succeeded in finding any of those old tunes, except for the standard one to "Mandalay", which crossed the Atlantic and was the kind of thing my grandparents would have sung in the bath, despite its having a range that is actually worse than that of the "Star-Spangled Banner". (One of my uncles used to say "Why didn't he kiss her where she *sat*?".) I spent a couple of hours once in the New York Public Library browsing in Kipling Society publications from the 1920s, and there were extensive listings of sheet music -- all, I suppose, now irrecoverable.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: Be careful what you do with your resentment. :||


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 09:51 PM

The Whiffenpoofs (whose Song is a take-off on Kipling's "Gentleman Rankers") and other long-established collegiate singing societies may well have in their archives sheet music you might suppose now irrecoverable.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 10:55 PM

Re: the Highwayman - Phil Ochs adapted it to music and recorded it in the(19)60s.
A Visit From Saint Nicolas - Recited and sung by one of the big bands.


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Subject: Common poems set to music
From: Genie
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 11:56 PM

Tennyson's poem "Crossing The Bar" has been set to music:
Lyr Add: Crossing the Bar (Tennyson, Arbo)
I believe that thread has a link to Ms. Arbo singing that song on Prairie Home Companion.

And the here's a thread with the tune: Tune Req: Crossing the bar - Tennyson

Emma Lazarus's poem "The New Colossus," which is the inscription on the Statue Of Liberty, has also been set to music, but I don't know who has recorded it.

One of the best known poems set to music is Longfellow's "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day," which is sung to at least 2 different tunes.   Both song versions are easy to find in books of Christmas carols or hymns.
The song versions, which I believe first came out about 10 years after Longfellow wrote and published the poem, leave out two of the verses with specific allusions to the cannons of the War Between The States.   (It was the juxtaposition of the cannons' roar with the Christmas day bells that inspired Longfellow to write the poem.) And the verse order is rearranged in the song, too.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Genie
Date: 01 Sep 06 - 11:57 PM

I should add that one of the first recordings I ever heard of I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day was by Harry Belafonte.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GrassStains
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 12:13 AM

Joseph Sobel has a recording of original "songs from the poetry of W.B. Yeats" called In the Deep Heart's Core. It's really lovely. He intersperses some of them with Irish tunes. Well worth looking into.

I made a setting of When You Are Old a number of years ago. The first stanza is very hard to set.

Carol


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 03:12 AM

Two Sails from our wedding program, a German poem by a Swiss poet, Zwei Segel in the original, was (as far as I know) first set as a song in its Esperanto version by Guido Holz, Adoru #109; the tune is by Esperanto hymnist Father Albrecht Kronenberger.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 09:42 AM

Christy Moore mentions one in his biography/songbook The song of wandering Aongus by Yeats that he learned from Richie Havens. I haven't heard it.

There is of course the John Milton poem/hymn Let us With a Gladsome Mind. I suppose that's a song by a poet.

How confusing!


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 11:41 AM

And speaking of Kipling and the Whiffenpoof business
The Road to Mandalay - Frank Sinatra


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 12:23 PM

Yeats's "The Song of the Wandering Aengus" is somewhat more commonly known in song form as "The Golden Apples of the Sun".

Longfellow's "Song of Life" is in Common Meter, so it's been set more than once. A short discussion here.

John Greenleaf Whittier's "The Song of the Vermonters, 1799" has appeared in tradition with more than one tune. (It's in Helen Hartness Flanders's "New Green Mountain Songster"; I learned it from with a different tune.)

Margaret MacArthur set lots of Vermont poems to music, but they're not what you'd call "common" poems. See here, for example.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 02:14 PM

I know I've seen Frost so set. "The Road Not Taken" and probably other pieces.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: oggie
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 02:37 PM

Alex Atterson set six Charles Causeley poems to music and recorded them as Side 1 of 'Pushing the Business On' (Plantlife Records, PLR005, 1977). They were, Johnny Alleluia, Three Masts, O Billy do you hear that bell, Nelson Gardens, Hawthorn White and Billy Medals.

Phil Ochs recorded 'The Highwayman' on 'I'ain't marching anymore' (Elektra EKL-7287,1968).

Here endeth my anorak moment for today.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 02:47 PM

How about Leonard Cohen? As much an author and poet as a singer and songwriter, or doesn't your own stuff count?


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 02:51 PM

Captain Webb form Dawley-John Betjeman
The Bells of Rhymney-Don't know who wtote the poem nut a "hit" for Pete Seegar


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Subject: Common poems set to music: America the Beautiful
From: Genie
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 03:02 PM

It's probably not commonly known that "America The Beautiful" was originally a poem, not a song. Massachusetts school teacher Katharine Lee Bates wrote the first version of the poem in 1892 IIRC (I was just a kid at the time) ;-) and for several years after its publication, people in the US set it to just about any well-known 4/4 tune they could find -- most notably and most commonly "Auld Lang Syne."   

Actually, the specific dates of the milestones in the development of this song are elusive, as different sources cite different versions thereof.

This is from Bates's own journal:
"... When we left Colorado Springs the four stanzas were penciled in my notebook …. The ... the notebook was laid aside, and I do not remember paying heed to these verses until the second summer following, when I copied them out and sent them to The Congregationalist, where they first appeared in print July 4, 1895.   The hymn attracted an unexpected amount of attention.   It was almost at once set to music by Silas G. Pratt.   Other tunes were written for the words and so many requests came to me, with still increasing frequency, that in 1904 I rewrote it, trying to make the phraseology more simple and direct."

That version was published in the Boston Evening Transcript in 1904, titled "America."   Bates kept perfecting her poem until 1911, when she published the poem in its present form, in a collection titled "America the Beautiful and Other Poems."

Samuel A. Ward, a NJ church organist, wrote the tune "Materna" in 1882. It's said that on his way home from Coney Island the melody popped into his head and he wrote the notes on a shirt-cuff.   He published it as a hymn in 1888.


In 1904 a NY Baptist minister, Dr. Clarence A Barbour, noted the fit of Bates's poem to Ward's tune and introduced the pairing as a hymn for his congregation. Its popularity quickly spread beyond his Rochester congregation. Barbour included this hymn in "Fellowship Hymns," published in 1910 (though he misspelled Bates's name as "Katherine.")

It appears that the lyricist (Bates), the melody composer (Ward), and the man who published the two as a hymn (Barbour) never met.

The rest, as they say, is history.   At least till Ray Charles put his own twist on both the tune and the lyrics. I'd say he has the best-known recording of this poem-set-to-music.

Regarding the Ray Charles version, I found this historical note about Bates's views very interesting:

"... Bates gave permission to use the poem to anyone who wanted it, requiring only that not a single word be changed, "so that we may not have as many texts as we already have tunes." ... "

Katharine Lee Bates bio, with info on history of ATB

Despite Bates's wish that "not a single word be changed," it the song seems to have undergone several modifications via "the folk process" -- probably people mis-hearing or misremembering some lines. E.g., the phrase "purple mountain majesties" often gets sung as "purple mountains' majesty."    And Ray changed "[May] God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood" to "God done shed His grace on thee and crownED thy good ... "   The former doesn't really change the meaning, but the latter really does.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Gorgeous Gary
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 09:37 PM

Joe F,

Take a look at the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music up at Johns Hopkins. Typing "Kipling" into the search box got me 22 hits with viewable sheet music from the late 1890's through the 1920's. Included are things like "Fuzzy-Wuzzy" with music by Gerald F. Cobb, "Mother O' Mine" with music by Frank E. Tours, and "Boots" with music by John Phillips Sousa.

-- Gary


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 02 Sep 06 - 10:15 PM

I must say that Gordon Bok's singing of Kipling's "The Sea Wife" is beyond excellent. Phil Ochs Melody to "The Lads Who Serve The Guns"
is as perfect a mix as his melody to "The Highwayman." Sorry Harpmolly, but I found Loreen McKennits melody to The Highwayman to be ponderous.      

But even at that, dull as it is, the story is so good as it is still listenable.

Don


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: RTim
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 01:51 PM

I am surprised that no one has mentioned Thomas Hardy's poems. eg.
The Ruined Maid or Great Things or The Trampwoman's Tradedy, the later set to music so well by Tim Laycock.

Also the Dorset poet Thomas Barnes's "Linden Lea" with music written by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and much of Burns poetry has been sung.

Also - Chris Wood is putting tunes to many Hugh Lupton poems, notably - Bleary Winter and The Mari-Lwyd.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Chris Amos
Date: 03 Sep 06 - 05:44 PM

eechlay

A group of travelers, Heathens All, did a stonking version of Keats "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" if you PM me and give me a week or so I will dig out the tape and record it for you, it is worth hearing.

Chris


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 02:53 AM

Debby McClatchy put two Robert Service poems to music, Cremation of Sam McGee, and Ballad of Blasphemous Bill. I find the setting of Cremation a bit monotonous, but I like her Blasphemous Bill a lot.

Andy Irvine has also recorded Loreena McKennitt's setting of The Highwayman. I don't find his recording at all ponderous.

Andrew Marvell's poem, To His Coy Mistress, was given a nice setting by Diane Tarraz (spelling approximate).

Turn, Turn, Turn is of course Pete Seeger's setting of some verses from Ecclesiastes. There have been many musical settings of bits of Song of Songs (mostly in Hebrew, which original poster may consider too obscure....), also of various psalms.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Genie
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 03:12 AM

Carolyn Hester recorded a beautifully haunting song called "Blackjack Oak," which I learned, via Mudcat, is either lifted from or at least adapted from a portion of Benet's epic poem "John Brown's Body."


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 05:46 AM

A cautionary tale:

A few years ago I encountered a group of earnest school teachers from the English Midlands. They had decided they were going to 'research' folk songs from their particular county and then infli ..., sorry, perform them in front of willing or (perhaps!) unwilling audiences. They were competent (albeit rather dull) musicians who, I strongly suspect, knew nothing about folk song when they embarked on this project.

They scoured the local archives but all they came up with were standard English folk songs which tended not to be as specific to their locality as they had hoped. They then had to fall back on local amateur poetry, often in 'dialect'. As these poems contained many of the local references that they had hoped the archived folk songs would contain they gleefully fell on them and 'set them to music'.

The result was dire as the poems were mostly tedious doggerel and the newly composed tunes did not have the character and beauty of many folk tunes.

The moral? Poems set to music are not a substitute for folk songs and please think hard before you attempt to pass them off as such.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 06:05 AM

Yeah, but I don't think anybody here is confusing the two.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Blowzabella
Date: 04 Sep 06 - 06:28 AM

I think that Mellstock band have recorded several of Thomas Hardy's poems and Liverpool Packet have a recording of Masefield's


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 12:38 AM

Hi Gerry,

I haven't heard Andy Irvine do The Highwayman. But I really like Andy so I'll give it a go. Could just be I've never been bowled over by Loreena McKennit.

Don


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Snuffy
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 08:32 AM

I was surprised how many of Henry Newbolt's poems have been set to music, and more which might.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 08:39 AM

It might help us know what you are looking for if you tell us why you want these things.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Joe_F
Date: 05 Sep 06 - 09:23 PM

Gary:

Thanks very much for the reference. It reveals that I was mistaken about the tune that most Americans used to know for "Mandalay". It is the one by Oley Speaks, and it is not a music-hall tune that made it across the Atlantic; Speaks was an American, and the tune hails from Cincinnati!

Kipling was well known in America, and it is not surprising that Yanks as well as Brits made up music for his songs. However, it still appears that an enormous corpus of largely British tunes has pretty much disappeared.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 02:11 AM

Kipling actually began his children's-fiction-writing career (Mowgli, Jungle Book etc.) in Vermont (where his wife was from) while living in a house they called Naulakha just north of Brattleboro, within an easy stroll of SIT where I taught Esperanto this past July. The house is now the property of the British Land Trust or whatever it's called, sort of like National Parks, and is run as a vacation rental.

So Kipling was not merely well known in America, but was almost an American, just as he was almost British and almost Indian.

FWIW; a bit thread-drifty.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Joe_F
Date: 06 Sep 06 - 10:00 PM

Haruo: Yeah, I know. Near the end of "How the Whale Got His Throat" you will find a quotation from the conductor on the train from Brattleboro to Boston. ObSongs: I gather that he made the acquaintance of Francis James Child. Then he quarreled with his brother-in-law, made a fool of himself, and retired to England. Sad.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Genie
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 12:03 AM

Of course, we Yanks are very familiar with a poem being set to an existing tune. Our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, is a poem written by Francis Scott Key and then set to the tune of English pub song (?) To Anachreon In Heaven.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Rowan
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 12:27 AM

Genie wrote
"and then set to the tune of English pub song (?) To Anachreon In Heaven."
Almost a pub song; actually the 'anthem/song'' of "The Anachreontic Society", which was a bunch of blokes that met regularly in the Crown and Anchor (in the Strand, in London?) between about 1770 and 1790.

It was with some surprise that I found that the Anachreontic Society was brought to Australia by an ancestor of mine (John Piper) when he was an Ensign in the NSW Corps. Before Bob reminds us all, this was the Rum Corps. When I worked at Old Sydney Town (a bit like an Australian counterpart to Williamsburg) I was able to get quite a rise out of visiting Americans with both the song and the fact that "The Star Spangled Banner" only became the US National Anthem in 1931/32.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 12:40 AM

Not quite a pub song, but the theme song for the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen's club in London. It was written by Ralph Tomlinson, who had been a president of the society. The tune appears to have been a collaborative effort by members of the society. However, as one definition of "Anacreontic" is "a drinking song", and the society members certainly did that, you're very close to the mark.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 05:13 AM

Joan Morris sings the Oley Speaks version of "On the Road to Mandalay" (composed in 1907) on Moonlight Bay: Songs As Is and Songs As Was. From the liner notes:

{ Lawrence Tibbett sang it in the 1935 movie, Metropolitan. It was later performed by Frankie Laine in his act and recorded in a shortened version by Frank Sinatra. }

This no doubt accounts for its popularity.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 07:48 AM

Martin Simpson does an achingly beutiful rendering of Kiplings "The Four Angels" on his Bramble Briar album


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 10:56 AM

This seems to mostly be a UK thread, but over here in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (Seattle region) my father (John Dwyer) set any number of poems to music. He found Eugene Field's collection of poetry to be quiet fruitful (i.e., one of his tunes was to "The Little Peach" and another was "Little Boy Blue"). "The Ballad of the Merry Ferry" by Emma Rounds, a little poem crying out to be sung, became an informal anthem for our family any time we did ride the ferries in Puget Sound and has turned up in Northwest song books over the years. He was particularly fond of an edition of poetry collected by Louis Untermeyer called Rainbow In the Sky that we read as children. I think each of us kids has managed to get hold of a copy, and I've read to my children from it. There are some poems in here that I simply can't "just read." I have to sing them because that's how Dad used them.

A week or two ago I heard a story on NPR, I think it was a weekend edition of a regular program, in which they played a sung version of "The Cremation of Sam McGee." Or I might have heard it on Prairie Home Companion. But it was NPR and it was pretty recent.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 11:32 AM

Wasn't Patterson's "Waltzing Matilda" a poem first, then it was set to music? And I know that Slim Dusty sang "The Man From Snowy River".

Some of you who mentioned Noyes' "The Highwayman"---have you listened to Vera Aspey's (of the duo Gary and Vera Aspey---but it's on a solo album) version of that poem/song?


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: KenBrock
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 11:32 AM

The Simon Sisters (Lucy and Carly) had three albums on Kapp and one on Columbia (reissued later with additional background) with many poem songs. The Coumbia one included Who Has Seen the Wind, The Lobster Quadrille (Lewis Carroll), The Lamb (Blake), Wynken, Blynken and Nod, and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. A wikipedia article with their discography is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simon_Sisters.

Also, much or all of Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience has been set by William Bolcom, and also by Hampton, VA's Mike Hassell.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 07 Sep 06 - 12:34 PM

Speaking of the Northwest US, in addition to those Stilly River Sage mentioned, Jesse Odlin's 1898 poem "The Tale of Two Cities" (about the early history of Sedro-Woolley, Washington) has been sung by a number of people (including yours truly), generally to Old Rosin the Beau. There was a time when every schoolkid in Skagit County knew it (which makes it at least locally common) and at least in my family it has survived more than 70 years since my mother (and her siblings and mother) abandoned the family farm to foreclosure in the Depression and moved to Seattle.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 04:30 AM

e.e.cummings' "purer than purest" is in the Unitarian hymnal (Singing the Living Tradition #250, to a tune called STAR by Vincent Persichetti). #3 in the same hymnal is Edna St. Vincent Millay's "The world stands out on either side".

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 12:28 PM

Dark Logh Na Gar - Lord Byron - tune and song (played and sung by Willie Clancy and other Irish musicians and singers
Heather Ale Robert Louis Stephenson (recorded from Wexford Traveller 'Pop's' Johnny Connors
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Darowyn
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 01:00 PM

I know the original thread asked for poems that are not too obscure, so I apologise in advance. However I have recorded a couple of verses of Beowulf, sung in Anglo-Saxon.
I can't find any trace of anyone else attempting to do this within the last thousand years or so. It's on www.darowyn.co.uk, and I hope that posting the link is not violating any Mudcat taboos.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 02:38 PM

Welcome aboard Darowyn.

Darowyn's site

A gratuitous link for you

CHEERS
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 02:56 PM

But when I go there I see no mention of Beowulf (who/which is incidentally not exactly "obscure", albeit underrecorded). Where is it?

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,CA
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 03:01 PM

Bit of a chuckle...a teacher of mine told me that almost all of Emily Dickinson's poems could be sung to the tune of the "Gilligan's Island" theme song. He was right. (Just a note: he was NOT an English teacher, thank goodness.)


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Micca
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 03:22 PM

Snuffy (and any one interested) there is a Stonking version of Henry Newbolts "Drakes Drum" on Firm Friends CD (Firm Friends is a quartet 2 of whom are Nutty and Treaties1) I like it so much I have been known to sing it (Can't do the harmonies that they can, tho')


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 Oct 06 - 03:23 PM

Byron's "So We'll Go No More A-Roving" has been set to music by Richard Dyer-Bennet and can be heard on his first recording on his own label, Dyer-Bennet Records No. 1.
So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.
He has also recorded "Spanish is the Loving Tongue" (by Charles Badger Clark Jr., original title, "A Border Affair"). I'm not sure if he wrote the tune or if someone else did. A couple of people have set Yeats' "The Song of the Wandering Aengus" to music. I think Jean Redpath has recorded one version of it.

Tons of stuff out there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Maurice
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 03:12 PM

Sean Tyrell has recorded musical settings of many poems. Have a look at www.seantyrell.com (not sure if he spells it with one or two "l's")


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: ositojuanito
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 03:15 PM

Hi

Phil Ochs recorded 'The Highwayman'

John


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Maurice again
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 03:17 PM

Sorry, that should be www.seantyrrell.com


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: rich-joy
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 07:57 AM

The Widow's Uniform - Barrack Room Ballads & other Soldiers' Poems of Rudyard Kipling, as set to traditional tunes by Peter Bellamy - sung by : Dave Webber / Brian Peters / John O'Hagan / Anni Fentiman / John Morris - 1996 CD

The Man From El Dorado - songs and stories of Robert Service - by David Parry (with Ian Robb, Alistair Brown, Graham Townsend, Ken Whiteley) - CD

"A Smuggler's Song" (Kipling) - recorded by John Roberts & Tony Barrand, 1992, on Golden Hind CD - "A Present from the Gentlemen - a Pandora's Box of English Folk Songs"

"Baptism" sung and spoken by Joan Baez (music composed and conducted by Peter Schickele) - (1967) - Vanguard CD, 2003
(it still stirs me - but then, this is from my teenage years ...    :~)

Henry Lawson and AB Paterson - probably too numerous to mention!!

Selections from AE Houseman's "A Shropshire Lad" - music by Polly Bolton, with the late Nigel Hawthorne - CD

"Song, To Althea from Prison" by Richard Lovelace (and sung beautifully by my partner, Paul Lawler!) - but the music composer escapes me for the moment ...


These are the first ones that spring to mind for me ...
Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 01:33 PM

Ronald Stevenson set Hugh MacDiarmid's "Better ae gowden lyric".

And, re. original posting, WBY based his "Salley Gardens" (Irish "Saile", a willow) on two lines he remembered of a traditional song sung by a serving-woman (well, he was of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy). There's one song, I think "Lorgaigh Streams" from the Co Donegal, with lines in it about taking Love aisy, as the leaves grow on the trees (by far the best part of the Yeats poem, anyway). Herbert Hughes set it to "The Maids of Mourne Shore", but in one of his Volumes "Irish Country Songs" he mentions with approval a variant of this apparently made by some young Irish farmer/ploughboy and sung to the Yeats words; as far's I recall HH gave the notation.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 02:26 PM

If you want to set poems to songs...try John Masefield...great stuff and all you have to do is make a tune......
Best wishes, Mike.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Joe_F
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 08:49 PM

Weirdly, *I* set "So We'll Go No More a-Roving" to music while I was in highschool. However, the tune is unsingable, having a range of two octaves. Do you suppose there is a category of "closet songs", on the analogy of closet drama?


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: The Walrus
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 05:48 AM

Kipling has been mentioned several times:-

I have a CD with a 1919 recording of "Recessional" sung at a Peace Thanksgiving service (at one of the Cathedrals), the tune is that of the hymn "For Those in Peril On The Sea".

"Gethsemene" can be sung to the Easter hymn "There is a Green Hill"
"Tommy" fits to "Rising of the Moon"

W


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: mustradclub
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 06:06 AM

Dont know if its already been mentioned but surely one of the best is Patrick Kavanagh's poem Raglan Road which was set to the tune for

Dawning of the Day


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: freda underhill
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:10 AM

Chris Kempster is an Australian songwriter who set many of Henry Lawson's poems to music. A CD of his songs has just been published, and some of the songs can be heard here...


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:44 AM

Here's a folk-scare era album of poetry to Kingston Trio-esque settings:

The Three Ds

While painfully earnest (Crayon Box), I quite like several of these. I especially like the Gunga Din setting.

As for songs set to other tunes, ever try the words to the Gilligan's Island theme to the tune of Mary Ellen Carter. Hey, they're both about shipwrecks . . .


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 11:19 AM

A propos of all this:

Stan Hugill, in "Shanties from the Seven Seas" prints an anonymous poem called Seafarers which he says was well known to sailors, who sang it to "Can't Ye Dance the Polka". I've never heard it sung - and find as I read it that another tune ,"Barrack Street" , keeps coming into my head! With a few kicks here and there, it seems to fit well.

Any of you shantymen any experience of the song? I'm tempted to have a go.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Rowan
Date: 03 Nov 06 - 08:50 PM

"The pub with no beer" as a song became famous (infamous?) in the 60s but followed the theme and many of the words of a poem with the same name published in the North Queensland Gazette in January of either 1941 or 1944, from faulty memory and without supporting documentation.

In the thread on recitations I recently included the text(s) of an item ("To Morrow") that appears to have started as a poem, been converted into a song, and since been transformed into a recitation by Keith McKenry.

Cathy O'Sullivan has also recorded a Lawson poem about drilling for artesian water into a great song; unfortunately I can't remember the title of either the poem or her record but I think she is responsible for the tune.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 03:41 PM

The Mennonite Hymnal: A Worship Book has a poem by Anne Bradstreet (17th century Massachusetts, Colonial America's first woman poet) set as a hymn, and Christian Worship (Northern Baptist/Disciples, 1941) sets a text by Vachel Lindsay. Not sure if these are "common" poems. I know I've heard Longfellow's "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" sung, have sung it myself years ago, don't quite recall the tune.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: emjay
Date: 04 Nov 06 - 04:08 PM

Danny Doyle sang The Highwayman
Burl Ives did The Wandering of Old Aengus
Leonard Warren did a whole album of Kipling song/poems -- I think the album was called Rolling Down to Rio and was recorded in the 50s.
The Irish Rovers did Winken, Blinken, and Nod.
I have all of these on old lps, at least 20 years old, and some 50 years old, and remember them because I recently copied them to cds.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 05 Nov 06 - 08:57 PM

Not 'common' in any sense, but Edwin Brock's 'Five Ways To Kill A Man' was adapted by Iain MacKintosh for the tune of 'Ye Jacobites By Name'. Iain recorded it on 'Gentle Persuasion' (1988). Chilling!


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 06 - 07:09 PM

"To Anachreon In Heaven"... The tune appears to have been a collaborative effort by members of the society. It's been claimed that it's a Carolan tune.

That's quite credible - it's a good enough tune, and it has that kind of feeling about it. But I don't know if there's any evidence for the claim.
........................
As pointed out, lots of settings of Kipling songs prior to Peter Bellamy - but I'd say his tunes knocked the rest into a cocked hat, and felt uncannily right.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: oldhippie
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 11:35 AM

What about this poem? Anyone know if its been set to music?

Before there were pineapples, peaches, and plums
The dog and the cat were companions and chums
They lived in a highly respectable grotto
Where "God Bless Our Home" was their favorite motto

The dog had a parchment, a parchment had he
Proclaiming his right to be happy and free
The charter was signed by the patriach Noah
And witnessed in form by the goat and the boa

The dog went a-hunting on Mount Arrarat
The parchment he left in care of the cat
His trust in the cat was complete and abiding
The dog then as ever was much too confiding

The cat who was always a rover in soul
Grew bored with the cavern and went out for a stroll
Beguiled by the songs of the birds in the bowers
He ambled and rambled for hours and hours

Then out from the crannies the mouse people crept
And lunched on the parchment the puss should have kept
They flocked with their children, their nephews and nieces
They shredded the charter and ate up the pieces

When home came the dog at the end of the day
The last of his freedom was whisking away
He leaped!, But the tails disappeared in a flicker
The dog may be quick but the mouse folk are quicker

When home strolled the cat as the twilight drew dim
The dog paid the utmost attention to him
The cat who at climbing was always a leader
Escaped by a whisker and ran up a cedar

So seeking his vengeance and justly at that
The dog through the ages still chases the cat
The cat with equivalent justification
Has chosen the mouse as his favorite ration


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Peter Taylor
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 12:11 PM

How common do you want to be? I have an LP by Paul McNeill on which he sings The Nursery Rhyme of Innocence and Experience, a poem by Charles Causeley set to music by Tony Cullen. Most of Martyn Wyndham-Read's discs have at least one poem on. My favourite is his setting of The Sailor Home from the Sea, a poem by Dorothy Hewitt, but there's also Andy's gone with Cattle, Harry the Drover, Reedy River, Water Lily, all by Henry Lawson. In fact most of Emu Plains is poems set to music, and there are lots more, including, on Beyond the Red Horizon, Martyn's setting of Silence and Tears, a poem by Byron which he decided was miserable enough to make a great folk-song.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Jill
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 06:13 PM

I set Henry Lawson's WWI poem, The Route March, to music: it's recorded on my album The King's Well.

Of course, Robert Burns set many of his verses to traditional tunes. There are umpteen recordings of these -- take your pick.

Also poems by Sir Walter Scott. E.g., Jock O'Hazeldean is half trad., and half his -- there are recordings by Alex Campbell and Priscilla Herdman.
Then there's Violet Jacob's wonderful poem The Wild Geese Flee, which Jim Reid put to music: he sings it on one of his albums, and so does Cilla Fisher.

Another Scots poet, Lady John Scott (Alicia Spottiswoode) set her own poems to music; but my favourite of these is one that Archie Fisher sings (possibly his own tune?): Ettrick. On his album with Garnet Rogers, Off the Map.

And then there's Lady Nairne: Jean Redpath (who has also recorded
many Burns poems/songs) has an entire album of these poems.

For Irish poems: there's The Gartan Mother's Lullaby -- which many recording artists seem to think has traditional words. T'ain't so! The lyrics are still under copyright: the poet was Joseph Campbell, and his son Simon (living in Ireland) holds the copyright.

Padraic Colum's poetry has also been set to music.

It's too late at night here (in Jerusalem) to think of any others, but I'm sure I'll think of more in the morning.

G'night!

Jill


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Stewie
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 06:53 PM

Hey Rowan,

That Lawson poem you mentioned re Cathie O'Sullivan is actually by Banjo Paterson. Fewer of his poems lend themselves to musical settings than Lawson's - shame on you for robbing the man of this one. The title of Cathie's record was 'Song of the Artesian Water' Larrikin LRF-047. Her setting of Lawson's 'The Teams' is also on the LP.

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Nov 06 - 09:34 PM

That dog-cat-and-mouse poem is pretty good. Who's it by? When and where? It should go well to any tune you might use for the Night before Christmas.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Rowan
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 01:56 AM

Thanks Stewie!
It's not often I'm right but I was wrong on this occasion.
You've reminded me that there are several Australian poems that Skreitch used to recite that several other have set to music, thinking that because they were Australian poems they must have been by Lawson or Paterson when they were by other (now forgotten) bush poets. When I get my books out of storage I'll be able to refresh my memories of them.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: oldhippie
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 07:36 AM

Haruo,
no idea who the cat/dog/mouse poem is by, or its title - something my father used to read to us kids some 50 years ago.....perhaps someone here knows.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 24 Nov 06 - 07:43 AM

Jill mentions "The Gartan Mother's Lullaby": I'd thought it the work of the same person who did "My Lagan Love", and I had the idea that this was "Seumas MacCathamoil" (?spelling), which would translate as "James" rather than "Joseph". Did he write under this name, or is that the name of the person who made the air?


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Mad Musix
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 01:47 PM

Hi people
Anyone got the words to hand of 2 poems by Hugh Lupton ... Bleary Winter, and Mari Lwyd ...

ATB
Norm


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Mad musix
Date: 28 Jan 07 - 04:34 PM

On 2nd thoughts, looking back, perhaps they aren't "commom poems". So, sorry to barge in folks ... I'll do a new thread

Byee
Norm


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST, still docked
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 01:25 PM

I've grown to like Charles Hubert Hastings Parry's musical setting of Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar," which I found at ingeb.org, although I haven't heard a performance or record of it. It may sound too Edwardian for some.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Stewart
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 02:01 PM

Here's a poem by John E. M. Sumner as collected by Hugh Brown ("All I can recall is an older gentleman sent me a copy from the Liverpool area some time back when I was searching for "tree" info on my grandfather (also from that area). I would think Mr Sumner is probably from that area."). It's a lovely poem, which I have set to music here

LIVERPOOL BAY – John E. M. Sumner

The strong salt winds at Liverpool
That sweep across the Bay
Once brought the great proud ships of old
With teak from Mandalay,
With bars of gold from lands untold,
With cloves from Zanzibar,
With tea and jute from Chittagong
And rubber from Para;
Trim figurehead and snowy sail,
Tall mast and taper'd spar,
A rhythmic shanty from the waist,
The smell of Stockholm tar.

Whilst yet the fog bells clang and drone
And eyes are tired and red
With peering over weather cloths
To see what looms ahead;
Or Summer shakes her train of gold
And dawn breaks slow, supreme,
With funnels red and funnels white
Reflected in the stream;
The times have changed on Merseyside,
The years have travell'd on,
And ugly ducklings plough and sheer
Where once there sailed a swan.

Safe anchored in a landlocked bay,
Washed by some river cool,
They lie at rest in fairer ports
Than even Liverpool;
Forgotten, garland'd with mist and fog
They drowse at anchor there,
Whilst crews of bearded sailormen
Patrol each deck and stare;
Borne faintly on an eerie wind
There goes a bosun's call,
Scraping as dim yards come around,
The clacking of a pall.

Then idly, these tall ships will turn
And hearken to the breeze
That whispers in the ghostly shrouds
Of days remote from these;
Remembering weeks of driving sleet
And high seas round the Horn,
And little islands, silver rimmed,
Where mollymawks are born;
Recalling long, cool, fragrant nights
Beneath a Southern moon;
The Rio Grande or Shenandoah
To a concertinas tune.

Yet often, just before the dawn,
They see in dreams afar
The glimmer of the Crosby Light
And rain across the Bar.

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Songster Bob
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 02:43 PM

I seem to be one of four folkies and one classical composer who have set Arthur O'Shaunessy's "Ode" to a tune. Elgar did it in 1912, so he beats out Bob Zentz, Lorraine Lee Hammond, Jake Walton and me when it comes to being early in the game.

But who wouldn't want to sing something that starts out,

"We are the music-makers,
We are dreamers of dreams"?

I don't know of any recordings of Bob's, Lorraine's or my setting of it, but Jake Walton did record his. Elgar, who knows? It's a choral piece and there are probably any number of obscure recordings of same.

Someone up-thread said that "Drink to Me Only" comes from Bing Crosby. That would surprise Geo. Washington and his contemporaries, who knew the song pretty well, I'm told.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST, still docked
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 03:30 PM

That's a splendid poem, Stewart. I wish my father were still alive so that I could read it to him. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST, still docked
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 04:18 PM

And I had thought "movers and shakers" to be a recent expression, Songster Bob.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Haruo
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 01:38 AM

Speaking of Tennyson's Crossing the Bar set by Parry, Parry's most famous such setting is doubtless Blake's "Jerusalem".

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: DriveForever
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 12:45 AM

One of my favorite's is Joni Mitchell's "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"
adaptation of W.B. Yeats poem.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 04:52 AM

Just had a scan through , and am surprised to NOT see any Tolkein in here !
Donald Swann set all of 'Tales of Tom Bombadil' and recorded them , with most of Tolkein's 'Elvish' poems -IN ELVISH on an old ARGO LP .


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 04:53 AM

Which brings us nicely to 100 posts


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: skipy
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 05:01 AM

No, not neatly, never neatly, it just brings you!
Morning.
Skipy


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: maeve
Date: 03 Nov 09 - 08:08 AM

Hauro- The dog/cat/mouse poem oldhippy posted back on 23 Nov 06 - 11:35 AM is to be found here on Google Books The title is "How the Feud Started" and was found in "The Mirthful Lyre" by Arthur Guiterman.

This an old thread, refreshed by a guest, but it makes for some good reading. With winter moving in here in Maine I'll be thinking of other poems that are ripe for songmaking.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: clueless don
Date: 03 Nov 09 - 08:34 AM

Back on 10 Oct 06 - 03:01 PM GUEST,CA mentioned singing Emily Dickinson poems to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme. Another standard gag that I have frequently heard of is singing Emily Dickinson poems to "The Yellow Rose of Texas". And of course, there is also singing Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" to "Hernando's Hideaway".

Don


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Joseph de Culver City
Date: 03 Nov 09 - 11:31 AM

Phil Ochs also set another fine poem to music: "The Bells" of Edgar Allen Poe. The Fugs set many William Blake poems to music including "How Sweet I Roamed From Field to Field". Simon and Garfinkel set Edward Arlington Robinson's "Richard Cory" to music.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 03 Nov 09 - 07:06 PM

Here in Bristol, the lovely Wraiths sing poetry they've put to music, mostly of Emily Dickinson, but other poets too. They're here The Wraiths


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: BK Lick
Date: 03 Nov 09 - 10:15 PM

Ef You Don't Watch Out!: Anne Hills Sings the Poems of James Whitcomb Riley (clicky here)


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BELLS (Phil Ochs/Edgar Allen Poe)
From: Rog Peek
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 03:33 AM

THE BELLS
(Phil Ochs/Edgar Allen Poe)

Hear the sledges with the bells
Silver bells
What a world of merriment
Their melody foretells
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle
In the icy air of night
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight
Keeping time, time, time
With a sort of Runic rhyme
From the tintinnabulation
That so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells

Hear the mellow wedding bells
Golden bells
What a world of happiness
Their harmony foretells
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight
Through the dances and the yells
And the rapture that impels
How it swells
How it dwells
On the future
How it tells
From the swinging and the ringing of the molten golden bells
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells
Of the rhyming and the chiming of the bells

Hear the loud alarum bells
Brazen bells
What a tale of terror now
Their turbulency tells
Much too horrified to speak
Oh, they can only shriek
For all the ears to know
How the danger ebbs and flows
Leaping higher, higher, higher
With a desperate desire
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire
With the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells
With the clamor and the clanging of the bells

Hear the tolling of the bells
Iron bells
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels
For all the sound that floats
From the rust within our throats
And the people sit and groan
In their muffled monotone
And the tolling, tolling, tolling
Feels a glory in the rolling
From the throbbing and the sobbing
Of the melancholy bells
Oh, the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells
Oh, the moaning and the groaning of the bells

Notes: Lyrics cleverly adapted from Edgar Allen's poem of the same name. Track 7 on 'All The News That's Fit To Sing'.
RP Nov09
    Threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: Poems set to music
From: Tunesmith
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:05 PM

I remember being enthralled with Phil Ochs' musical setting of the poem "The Highwayman", and at the time, mid-60s - I went looking for poems that I could set to music.
I did find a couple poems but I wasn't happy at my attempts at adding a melody.
Has anyone out there got any suggestions for poem(of a folky nature?) that would work as a song.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: johncharles
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:12 PM

How about the Sands of Dee by Charles Kingsley
sands of dee
john


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:37 PM

Look up Seán Tyrrell


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tunesmith
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:41 PM

Interestingly, the theme of "Sands of Dee" i.e. drowning on treacherous tidal sands, is, of course, the same theme as "On Morecambe Bay" which has just been nominated in the BBC Folk Awards.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Mysha
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:49 PM

Hi Tunesmith,

Do you think it's a matter of the kind of poems you picked? Or may it have been your skill wasn't as developed in the sixties as it is today? Maybe it would work if you would revisit the ones you looked at then, with the skill you have now.

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Tunesmith
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:55 PM

Mysha, it's funny that you should say that because that's exactly what I have been doing!


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Mysha
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 02:51 PM

Reading minds is the easy part.
                                                                  Mysha


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Mysha
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 02:52 PM

But I'm far from fluent in speaking Thought.
                                                                  Mysha


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:20 PM

Do you want long ballad types, witty, full of humour...what kinds of subjects strike your fancy?

There's a long, old one I've always loved. Never thought of it being put to music, but it could be interesting: Bingen on the Rhine..


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: BTNG
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:42 PM

Vikki Clayton's adaptation of John Clare's poem The Gardener's Bonny Daughter, performed by her and The Albion Band on the album The Guv'nor's Big Birthday Bash

The Gardener's Bonny Daughter


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Elmore
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 04:19 PM

Words: Stopping by woods on a snowy evening. Music: Hernando's Hideaway.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: GUEST,John Bailey
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:02 PM

Phil Ochs also adapted Edgar Alan Poe's 'The Bells' which I used to sing in the 60s. By a strange coincidence I remembered this just last week and it reminded me of The Highwayman and that it was about time I learned it, as this Alfred Noyes poem has always been a favourite of my wife's since she first discovered it at the tender age of 13 and how uncomfortable it made her feel with its imagery - how times have changed - gone is the age of innocence.


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:56 PM

Anything by Rudyard Kipling. Oh, hang on, has someone done that already?

DtG


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Subject: RE: Poems set to music
From: Acorn4
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 07:30 PM

Good examples are "To Althea" - Richard Lovelace/Dave Swarbrick, and "Going and Staying" - Thomas Hardy/Brass Monkey - there is also a good setting of a John Masefield poem by John Connolly the name of which escapes me at the moment.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: ollaimh
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 09:39 PM

i was playing daddy won't you take me back to muellenberg county, by john prine, and i realized it was in an anapestic tetramater meter. so as a joke i occasionally sing byron's poem, the assyrian, to the same tune.

i am a w h auden afficianado so i often try settings for his poems. time will say nothing and in memory of w b yeats deserve great tunes--if i find one i'll let ya all know


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 12 - 07:38 PM

Since there is still some fairly recent interest in this thread, I'll mention that I have nearly twenty famous poems set to music (some with melodies of my own, some adaptations of traditional folk melodies) on my Kaleidoscope: Great Poems Set to Music page.

Since I can't sing and don't yet have a singer to work with, the sound files use various instruments to simulate voice. But the text is there too, so with a little imagination, I hope you can get a feel for how a performance would sound.


Jon Corelis


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 13 Feb 12 - 11:52 AM

"Duh" for today: I wasn't logged in. Just posting a follow-up so this thread will appear when I search for my postings. Apologies for the extraneous redundancy.

Jon Corelis


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 06:59 AM

November 1837 also known as "Spellbound" and "The Night is Darkening Round Me" is an Emily Brontë poem which was set to music with piano in the 1970s by Janet Jones. The link is to the song taken from a re-mastered CD which includes the cello.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Beer
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 09:25 AM

I don't know if memorizing poems still take place in school or not. I know for a fact that in Quebec English school system my son never had to nor has my grand son who is 13. When I was around 12/13 we had to memorize many poems and this one comes to mind that fit very well to "Road to the Isle".

Robinson Crusoe's Story

    THE night was thick and hazy   
    When the "Piccadilly Daisy"   
Carried down the crew and captain in the sea;   
    And I think the water drowned 'em;   
    For they never, never found 'em,          5
And I know they didn't come ashore with me.   
   
    Oh! 'twas very sad and lonely   
    When I found myself the only   
Population on this cultivated shore;   
    But I've made a little tavern   10
    In a rocky little cavern,   
And I sit and watch for people at the door. etc......

Adrien


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 10:11 AM

'Interestingly, the theme of "Sands of Dee" i.e. drowning on treacherous tidal sands, is, of course, the same theme as "On Morecambe Bay" which has just been nominated in the BBC Folk Awards.'
There are two version of 'The Sands of Dee' going the rounds currently. One is our version on 'Songbooks' (Hallamshire Traditions HATRCD03) and the other is by Roy Clinging. oth to completely different tunes.
Other poems set to music worth mentioning are Barbara Berry's setting of 'I wandered by a Brook' recorded by Eva Cassidy (among others), 'The Dalesman's Litany', 'Flowers of Knaresborough Forest' and 'Jenny Storm', all by F.W.Moreman the Yorkshire Dialect poet.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 May 13 - 05:24 PM

I've been sorting through books and tapes. I was reminded of this thread when I found some of my Dad's favorite song versions of Eugene Field poems.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: eftifino
Date: 20 May 13 - 02:01 AM

This may have already been mentioned, but Jim Croce diid a great version of 'Gunga Din'. Here it is :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34Vxqydpmus


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 May 13 - 03:36 AM

One of the last songs we recorded from Walter Pardon was Thomas Hardy's 'The Trampwoman's Tragedy' - the only song he learned in later life.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 20 May 13 - 04:18 AM

Link for above: Jim Croce 'Gunga Din'


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 May 13 - 12:10 AM

That Jim Croce performance is excellent. I haven't heard anything of his in a while, I'd forgotten what a great voice he had.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 21 May 13 - 11:00 PM

The Three Fishers poem (pub. 1851) by Charles Kingsley (1819-1875).
Set to music by John Hullah (1812-84, a friend of Kingsley's).
Recorded by Richard Dyer-Bennet, ca 1962, and by Joan Baez.
Set to a different tune by Garnet Rogers, and sung by his brother Stan on "For the Family" album.
Also set to music by S.D.S. 1856, Robert Goldbeck 1878, Charles Kunkel 1883, W. F. Sudds 1883.
S.D.S. might be a pseudonym or collaborator of Hullah.
The last lines of each stanza refer to the belief that it was a bad omen if the tide made a moaning sound as it receded over the sand bar that kept the harbor waters still. The line, "Men must work and women must weep," became a well-known catchphrase.


Three fishers went sailing away to the West, away to the West as the sun went down.
Each thought on the woman who loved him the best, and the children stood watching them out of the town.
For men must work and women must weep, and there's little to earn, and many to keep,
Though the harbour bar may be moaning.

Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower, and they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower, and the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work and women must weep, though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
And the harbour bar be moaning.

Three corpses lay on the shining sands in the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands for those who will never come home to the town.
For men must work and women must weep, and the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST,Tony
Date: 21 May 13 - 11:13 PM

Lorraine Lorraine Lorèe written 1874 by Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
Written while in Colorado, during a speaking tour of the U.S. He got sick during that tour and never recovered. This was his last poem. It was apparently very popular for a very long time. In the 1975 documentary film "Grey Gardens" Edith Bouvier Beale (1896–1977, Jacqueline Kennedy's aunt) recites it from memory.

"Are you ready for your steeple-chase, Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorèe?
You're booked to ride your capping race today at Coulterlee.
You're booked to ride Vindictive, for all the world to see,
To keep him straight, and keep him first, and win the run for me."

She clasped her new-born baby, poor Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorèe.
"I cannot ride Vindictive, as any man might see,
And I will not ride Vindictive, with this baby on my knee;
He's killed a boy, he's killed a man, and why must he kill me?"

"Unless you ride Vindictive, Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorèe,
Unless you ride Vindictive today at Coulterlee,
And land him safe across the brook, and win the run for me,
It's you may keep your baby, for you'll get no keep from me."

"That husbands could be cruel," said Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorèe,
"That husbands could be cruel, I have known for seasons three;
But oh! to ride Vindictive while a baby cries for me,
And be killed across a fence at last for all the world to see!"

She mastered young Vindictive – Oh! the gallant lass was she,
And kept him straight and won the race as near as near could be;
But he killed her at the brook against a pollard willow tree;
Oh! he killed her at the brook, the brute, for all the world to see;

And no one but the baby cried for poor Lorraine, Lorèe.


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 May 13 - 02:21 PM

I compared these last two posts to the DT.

The Three Fishers appears in the DT, but it displays very oddly because the Mudcat Midi note pushes it way over to the side of the page.

For Lorraine Lorraine Lorèe there is a discussion, and Joe Offer started a Tune Req: Lorraine Loree thread. It may have a different title - there are forum results but no DT listing - I looked under "Lorraine Lorraine Lorèe," "Lorraine Lorèe," and "Lorraine."

SRS


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Subject: RE: Common poems set to music
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 13 - 03:20 PM

July Wakes was originally a poem written by R Pomfret. It's been said he was not pleased with the song.


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