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Lyr Req Rumsay Ho? / Rumsty Ho

Bob Coltman 06 Feb 07 - 04:03 PM
Willa 06 Feb 07 - 05:36 PM
GUEST 07 Feb 07 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Feb 07 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Feb 07 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Feb 07 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Feb 07 - 08:46 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Feb 07 - 12:23 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 03 May 13 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 03 May 13 - 12:51 PM
Jim Dixon 04 May 13 - 09:37 AM
Jim Dixon 04 May 13 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: Bob Coltman
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 04:03 PM

Failing memory has got me here. Forty years ago I remember friends singing a song, apparently from England, with a minor tune and a darkish sounding chorus that sounds like

Rumsay ho, rumsay ho.

I can no longer remember anything more about this song, and I seem to have no record of it. Nor have I been able to find it in songbooks. It's on the tip of my tongue, but I can't get it.

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: Willa
Date: 06 Feb 07 - 05:36 PM

Hi Bob. Wonder if you're thinking of Ranzo Ranzo ray.It's in the DT - worth a tr.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 11:31 AM

...or could it be Rothesay-Oh?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 12:03 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, but no, it is not "The Day We Went to Rothesay-O."

Nor is it any of the "Ranzo / Reuben Ranzo" etc. group. It is not a sea shanty.

It is definitely a shore song. My impression: a London origin, maybe dockside, as in press gangs, but not a sea song. Probable origin by its sound is 19th century, but it could be a more recently composed song in that style.

I believe the spelling "Rumsay" is correct, but can't be sure.

To give you an idea of the tune (it isn't minor after all, just sounds that way):

(In C)

.G      .G   C         D      E    C

Rum - say ho,    rum - say ho.

That much of the sound and melody I am sure of. Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 06:37 PM

FOUND!!!

By great good fortune I was able to contact an old singing friend who I thought might remember the song. He did not at first, but he had it in a notebook dating back half a century, and here it is.

I'm sorry I can't give any background on it. The man whom my friend learned it from is believed to have died some years back. Though from St, Louis, he was most fascinated with British songs, the rarer the better, and he could always stump the rest of us with something nobody, but nobody, had ever heard. He may have gotten this from some obscure collection.

RUM SEE HO

As learned by Jim Butler from the singing of Bob Keppel, originally of St. Louis MO, in the 1950s.

A beggarman laid himself down to sleep,   
    Rum see ho, rum see ho,   
By the banks of the Mersey so wide and deep,   
      Rum see ho, rum see ho.

Two thieves came walking by that way ….
And they came to the place where the beggar man lay …

They stole his wallet and they stole his staff …
And then they broke out in a great horse laugh …

As I was going down Newgate Stairs …
I saw those two thieves saying their prayers …

As I was going up Tyburn Hill …
I saw those two thieves hanging there still …


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 07:55 PM

The song, I've found through combing sources, comes from Eloise Hubbard Linscott, Folk Songs of Old New England, where it is titled "Tyburn Hill." The correct chorus is "Rumsty, ho."

Here are the headnotes from Linscott, a copy of which was sitting on my shelf the whole time:
"As remembered from the singing of Dr. Frank Hubbard, who learned it from his father, Dr. Simeon Pease Hubbard, more than eighty-five years ago. [Linscott published in 1939; this would date the song to no later than 1854 -- Bob]. This song is recalled as being very effective when sung to the accompaniment of a concertina.
   "The melody of the song is very old; both tune and text are traditional in the Hubbard family.
   "The last execution on Tyburn gallows took place in 1783. From that time, Newgate was the scene of capital punishment for Middlesex. The beggar's staff is known for its greasy sleekness."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Feb 07 - 08:46 PM

But the song goes back much further. A more or less identical copy was printed in Horatio Alger Jr's improving book Walter Sherwood's Probation (1897), available on the web in Project Gutenberg at

http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/wltsp10.txt

So versions existed apart from the Hubbard family, in 1897, forty years before Linscott's book came out. Anybody got any earlier ones?

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Feb 07 - 12:23 PM

Here's the text copied from the Horatio Alger book at Project Gutenberg. I wouldn't call it "more or less identical" mainly because, while searching for it, I tried "rum see ho", "Tyburn Hill", "Newgate Stairs", "as I was going" and "beggarman"—all to no avail. I finally found it when I searched for "beggar man"!

"A beggar man laid himself down to sleep,
      Rumsty Ho! rumsty Ho!
A beggar man laid himself down to sleep
By the banks of the Mersey, so high and steep,
      Rumsty Ho! rumsty Ho!

"Two thieves came walking by that way,
      Rumsty Ho! rumsty Ho!
Two thieves came walking by that way,
And they came to the place where the old man lay,
      Rumsty Ho! rumsty Ho!

"They stole his wallet and they stole his staff,
      Rumsty Ho! rumsty Ho!
They stole his wallet and they stole his staff,
And then broke out in a great horse-laugh,
      Rumsty Ho! rumsty Ho!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 03 May 13 - 12:46 PM

A quite similar text under the title "Rum-Ske-Ho" is in Carminia Princetoniana, the Princton University songbook, dating the song to 1900 (time of the first edition) or no later than 1918 (the edition I looked at in Google Books) That it was sung as a college song argues a possible vaudeville or other popular-song origin.

The Newgate theme is paralleled in another song in that book, "Newgate," which I have seen nowhere else. It too looks as if derived from a broadside or vaudeville number.

It's time to ask, what can this mysterious song "Rumsay/Rumsty/Rum See/Rm-Ske-Ho" actually be? Is it traditional? Texts seen here vary very little. I'm guessing it's not traditional based on its invariance, but rather a popular song, perhaps from a broadside or other printed source, how old is anyone's guess.

It it English? Its theme is strictly English, yet I know of no instance of its occurrence in Britain, or Canada or Australia for that matter. It seems localized in New England alone (the Princeton U. instance could have come from anywhere).

This is an appeal to anyone who has any insight on the song's origin: post it on this thread. Let's find the original if we can.

Thanks, Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 03 May 13 - 12:51 PM

Jim, I meant to answer your point (can it really be six years ago? How time flies!). Yes, the song's title (and thus the refrain) varies in its spelling a good deal.

I meant to say the narrative text lines seldom vary much. That part of the song seems remarkably consistent from version to version.

Best wishes, Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: RUMSTY HO (from Harvard College, 1866)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 May 13 - 09:37 AM

From Selected Songs Sung at Harvard College: From 1862 to 1866 (Cambridge: Press of John Wilson and Sons, 1866), page 63:


RUMSTY HO.

A beggar-man laid himself down to sleep,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho;
A beggar-man laid himself down to sleep
On the banks of the Mersey, so high and steep,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho.

Two thieves came walking by that way,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho;
Two thieves came walking by that way,
And they came to the place where the beggar-man lay,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho.

They stole his wallet, and they stole his staff,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho;
They stole his wallet, and they stole his staff,
And then they broke out in a great hoarse laugh,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho.

As I was going down Newgate stairs,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho;
As I was going down Newgate stairs,
I saw those two thieves saying their prayers,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho.

As I was going up Tyburn Hill,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho;
As I was going up Tyburn Hill,
I saw those two thieves hanging there still,
        Rumsty ho, rumsty ho.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req 'Rumsay Ho'?? or soundalike
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 04 May 13 - 11:27 AM

The same song appears with a voice and piano arrangement in Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges edited by Henry Randall Waite (Boston: Oliver Ditson & Co., 1876), page 68. No songwriter is credited.


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