Mudcat Café message #1947900 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #47889   Message #1947900
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
25-Jan-07 - 03:02 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Fiddler's Green
Subject: Lyr. Add: Fiddler's Green (Marryat 1847)
Lyr. Add: FIDDLER'S GREEN
Marryat, *1847, "Snarleyyow"

1.
"Says the parson, one day as I cursed a Jew,
Do you know, my lad, that we call it a sin?
I fear of you sailors there are but a few,
St. Peter, to heaven, will ever let in.
Says I, Mr. Parson, to tell you my mind,
No sailors to knock were ever yet seen,
Those who travel by land may steer 'gainst wind,
But we shape a course for Fiddler's Green.
Chorus
For Fiddler's Green, where seamen true,
When here they've done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew,
And pledge to love and beauty.
2.
"Says the parson, I hear you've married three wives,
Now do you not know that that is a sin?
You sailors, you lead such very bad lives,
St. Peter, to heaven, will ne'er let you in.
Parson, says I, in each port I've but one,
And never had more, wherever I've been:
Below I'm obliged to be chaste as a nun,
But I'm promised a dozen at Fiddler's Green.
Chorus
At Fiddler's Green, where seamen true,
When here they've done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew
And pledge to love and beauty.
3.
"Says the parson, says he, you're drunk, my man,
And do you not know that that is a sin?
If you sailors will ever be swigging your can,
To heaven you surely will never get in.
(Hiccup.) Parson, you may as well be mum
'Tis only on shore I'm this way seen;
But oceans of punch, and rivers of rum,
Await the sailor at Fiddler's Green.
Chorus
At Fiddler's Green, where seamen true,
When they've done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew,
And pledge to love and beauty."

Sung by the sailor, Bill Spurey, on shore at a Lust Haus. "Well reeled off, Billy, cried Jemmy Ducks, finishing off with a flourish on his fiddle, and a refrain on the air."

Frederick (Captain) Marryat, *1847, "The Dog Fiend, or Snarleyyow," R. Bentley, London. Chap. IX. (The OED listed date is 1837, but this may be an error. I have not checked beyond the date listed for publication of the online reproduction. My copy is 1890ish, no dates).

This comic satire of sailors aboard the customs cutter 'Yung Frau' at the time of King William III (1699 and William of Orange on the throne in England) contains a number of sailor's and fiddler's songs, all of which seem to have been composed by Marryat.

Fiddler's Green as the last port of call for sailors seems to have its first appearance here. Previously, it referred to a place for animals; "... animals, when they departed this life, were destined to be fixed in Fiddler's Green." (1825, OED). Maxwell, 1836, in Captain Blake: "It is... believed that tailors and musicians after death are cantoned in a place called 'Fiddler's Green' (OED).

Was Marryat in *1847 the first to send sailors there? Did he do it tongue-in-cheek, since it already was a place where animals, tailors and musicians were 'cantoned'?

The novel is a great piece of comic and satiric writing, easily read. There are two main characters; Snarleyyow, a shipboard dog, and the eternal Sad Sack, the sailor Smallbones, who survives all the misfortunes of shipboard life (flogging, keelhauling, attack by the dog, etc. etc.) but comes through it all with good spirits and English aplomb.

I may start a thread for the sailors songs written by Marryat. I certainly didn't know of them.