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Origin: High Germany

DigiTrad:
HIGH GERMANY
THE KING'S REQUEST MUST BE OBEYED
THE WARS OF GERMANY


Related threads:
Lyr Req: High Germany (Pentangle) (12)
Lyr Req: Scots songs about Poland/Germany/Prussia (23)
Lyr Req: 'Oh, Woe Be To The Orders' (5)
Ulster Version High Germany (1)


GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 08:37 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 08:44 AM
banksie 27 Apr 12 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 11:21 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Apr 12 - 02:38 PM
Jim Carroll 27 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Apr 12 - 03:56 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 12 - 03:49 AM
GUEST,Keith A o Hertford. 28 Apr 12 - 05:05 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 12 - 11:55 AM
Steve Gardham 28 Apr 12 - 12:14 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Apr 12 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,Guest 27 Sep 12 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Sep 12 - 11:38 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 27 Sep 12 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,Lighter 27 Sep 12 - 06:03 PM
pavane 27 Sep 12 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Steve Squeeze 03 Sep 13 - 07:03 AM
GUEST 03 Sep 13 - 09:49 AM
Snuffy 04 Sep 13 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Sep 13 - 12:15 PM
Vin2 21 Apr 14 - 08:12 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Apr 14 - 08:21 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Apr 14 - 11:18 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Apr 14 - 04:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 14 - 02:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 14 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,Robert Bannister 03 Sep 19 - 05:05 AM
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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 08:37 AM

My last post came across as grouchier than I intended. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 08:44 AM

"Not everyone can or wishes to make up a song in the diction of fashionable literature or according to the structural conventions of printed balladry."
Nor can they make up convincing songs about subject they are unfamiliar with in the language of the characters that populate those songs.
As far as I can make out, nobody here is questioning that the broadsides were written by anybody but the broadside hacks. What is being claimed is that the vast majority of the songs found in the oral tradition originated with these same hacks, who were skilfull enough to fool 'most of the people most of the time'.
Thereby hangs the nonsense.
Why is it uniformative to suggest that people who lived in hard and appalling conditions made songs about how they felt about it - especially when it has been claimed that such conditions deterred them from doing so?
These songs and their historical and cultural significance are vital to our undersanding of our past.
You are beginning to sound as dismissive as Steve.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: banksie
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 09:54 AM

Lighter: your observation "It's whether a scarcely educated person could do so, and how likely it would be for his or her song to spread throughout the country without the aid of print."

I suspect it is highly likely. The one downside of writing is that the human memory has been rendered nearly pointless by it. I have no doubt that a song, particularly if relevant to one's experience of work or life in general, would be learned very quickly. And would then be sung because it was relevant and therefore of some `emotional comfort or support' (or similar reason such as the shear pleasure of it). As evidence of that process - watch kids singing pop songs. I can't even decipher the words, but they have got them off pat.....I suspect because the song is relevant to them.

It wasn't so long ago that whole sagas (the books and novels of the day) were told from memory, as were important messages from war fronts etc - long despatches heard once and retold after a long journey. And as archeology unearths new finds showing that supposedly `dead-thick cavemen' could deliver artifacts such as jewelry displaying great delicacy and skill, I have no doubt that they could also fashion a story or song using the most eloquent of poetry.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 11:21 AM

I believe this discussion is confusing essentially distinct issues.

The two I see as central are style and dissemination.

Illiterate and poorly educated people obviously are capable of telling stories and composing songs. However, only the untutored geniuses among them will produce tales and songs of outstanding excellence. The rest will be mundane. Think about the average quality of popular music, popular novels, popular films, etc., when compared to the relative handful of those productions that are regarded as "classics of the genre." None of these things were created by rural, uneducated people, and I doubt they'd be better if they had been.

(Obviously the folksongs and Hollywood blockbuster are not commensurable: all I'm saying is that truly outstanding work is very rare in any genre. Compare Shakespeare, for example, with 99% of other poetry or drama. In fact, compare the really great parts of Shakespeare with the rest of his own work.)

The average quality of the average untutored song would, I believe, have made it unlikely to spread very far or be remembered for very long by more than a handful of people. And it would be unlikely for any collector to find a descendant of those people or, if the song was more than few years old, to collect it if he did.

Second point. The English-speaking population of Britain in 1800 was about 12,000,000. That's little more than half the current population of the New York Metropolitan Area. Fewer people means fewer and smaller social networks, which means less interchange of ideas and information. One printed broadside hawked commercially would be far more widely influential than one person's song sung to family and acquaintances.

Travel was also slower and more difficult. People also had less reason to travel long distances than they do today.

My point is that it may be a mistake to assume that folksongs in the distant past traveled as far or as quickly by word of mouth as does information today. Just to be clear: I'm not comparing British subjects of 1800 to cavemen, imaginary people "who have no culture," hermits, morons, or anything of the sort.

I'm simply stating my belief that unlettered songs not committed to print would be unlikely to travel very far or last very long. What's more, as the collections show, it's far more common for a song that's been circulating for any length of time to be found in worn down, partially incoherent versions than in brilliant new interpretations created by the anonymous "folk process." Yes, it does happen, but rarely.

Not to get sidetracked further, but the prose of the Norse sagas is straightforward and direct. And the sagas are prose, not folksong.   

This isn't for me a question of dogma or academic fashion. Rather, the evidence suggests strongly that the bulk of all English balladry (not every ballad without exception) originated in the form we know it with literate broadside printers. I see no evidence to refute that idea, and good evidence (cited by Steve and others) to support it.

Frankly, it would be more fun if things were otherwise But they're not.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 02:38 PM

Thanks, Jonathan, you present the case much more eloquently than I could.

'Nor can they make up convincing songs about subjects they are unfamiliar with in the language of the characters that populate those songs'

Jim, that in the majority of cases is untrue. The majority of these songs, like most literature, is pure fiction, and the majority also concern the life experiences open to everybody of any class. I've already given plenty of examples of how 'insider information' could easily be gleaned by the hacks.

'these same hacks, who were skilfull enough to fool 'most of the people most of the time'

Who said anything about fooling anyone? Where does fooling come into it?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:36 PM

"However, only the untutored geniuses among them will produce tales and songs of outstanding excellence"
Seems to suggest a composing elite - not sure about this - I tend to think the "excellence" more likely came from the edges being worn off the songs by the oral tradition, rather than being put there in the first place.
Quite often the songs survived, not because they were "excellent", but because the subject matter, or the references were relevant to the communities.
There are enough examples here in the West of Ireland of a large song-making repertoire. Undoubtedly the main driving force for this was a rich oral tradition; a template which acted as a pattern for new songs to be made.
As we don't know who made these songs, it would be dangerous to attribute them to "geniuses" - many surviving songs suggest that this is far from the truth.
"and how likely it would be for his or her song to spread throughout the country without the aid of print."
The fact that one of the most important communities in Britain and Ireland for the preservation and passing on of songs was the 'pre-literate' Travellers, suggests that print, while playing some part, was not by any means vital.
The most stylish singer we recorded (and also the one with the largest repertoire) was Tipperary Traveller, Mary Delaney - from a totally non-literate background, and also blind from birth - a phenomenal singer with a phenomenal repertoire.
In the 70s, collector, the late Tom Munnelly took us to record Martin Howley, a labourer/singer living on the Burren in North Clare, who gave us 'Knight William' - the only Irish version of Child 74 (which he confusingly called 'The Old Armchair' from the first line "Knight William was sitting on his old armchair").
Martin learned it from a non-literate Travelling woman who was called Mrs 'Stotered' because of her fondness for strong drink she used to greet people with the words "I'm stotered again).
His not-too-far-away neighbours, the Flanagans, described how, when Travellers were in the area, all farmwork would be abandoned and they would go off to learn songs, sometimes for a week at a time.
Martin and the Flanagans can be heard on our double CD of Clare singers, 'Around the Hills of Clare', available on the internet.
Also available is our double CD of Traveller singers, 'From Puck to Appleby' which includes a description of ballad selling in rural Ireland in the 1940s by a man who was part of the trade with his mother (this has an hilarious description of the speaker attempting to teach the tune of a song to a prospective punter who "shoved a pound note in my top pocket every time I sang it")
Please don't look on this as the hard sell - all the proceeds for both of these go to the Irish Traditional Music Archive)
Incidentally - an interesting footnote to songwriting in this town.
Ten years ago a local Councillor campaigned and had built a resource centre, for elderly people, a creche and an advice centre - it was opened by the then President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.
On Tuesday last, exactly ten years later, an anonymous handwritten poem/song was posted in the windows of several shops in praise of the centre - the singing tradition may be dead, but it's not going to lie down without a fight.
Sorry Steve - your "hacks" by your own description, were not skilled writers, and skilful novel writing of a convincing nature requires a great deal of research - not available to your 'tradition writers' (sic)
"Who said anything about fooling anyone?"
The fooling came from being able to convince a Norfolk singer that Barbara Allen was a local girl - or from anywhere where a song took root and came to be considered "from these parts".
That was a skill I really can't see your "hacks" possessing in any great quantity.
Still no answers I C
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 03:56 PM

I wonder. Did Shakespeare write Shakespeare, with all those convincingly real kings and queens and foreign lands he "couldn't have known anything about"?

Just teasing ya.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Apr 12 - 05:07 PM

Jim, I didn't mention skill or novelists. I merely used the word 'fiction' in its widest sense. In many ways their beauty lies in their simplicity. The hacks, as I've already said, came from a wide range of backgrounds and I'm sure some of the better ones went on to greater things. The word 'hack' I personally feel is unfair. It conjures up the picture of people with very little skill who were dashing off any old thing. It was coined by the literati who saw their products as being at the very bottom of the literature pile, but to be fair to modern eyes the majority of it is pretty dire. I doubt if there's anyone on this list who would say that they prefer the broadside version, other than perhaps an historian.

The localisation of songs took place in the print tradition and in oral tradition. With the former it was a definite sales ploy.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 03:49 AM

"I didn't mention skill or novelists."
You said ".....like most literature, is pure fiction," which I took to be a reference to novelists - what else?
As far as I am concerned, this discussion centres around your definitive, sweeping and often dismissive suggestion that the (English) folk did not make their songs, but contracted them out for
professionals to make for them (because they were too busy....).
This, to me, is total nonsense which flies in the face of everything we know (or we think we know) about our song traditions, and without proof, which you have singularly failed to provide; presented as it is, it is little more than arrogant flag-flying.
You have compounded this arrogance with your inclusion of most of the other folk disciplines (in case you claim I am misrepresenting you - in full "Sorry, Jim, this is just not true, except one would presume with folk painting, much of the rest originated in high art! Or certainly higher than the common folk, sophisticated sources in other words. Dances in particular.")
You have accompanied your claims with derisory terms like "Merrie England" and whistling ploughboys" - patronising at best, downright insulting on occasion (especially when accompanied by statements of how long you have been at it, as if the rest of us have only just come on board and are still looking for our cabins).
The only thing we know for certain about the making of our traditional songs is that we have not the faintest idea who made the vast majority of them.
We are pretty certain that 'ordinary people' (that appalling term which is sometimes used to describe often very extraordinary people) all over the world, made songs and tales to describe their lives, experiences, beliefs, values, aspirations..... There is no reason whatever that this should not include 'ordinary' English people.
Your claims, if accepted, would lay waste to most of the folk song scholarship of the 20th century. What is needed is documented proof, not the might-have-beens and perhapses we have been given so far.
"The word 'hack' I personally feel is unfair."
Then you should use another term for them - and parhaps give us a little more information on who they were and what were their backgounds - I have failed to find any so far and, beyong vague claims, you haven't been very forthcoming.
You accuse me of misrepresenting what you say - I haven't, not deliberately anyway, but I do find much of what you do say confusingly contradictory.
"Just teasing ya."
Just as well Lighter - we have some idea of where Shakespere went to for his references.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Keith A o Hertford.
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 05:05 AM

only the untutored geniuses among them will produce tales and songs of outstanding excellence

Yes.
Then as now.
One song in thousands is good enough to survive.
That can account for our heritage of songs.
Tutoring does little to improve song composing ability.
There has always been the same proportion of "geniuses" in the population.
No requirement for hacks.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 10:43 AM

Jim
The only reason I have included my pedigree on this is to demonstrate that I'm not just somebody who has read a few books. You equally keep putting in your own pedigree. I don't have a problem with this so why do you?

contracted them out for
professionals to make for them'
You know very well this is a distortion of what I have said. The hacks were paid by the printers and need not have had any contact with the singers other than to see what was selling well.

'like most literature, is pure fiction," which I took to be a reference to novelists - what else?' Just use a dictionary.

I am certain that the 'ordinary people' in many places in the world have made their own songs at various times in history, including your Irish examples. It just happens to be the case that when the 'ordinary people' who provided the songs for Sharp et al in England were learning their songs the market was being flooded with a great mass of cheap print examples coming out of the towns.

You keep challenging me to come up with direct proof of my hypothesis which several threads back we all agreed was not possible. I now challenge you, in view of your comparing the Irish songs you have been stressing, to say which songs of the corpus I have mentioned were made by a) travellers b) country people, and I'm not even going to press you for ultimatre proof. A few examples will do. There are plenty, but they still only make up less than 10% 0f the total.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 11:55 AM

"a great mass of cheap print "
Most of which were unsingable pap which said nothing about the lives of the people Sharp et al were collecting from. They certainly didn't have the function that I believe the traditional songs did. Did you ever asked a traditional singer how he/she felt about the songs they sing?
Walter Pardon filled tapes full of such information - he carefully discriminted between what he called "folk songs" and the popular songs, Victorian tearjerkers.... and the other mass produced pieces (not that he didn't sing and listen to those too).
We got similar results from other singers we questioned, often, also at at length.
All these singers were deeply involved with their songs and spoke passionately, and sometimes very emotionally about them - this is also to be found in recorded interviews of singers like Sam Larner, Harry Cox, and those wonderful recordings of Texas Gladden. You simply don't get that from mass-produced pop songs (which, as I believe you have pointed out, are what broadsides were).
I believe that our oral traditions were driven by a need, present in many cultures, for people to express their own feelings and not have it done by others on their behalf.
"I now challenge you...."
And I keep repeating - I have no idea who made these songs, any more than I believe you have.
I am not the one making definitive statements - you are, and providing no evidence to back them up.
"You know very well this is a distortion of what I have said."
This is, in essence, exactly what you said, they didn't make songs themselves because they were "too busy" so they bought songs - tell me the difference in "contracting out" the job.
"You equally keep putting in your own pedigree."
Only in response to your having done so - go and check.
I certainly don't put up "some of the most distinguished scholars of traditional music and none of them have taken me to task".
I stand behind my own ideas and am prepared to defend them and not call up others to do so on my behalf - and I expect the same of others I discuss with.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 12:14 PM

'contracting out' means a deliberate act of commissioning the songs by the people themselves, which is not true. The printers who were receiving the bulk of the income were encouraging the lyricists to bring in their compositions. These were then either sold from the shop, sold in the street by chaunters who bought their stock from the printer at a discount, or taken around the countryside by pedlars who sold them along with their other stock. Of course the printers were also regurgitating old stock, including current pop songs, and pirating material from other printers.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Apr 12 - 12:55 PM

You're splitting hairs Steve - it amounts to the same thing - the paying of others to provide their culture for them rather than to produce it themselves.
If this is not what they were doing, please say so - otherwise you are taking refuge behind semantics.
Is this what you have described as "You continue to misquote me 'much' = 'all'" - oh dear!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 10:37 AM

Dear God. What a load of hogwash. Positive proof that in England at least the so-called 'music of the common people' - long ago hi-jacked by social historians, middle-class academics and university types - is still in the wrong hands.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 11:38 AM

Q. "So whose hands should it be in?"

A. "The singers' and the people's, you nit!"

Q. "You mean the social historians, etc., are keeping them from enjoying it? How is that possible?"


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 03:21 PM

As the following song is #56 in Sharp's 100 English Folksongs, I'm surprised not to find Sharp's version in the DT. A version using the name Colleen is in the DT and was cited above, but not this.

HIGH GERMANY

Learned from Bob Keppel of St. Louis MO in Cambridge, MA c. 1958
Version close to or identical with #56 in Sharp's 100 English Folksongs

Oh, Polly, dear, oh Polly, the route is now begun,
And we must march away to the beating of the drum,
Go dress yourself all in your best and come along with me,
I'll take you to the cruel wars in High Germany.

Oh, Harry, dearest Harry, you mind what I do say,
My feet they are too tender, I cannot march away,
And besides, my dearest Harry, though I'm in love with thee,
I am not fit for cruel wars in High Germany.

I'll buy you a horse, my love, and on it you shall ride,
And all of my delight shall be riding by your side,
We'll call at every alehouse, and drink when we are dry,
So quickly on the road, my love, we'll marry by and by.

O curs-ed be the cruel wars that ever they should rise,
And out of merry England press many a lad likewise,
They pressed young Harry from me, likewise my brothers three,
And sent them to the cruel wars in High Germany.

I later learned a final verse that Keppel did not sing, nor is it in Sharp. It's from another version; I don't know its source, but believe it to be traditional. The name in the final line was originally Willie; I changed it to suit the rest of the song.

My friends I do not value and my foes I do not fear,
For now my true love's left me and wanders far and near,
But when my baby's born, and smiling on my knee,
I'll think of handsome Harry in high Germany.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 06:03 PM

Bob, I don't know the ultimate origin of the final stanza, but I believe the Dubliners sang it in the mid '60s.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: pavane
Date: 27 Sep 12 - 06:30 PM

Martin Carthy also sang it in the mid-60's
It seems to have been printed in 1960:
The Everlasting Circle:
English traditional verse
James Reeves
Heinemann, 1960
page 151: 64 High Germany

"Your parents they will be angry if along with me you will gang

My friends I do not value, nor my foes I do not fear, But along with my jolly soldier boy I will ramble far and near. It's gold shall never deceive me nor any other man,but along with you I will go
For to fight the French or the Spaniards or any other..."

I can't see any more online


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Steve Squeeze
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 07:03 AM

Only two years late, but should anyone wish to peruse the back catalogue of the aforementioned Whorticulture, in the form of hastily-recorded demo/live CDs from many moons ago, it's all on grooveshark, including our version of High Germany.

Rgds,
SS :o) x


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:49 AM

is there a Low Germany?


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 09:29 AM

Indeed there is: the North German plain is Low Germany: see this from Wikipedia

Variants of Low German were widely (and are still to a far lesser extent) spoken in most parts of Northern Germany, for instance in the states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg. Small portions of northern Hesse and northern Thuringia are traditionally Low Saxon speaking too. Historically, Low German was also spoken in formerly German parts of Poland as well as in East Prussia and the Baltic States of Estonia and Latvia. The language was also formerly spoken in the outer areas of what is now the city state of Berlin but in the course of urbanisation and national centralisation in that city the language vanished.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Sep 13 - 12:15 PM

"Low German" (the dialect) and "Low Germany" (the area) seem not to have been completely congruent.

"Low Germany" frequently (maybe mainly?) referred to the Netherlands where, of course, they spoke Dutch rather than any form of German. Like "High Germany" the phrase seems to have dropped out of non-literary use long ago.


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Subject: Origins: High Germany
From: Vin2
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 08:12 AM

Hi folks, just learning this great song covered by many a songster - my fave version is Martin Carthy's and Luke Kelly's. Anyroadup I was wondering if anyone knows the songs origin ?

Cheers

Vin


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Subject: RE: Origins: High Germany
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 08:21 AM

It's in DT, with several links there to previous threads. Search with the Lyrics & Knowledge Search above and you will find much relevant info.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: High Germany
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 11:18 AM

Not unrelated t this song, though song origins are virtually impossible to pin down and invariably end in tears
Jim Carroll

Banks of the Nile (Roud 950, Laws N9)
Pat MacNamara
The theme of this song – a woman asking her soldier or sailor lover to be allowed to accompany him to battle or to sea, is not as unbelievable as it might first appear. Armies once trudged their way around the world accompanied by 'camp-followers', mobile settlements of women, children and tradesmen all running risks not too different from those taken by active soldiers. Following the defeat of the rebels at Vinegar Hill in 1798, British troops rounded up and massacred the camp-followers who assisted the rebels during the fighting. Camp following lasted into the nineteenth century and continued to be a common part of army life into the 19th century.
The same went for seamen; in 1822 an anonymous pamphlet suggested that members of the Royal Navy were taking as many as two women apiece aboard the ships. These women also proved useful in that they fought alongside their lovers at the Nile and Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars. The well-known saying "show a leg" is said to have originated from the practice of officers in the Royal Navy clearing the crew from their hammocks and bunks by demanding that the occupant sticks their leg out to show whether they were male or female.
'Banks of the Nile' is probably the best known song of women accompanying their lovers into battle or on board ship. Though this version refers to the practice among the Irish military forces, the song is just as popular in England and probably originated there


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 04:09 PM

Much learned discussion about "High Germany," whether it is the work of some unknown poet of the 1820s-1830s, as implied by Bruce O some years ago (above) or a folk effort of an earlier time, is penned in this thread.
The text, however, has not been posted in mudcat.
Whether it descends from the 18th C. verses posted earlier in this thread is open to question.


Lyr. Add: HIGH GERMANY

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, the rout is begun
And we must away at the sound of the drum,
Go dress yourself in all your best, & go along with me
And I'll take you to the wars in High Germany.

O my dearest Billy mind what you say,
My feet they are sore I cannot march away,
Besides my dearest Billy, I am with child by thee,
Not fitting for the wars in High Germany.

I will buy you a horse, if my Polly can ride,
And many a long night I will march by her side,
We will drink at every alehouse there ere we come nigh
And we'll travel on the road sweet Molly and I.

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, I like you very well,
There are few in this place my Molly can excell,
But when your baby is born, love, and sits smiling on your knee,
You will think on your Billy that is in High Germany.

Down in yonder valley I'll make for him a bed,
And the sweetest of roses shall be his coverlid, (coverlet?)
With pinks and sweet violets I will adorn his feet,
Where the fishes are charmed the music is so sweet.

O Polly, love, O Polly, love, pray give me your hand
And promise you will marry me when I come to Old England,
I give you my right hand, I will not married be,
Till you come from the wars in High Germany.

Woe be to the wars that they began, For they have prest my Billy & many a clever man,
For they have prest my Billy no more him I shall see
And so cold will be his grave in High Germany.

The drum that beats is covered with green,
The pretty lambs a sporting much pleasure to be seen
May the birds on the branches hinder my downfall
The leaving of my true love grieves me the worst of all.

Harding B11, 1536; B11 (2899); and others of roughly the same date (1820-1830), broadsides in the Bodleian Collection.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 02:55 PM

Lyr. Add: HIGH GERMANY
Revised by Aoife Clancy et al.

Woe be to the orders that took my love away
And woe be to the cruel cause that bid my tears to fall
Woe be to the bloody wars of high Germany
They have taken my love and left a broken heart to me.

The drum beat in the morning before the break of day
And the small wee fife played loud and clear while yet the morn was gray
And I the bonny flag unfurled, 'twas a gallant sight to see
Woe to me, my soldier lad was marched to Germany.

Long, long is the traveling to the bonny pier of Leith
And bleak it was to gang there with a snowstorm in your teeth
And aye, the wind blew sharp and strong, and a tear rose in my eyne
I gang there to see my love embark for Germany.

As I gazed over the cruel sea for as long as could be seen
The wee small sails upon the ship my own true love was in
And aye, the wind blew sharp and strong, and the ship sailed speedily
Cruel the raging wars have torn my bonny boy from me.

Woe be to the orders that took my love away
And woe be to the cruel cause that bid my tears to fall
Woe be to the bloody wars of high Germany
They have taken my love and left a broken heart to me.

Arrangement of the 1820s broadside by Aoife Clancy and group, album "Threads of Time," 1998.

http://www.celtic lyrics corner.net/cherish/high.htm


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 03:23 PM

"High Germany" has been collected in Newfoundland; a shortened version probably originating from the old broadside.

The boy is "Willy", and he suggests that they will "call into Damsel's Tavern and drink as we pass by."

With musical score, sung by Jim Bennett; pp. 679-680, Kenneth Reacock, "Songs of the Newfoundland Outports.


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 03:51 PM

Lyr. Add: HIGH GERMANY Moeran
Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950)

One day as I was walking by myself all alone,
I heard two young ones talking, they were talking all alone,
Said the young one to the fair one, "Bonnie Lassie," said he,
"our king he have commanded us, and his orders we must obey."

"That's not what you promised me when you did beguile,
You promised for to marry me as we walked many a mile,
Do not me forsake but pity on me take, great fear is my woe;
Through Scotland, France and Ireland, along with you I will go."

"As long as we're travelling, that would hurt your tender feet;
Over hills and lofty mountains that would cause you for to weep,
Beside that you would not consent to laying in the fields all night long;
And your parents would be angry if alone o'me you gang.

But since you are so vextillous as to risk your sweet life,
So first I will marry you and make you my lawful wife;
Then if anyone offend you I'll protect you, and that you shall see--
I will take you where the drums and trumpets sound, in the wars of High Germany."

Volkslieder (Folksongs) set by Ernest John Moeran.
http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?Textld=75328


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Subject: RE: Origin: High Germany
From: GUEST,Robert Bannister
Date: 03 Sep 19 - 05:05 AM

We English pinched the tune of Marbrouk for "He a jolly good fellow". The Polly love version was definitely about the Wars of Spanish Succession. Marlborough got his dukedom for his victory at Blenheim. Two thirds of his troops, about 40,000, were British, the rest mainly German. The idea that France could inherit all of Spain's vast empire was anathema to most European powers who then formed a coalition. Marlborough was supreme commander.


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