Lyr Req: Limbo To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=55255
5 messages

Lyr Req: Limbo

03 Jan 03 - 02:11 PM (#857878)
Subject: Lyr Req: Limbo
From: GUEST,Roberto

Does somebody have the lyrics to LIMBO, as sung by Eliza Carthy in Anglicana, and some information about the song? Thank you. Roberto


03 Jan 03 - 03:33 PM (#857939)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Limbo
From: Malcolm Douglas

I've only heard a short clip of her recording so far, but I'd say that it's basically the set noted by George Gardiner from James Brooman at Upper Faringdon, Hampshire, in 1908. It's been published in Frank Purslow's Marrowbones (EFDSS 1965) and Roy Palmer's Everyman's Book of British Ballads (1980, reprinted in 1998 by Llanerch Press as The Book of British Ballads).

The song appeared on broadsides during the 19th century, and there are examples at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads. The most legible seems to be:

The rakes complaint in limbo Printed between 1819 and 1844 by J. Pitts, Printer, and Toy Warehouse, 6, Great st. Andrew Street, 7 Dials [London]. Harding B 11(3214)


03 Jan 03 - 05:00 PM (#857995)
Subject: Lyr Add: Limbo
From: Malcolm Douglas

Here is the song as collected. I daresay Eliza will have changed the words and melody a bit here and there.

LIMBO

(Noted by George Gardiner from James Brooman, Upper Faringdon, Hampshire, 1908).

I am a poor lad and my fortune is bad,
And if ever I gets rich 'tis a wonder,
I've spent all my money on girls and strong beer,
And what riches I had are all plundered.
Field after field to market I sent,
Till my land was all gone and my money all spent,
My heart was so hard that I never could repent,
And 'twas that that brought me to Limbo.

Once I could run whilst other did lie,
And strut like a crow in the gutter,
The people all said that saw me pass by,
There goes Mr. Fop in a flutter;
To the top and top-gallant I hoisted my sails,
With a fine fringy cravat and a wig with three tails,
And now I am ready to gnaw my own nails,
And drink the cold water of Limbo.

I had an old Uncle lived down in the West,
And he heard of my sad disaster,
Poor soul! after that he could never take no rest,
For his troubles came faster and faster;
He came to the gaol to view my sad case,
And as soon as I saw him I knew his old face,
I stood gazing on him like one in amaze,
I wished myself safe out of Limbo.

Jack, if I should set you once more on your legs,
And put you in credit and fashion,
Oh! will you leave off those old rakish ways,
And try for to govern your passion?
Yes Uncle, says I, if you will set me free,
I surely will always be ruled by thee,
And I'll labour my bones for the good of my soul,
And I'll pay them for laying me in Limbo.

He pulled out his purse with three thousand pounds,
And he counted it out in bright guineas,
And when I was free from the prison gates,
I went to see Peggy and Jeannie;
In my old ragged clothes they knew nought of my gold,
They turned me all out in the wet and the cold,
You'd a-laughed for to hear how those hussies did scold,
How they jawed me for laying in Limbo.

I'd only been there a very short time,
Before my pockets they then fell to picking,
I banged them as long as my cane I could hold,
Until they fell coughing and kicking,
The one bawled out, Murder! the other did scold,
I banged them as long as my cane I could hold,
I banged their old bodies for the good of their souls,
And I paid them for laying me in Limbo.


Gardiner H.1272. Roud 969. Quoted from Frank Purslow, Marrowbones, EFDSS 1965.

Limbo was the old debtors' prison in London. The song hasn't been widely found in tradition; the Roud Folk Song Index lists only four English sets, and one from Nova Scotia.


X:1
T:Limbo
S:James Brooman, Upper Faringdon, Hampshire.
Z:Dr. George Gardiner, October 1908.
N:Gardiner H.1272. Roud 969.
B:Frank Purslow, Marrowbones, EFDSS 1965.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:3/4
K:D
d2|d2 e2 f2|e2 d2 d2|G2 F2 G2|A4 DD|
w:I am a poor lad and my for-tune is bad, And if
FF G2 A2|=c2 A2 G2|A2 D4|
w:e-ver I gets rich 'tis a won-der,
z4 d2|d2 e2 f2|e2 d2 d2|G2 F2 G2|A4 DD|
w:I've spent all my mon-ey on girls and strong beer, And what
F2 G2 A2|=c2 A2 G2|A2 D4|
w:rich-es I had are all plun-dered.
z6|A2 B2 c2|(d2 e2) f2|e2 c2 e2|d4 dd|
w:Field after field_ to mar-ket I sent, Till my
d2 f2 e2|d2 c2 A2|G2 B2 G2|A4 d2|
w:land was all gone and my mon-ey all spent, My
d2 e2 f2|e2 d2 d2|GG F2 G2|A4 DD|
w:heart was so hard that I ne-ver could re-pent, And 'twas
(F2 G2) A2|=c2 A2 G2|A2 HD2|]
w:that_ that brought me to Lim-bo.


03 Jan 03 - 05:09 PM (#858002)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Limbo
From: Malcolm Douglas

I should mention that the song usually begins Once I was great, but little I'm grown or thereabouts; the first half of Mr. Brooman's first verse seems to have been borrowed from another broadside song, The Unfortunate Lad; see, for example, The unfortunate lad [Harding B 22(313), Bodleian Library].


04 Jan 03 - 05:37 AM (#858318)
Subject: Lyr Add: LIMBO (from Eliza Carthy)
From: GUEST,Roberto

Thank you very much, Malcolm Douglas. Using the text you've posted, I've tried to write down the text Eliza Carthy sings. Can you, or somebody else, check if what I've written down is correct? Thank you. Roberto

LIMBO
as sung by Eliza Carthy, Anglicana

I am a brisk lad and my fortune is bad,
And if e'er I get rich it's a wonder,
I've spent all my money on girls and strong beer,
What riches I had are all plundered.
Field after field off to market I sent,
Till the land was all gone and the money was spent,
My heart was so hard that I never did repent,
And that's what put me into Limbo.

Oh once I could run while the others did lie,
Strut like a crow in the gutter,
The people all said that saw me passing by,
There goes Mr. Fop in a flutter;
To the top and top-gallant I hoisted my sails,
With a flimsy cravat and a wig with three tails,
Oh, now I am ready to gnaw my own nails,
Drink the cold water of Limbo.

Oh I had an Uncle, he lived in the West,
And he heard of my sad disaster,
Poor soul! after that he could never take rest,
Oh, his sorrows came faster and faster;
He came to the gaol to see my sad case,
And as soon as I saw him I knew his old face,
And I stood gazing at him like one in disgrace,
And I wished myself safe out of Limbo.

Jack, if I should set you once more on your legs,
And put you in credit and fashion,
Oh! will you lay off all those rakish old ways,
Try for to govern your passion?
Oh Uncle, says I, if you will set me free,
I surely will always be ruled by thee,
And I'll labour my bones for the good of my soul,
See myself miles out of Limbo.

Then out of his purse he pulled three thousand pounds,
He counted it up in bright guineas,
And when I was free of those prison's gates,
Oh, I went to see Peggy and Jeannie;
In my old ragged clothes they knew nought of my gold,
And they all turned me out in the wet and the cold,
You'd a-laughed for to hear how those hussies did scold,
The night they let me out of Limbo.