Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Shilling shalley

Went to look up the lyrics to the Dubliner's Saxon Shilling, to find they made no sense at all.  Had to go back to the original poem....


The Spirit of the Nation  (1843) 
The Saxon Shilling by K. T. B. (Kevin T. Buggy)

Hark! a martial sound is heard—
 The march of soldiers, fifing, drumming;
Eyes are staring, hearts are stirr'd—
 For bold recruits the brave are coming.
Ribands flaunting, feathers gay—
 The sounds and sights are surely thrilling,
Dazzl'd village youths to-day
 Will crowd to take the Saxon Shilling.
Hark a marshall sound is heard
The march of soldiers fife and drumming
Eyes are start and hearts are stood
For bold recruits the brave are coming
Ribbons flaunting feathers gay
The sound and sights are surely thrilling
Dazzle village youths the day
Who're proud to take the Saxon Shilling

Ye, whose spirits will not bow
 In peace to parish tyrants longer—
Ye, who wear the villain brow,
 And ye who pine in hopeless hunger—
Fools, without the brave man's faith—
All slaves and starvelings who are willing
To sell yourselves to shame and death—
Accept the fatal Saxon Shilling.
Peace of spirits will not bow
And peace to parish tyrants longer
Ye who wear the villain brow
And ye who pine and hope asunder
Fools, without the brave man's face
Are slaves and starving who are willing
To sell themselves to shame and death
Except the fabled Saxon Shilling


Ere you from your mountains go
To feel the scourge of foreign fever,
Swear to serve the faithless foe
That lures you from your land for ever!
Swear henceforth its tools to be—
To slaughter trained by ceaseless drilling—
Honour, home, and liberty,
Abandon'd for a Saxon Shilling.


Go—to find, 'mid crime and toil,
 The doom to which such guilt is hurried;
Go—to leave on Indian soil
 Your bones to bleach, accurs'd, unburied!
Go—to crush the just and brave,
 Whose wrongs with wrath the world are filling;
Go—to slay each brother slave,
 Or spurn the blood-stained Saxon Shilling!
Go to find the crime and toil
That doom to which such guilt is hurried
Go to leave on Indian soil your bones
To breach accursed and buried
Go to crush the just and brave
Whose wrongs with wrath the world are filling
Go to slay each by the slave or
Spurn the blasted Saxon Shilling


Irish hearts! why should you bleed,
 To swell the tide of British glory—
Aiding despots in their need,
Who've changed our green so oft to gory?
None, save those who wish to see
 The noblest killed, the meanest killing,
And true hearts severed from the free,
Will take again the Saxon Shilling!
Irish hearts why should you bleed
To swell the tide of British glory
Aiding their spots in their needs
Whose chains are green so often gory
None say those who wish to see
The noblest killed, the meanest killing
And the true hearts of the risen free
Will take again the Saxon Shilling


Irish youths! reserve your strength
 Until an hour of glorious duty,
When Freedom's smile shall cheer at length
 The land of bravery and beauty.
Bribes and threats, oh, heed no more—
 Let nought but Justice make you willing
To leave your own dear Island shore,
 For those who send the Saxon Shilling.
Irish youths reserve your strength
Until an hour of glorious duty
When freedom smile shall cheer at length
The land of bravery and beauty
Bribes and threats so heed no more
Let not but justice make you willing
To leave your own dear Ireland shore
For those to send as Saxon Shilling

Listening to the Dubliners, though, I have to say that the transcriber certainly had every excuse; I wouldn't have been able to find the correct text myself.  I'm not absolutely sure that the Dubliners aren't singing from a slightly corrupted version themselves.

My favourite transcription was a Stones album from the sixties, transcribed for cover notes in Taiwan;
where  "Now she gets her kicks in Stepney, not in Knightsbridge any more"
admittedly a toughie, for someone without an A to Z,  came out
"Now she gets her kicks unsteady, not in nights rich in amour".

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