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Cutty Wren - original lyrics?

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:41 pm
by gregory23b
I was in the Porkist line at Tewks and the rest of us sung the Cutty Wren, nice tune but has anyone got a source for lyrics in the 15thC, I understand it goes back earlier but all I can find are lyrics that seem modernised, eg with knives and forks etc.

Any ideas what manuscripts it might be contained in?

thanks

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:31 pm
by PaulMurphy
Jorge,

See http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=47959 for a discussion by folkies.

Seems they can't get it back to before the C17th.

Paul.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:08 pm
by gregory23b
Thanks Paul, there was something odd about the lyrics that I couldn't quite fix, so being the nosey git I am I did a bit of looking but couldn't find any more earlier info.

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:35 pm
by craig1459
Discussed this further down...

Was that Adam from the Saviles leading? We sang it marching out of Lincoln Castle at Easter

Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:02 pm
by gregory23b
No idea mate, was in our ranks, I had heard of the song and it is a nice ditty and all but something niggled so got curious, as one does.

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:10 pm
by Ness
Will ALWAYS makes us sing this coming off the field {that's the Clarences} but the Gloucesters & the Savilles are normally quite vocal too. The following info I knicked from Jack in the Clarences -

This is the earliest political protest song on record and dates back to 1381 and the peasents revolt. Politicially its a jibe at the establishment, that being the feudal system denying the common man the right to hunt on the kings land. The song is about 2 men who are going out poaching Festil and John they come across one of the kings men, Milder. The kings man asks them what they are up to and each time Festil tells them nothing guv just minding our own business, however John his drunk mate (hence red nose) lets slip what they are up to. The song continues with John getting them in deeper and deeper trouble till the final verse where he redeems himself a little by giving the scraps to the poor, i.e. what the feudal system was doing to the poor at the time only giving them the scraps. Mulder and foes are terms for your enemy and I'm assuming mulder is a name for a poacher or such.

If you're at Berkeley you may hear this coming off the field again !!!!

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:50 pm
by Cat
And you have to sing the phrase 'In bloody great brass cauldrons' as loudly as you can.

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:52 pm
by Cat
You have to read the Percy 'Stupid' Sedgewick (the last of the very thin wren hunters) version on Mudcat Cafe too!

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:57 pm
by craig1459
"Where are we going?" says Milder to Melder.
"Where are we going?" says the younger to the elder.
"We may not tell you," says vassal to foe.
"Away to the green wood!" says John the Red Nose.

2. "What shall we do there?" says Milder to Melder.
"What shall we do there?" says the younger to the elder.
"We may not tell you," says vassal to foe.
"Hunt for the Cutty Wren!" says John the Red Nose.

3. "How shall we shoot her?" says Milder to Melder.
"With bows and with arrows," says the younger to the elder.
"That will not do, then," says vassal to foe.
"With big guns and with cannon!" says John the Red Nose.

4. "How shall we fetch her home?" says Milder to Melder.
"On four strong men's shoulders," says the younger to the elder.
"That will not do, then," says vassal to foe.
"In oxcarts and in wagons!" says John the Red Nose.

5. "How shall we cut her up?" says Milder to Melder.
"With forks and with knives," says the younger to the elder.
"That will not do, then," says vassal to foe.
"With hatchets and with cleavers!" says John the Red Nose.

6. "How shall we cook her?" says Milder to Melder.
"In pots and in kettles," says the younger to the elder.
"That will not do, then," says vassal to foe.
"In a bloody great brass cauldron!" :D says John the Red Nose.

7. "Who'll get the spare ribs?" says Milder to Melder.
"Who'll get the spare ribs?" says the younger to the elder.
"We may not tell you," says vassal to foe.
"We'll give 'em all to the poor!" says John the Red Nose.

Posted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:16 pm
by gregory23b
I was in the Clarences pole weapon unit (gascoignes) at Tewkesbury and heard it well enough, piqued my curiosity, but can't find any actual references to it of the time, the alluded ones to it being earlier as mentioned.

I did smile when we sang Summer is icumen in, a bit like us all now breaking out into singing Rochester Recruiting Seargent or even Some Civil War tunes.:D

It then led me think what actual 15thc sing alongs are there, other than the posh or seasonal stuff?

Singing is ace and be nice to hear more of it.

Any ideas?

Posted: Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:41 am
by Cat
Unless it's me singing, then it's painful. However, I do know the first verse of an extraordinary number of songs. Only the first verse.