Friday, 13 November 2009

It's More Fun with Three...

I've just spent a very enjoyable few minutes singing a drinking song by Henry Purcell (1659-95). It's a three-part round. You may know it:

(Voice 1)Fie, nay, prithee, John,
Do not quarrel, man!
Let's be merry and drink about;
(Voice 2)You're a rogue, you cheated me!
I'll prove before this company,
I caren't a farthing, sir,
for all you are so stout!
(Voice 1 or 3)Sir, you lie! I scorn your word,
or any man that wears a sword!
For all your huff, who cares a damn,
and who cares for you?

Singing it, I found myself reflecting on the words. I've never had any truck with the "things were better in my day" view of the world. It's reassuring to see that the current preoccupation with  the with alcohol-fuelled, yob culture is a preoccupation with something that has been around for a long time. At least we don't wear swords anymore.

If you want to sing the song, the sheet music can be found here.


The Weaver of Grass said...

I think it is by far the best round in our musical history. Years ago I had a lot of success teaching it in schools mainly I think because the finished product sounds so very complicated and clever.
PS If your headings are meant to be suggestive then I can only wonder what the next one will be.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Maybe you could sing it and you tube it so we could all join in.How long can you keep it up with the double entendres?

Poet in Residence said...

I think Britain has long had a reputation as a nation of drunken brawlers. Perhaps it started with the Tudors?
As for the Irish, I'll leave that field to TFE.
There seems to be a geographical reason why this is so. Go North from the vineyards of Italy, through sparkling vines of France, to the beer belly UK, and by the time you get to the ice cold of Sweden, Iceland and Russia you're into serious alcoholism as a national trait. I wonder why. The word verification here is 'uk-in-gene' (the dashes are mine). Is the reason for centuries of boozy Britain hidden in our genes?

Poetikat said...

Well! That was a trip! I think I'd like to hear your rousing rendition, Dominic. I'm sure TFE could add a few new verses as well. It could be our anthem for the Poetry Bus (when it gets rolling again).

Great fun!