Convivial Songs With Dreda

Greetings, fellow singers! At this February’s Makers’ Faire in Carolingia, I will be holding down a corner table in the bar for a little while in the afternoon, with the aim of singing some convivial songs in company – and this is definitely a case where even more voices make everything even better. So! I will have the words to hand, for those who like something to read with their beer (or would like an extra coaster), but if you would like to study up ahead of time, here are five songs that we will definitely be doing. Each one includes words, a PDF of the sheet music, and an mp3 with which you can sing along. If you don’t feel like studying up ahead of time, come anyway – these are songs meant to be sung broadly and with rather more enthusiasm than precision! Indeed, the tunes provided here should serve you mostly as guidelines; if your introduction to these songs was markedly different, then we can celebrate a noisy, jovial collision of melody (otherwise known as “tipplers’ harmony…)!

(If you have a favorite song in this vein, bring it along and teach it to us!)

Bacche, Bene Venias | I Care Not For These Ladies | The Little Barley-Corne | Martin Said To His Man | We Be Soldiers Three

Bacche, Bene Venies [PDF]

From the cheerful monks and students of the Carmina Burana, we have a song in praise of Bacchus and of all good things associated with his favorite drink. We will have many verses to hand (bring your own!), mostly in English, but the chorus will always be in Latin, because it swings:

Istud vinum, bonum vinum, vinum generosa,
Reddit virum curialem, probum, animosum!

This wine, good wine, kindly wine,
makes a man noble, honest, spirited.

Our two sample verses are as follows:

Bache, bene venies gratus et optatus
per quem noster animus fit letificatus.

Bachus forte superans pectora virorum
in amorem concitat animos eorum.

Welcome, Bacchus, pleasing and desired,
through whom our spirits are made joyful.

Bacchus perhaps conquering the hearts of men
stirs to love their spirits.

Back to Top

I Care Not For These Ladies [PDF]

Sometimes, the bar in which you are singing is more like, well, a wine bar. Or a garden party. But let not the refinement of your surroundings or of your cup lead you to believe that you can no longer sing songs of questionable propriety! This one is brought to you by the inestimable Thomas Campion, and provides an opportunity to practice shouting “Forsooth, let go!” in a most garden-party-appropriate manner.

I care not for these ladies,
That must be wooed and prayed:
Give me kind Amaryllis,
The wanton country maid.
Nature art disdaineth,
Her beauty is her own.
Her when we court and kiss,
She cries, “Forsooth, let go!”
But when we come where comfort is,
She never will say no.

If I love Amaryllis,
She gives me fruit and flowers:
But if we love these ladies,
We must give golden showers.
Give them gold, that sell love,
Give me the nut-brown lass,
Who, when we court and kiss…

These ladies must have pillows,
And beds by strangers wrought;
Give me a bower of willows,
Of moss and leaves unbought,
And fresh Amaryllis,
With milk and honey fed;
Who, when we court and kiss…

Back to Top

The Little Barley-Corne 

[YouTube Link]

Another rousing paean to the virtues of the cup and what lies therein; as is so very often true, this subject has inspired someone to many, many verses, of which these are only a few!

Come and do not musing stand, if thou the truth discerne,
But take a full cup in thy hand, and thus begin to learne —
Not of the earth, nor of the ayre, at evening or at morne —
But joviall boyes your Christmas keep, with the little Barly-Corne.

It is the cinningst alchymist that ere was in the land;
‘Twill change your mettle, when it list, in the turning of the hand —
Your blushing gold to silver wan, your silver into brasse —
‘Twill turn a taylor to a man, and a man into an asse.

It lends more yeeres unto old age than e’er was lent by nature;
It makes the poets fancy rage more than Castalian water:
‘Twill make a huntsman chase a fox and never wind his horne;
‘Twill cheere a tinker in the stockes, this little Barly-Corne.

It is the neatest serving-man to entertaine a friend;
It will doe more than money can all jarring suits to end:
There’s life in it, and it is here, ’tis here within the cup,
Then take your liquor, doe not spare, but cleare carouse it up.

If sicknesse come this physick take, it from your heart will set it;
If feare encroach, take more of it, your heart will soone forget it:
Apollo and the Muses nine, doe take it in no scorne;
There’s no such stuffe to passe the time as the little Barly-Corne.

‘Twill make a weeping widdow laugh, and soon incline to pleasure;
‘Twill make an old man leave his staffe, and dance a youthful measure:
And though your clothes be ne’er so bad all ragged rent and torne,
Against the cold you may be clad with the little Barly-Corne.

‘Twill make a mister prodigall, and shew himselfe kindhearted;
‘Twill make him never grieve at all, that from his coyne hath parted;
‘Twill make the shepheard to mistake his sheepe before a storme;
‘Twill make the poet to excell; this little Barly-Corne.

Back to Top

Martin Said To His Man [PDF]

Singing along is always better when you can sing more often. This Ravenscroft favorite provides the opportunity to sing nearly every other line, even if you’ve never heard the verse before in your life. That Thomas, always looking out for us! A sample of verses is provided below; more verses are likely, but you won’t know what they are unless you come and play…

Martin said to his man (fie, man fie!)
Martin said to his man (who’s the fool now?)
Martin said to his man, Fill thou the cup and I the can,
Thou hast well drunken man, who’s the fool now?
Thou hast well drunken man, who’s the fool now?

I saw a sheep shearing corn,
I saw a sheep shearing corn,
I saw a sheep shearing corn,
And a cuckold blow his horn…

I saw a mouse catch the cat,
And the cheese to eat the rat…

Back to Top

We Be Soldiers Three [PDF]

(Ravenscroft tune)

(Owain Phyfe’s tune)

This is another favorite from Mr. Ravenscroft, and a shining example of the folk process. I have included recordings of two tunes: the first is from the Ravenscroft original, and the second is from a bard of great renown, the late Owain Phyfe. Like all good interpretations, his has great legs, and may well be the tune you know the best. We will sing one or the other or both, depending on who’s singing with us, and it will be fabulous.

We be soldiers three,
Pardonnez-moi je vous en prie,
Lately come forth of the low country,
With never a penny of money.

Here, good fellow, I drink to thee,
Pardonnez-moi’ je vous en prie,
To all good fellows wherever they be,
With never a penny of money.

And he that will not pledge me this,
Pardonnez-moi je vous en prie,
Pays for the shot, whatever it is,
With never a penny of money.

Charge it again, boys charge it again,
Pardonnez-moi je vous en prie,
As long as you have any ink in your pen,
With never a penny of money.

Back to Top

Comments are closed.