Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Ballads (The Duke of Grafton & Johnie Cock)




We've been featuring this past couple of months, Allen on the classic Scottish and English anonymous lyric ballads. We'll continue with just a few more. This transcript is taken (continuing) from his June 1 1980 class at Naropa University (then the Naropa Institute)  

 The Duke of Grafton & Johnie Cock

AG: "The Duke of Grafton"..This is another..  This is a rhythmic thing in "The Ballad of the Duke of Grafton". And (there's) also a very mighty image in it about the death of the Duke of Grafton, bringing his body to the church to bury - "They brought him to Portsmouth his fame to make known/And from thence to fair London, so near to the Crown/They pull'd out his bowels and they stretch'd forth his feet/They imbalmed his body with spices so sweet/So black was their mourning, so white was their bands/So yellow were the flambés they carried in their hands/The drums they did rattle, the trumpets sweetly sound/While the muskets and cannons did thunder all around - "In Westminster-Abbey, 'tis now called by name,/There the great Duke of Grafton does lie in great fame./In Westminster-Abbey, he lies in cold clay/Where the royal Queen Mary went weeping away." - I like that - "They pull'd out his bowels and they stretch'd forth his feet/They imbalmed his body with spices so sweet" -  - "They pull'd out his bowels" - That's a good ballad, strong ballad, line.  



       ["And the coat he wore upon his back/Was of the Lincoln twine"]

Then there is..oh, a very weird thing that comes from this time in a ballad called "Johnie Cock" ["Johnnie o' Breadislee"] (it's) a funny reference to America, which might turn us on to how to deal with contemporary imagery - "His coat it was of light Lincoln/ And his breeches of (the same/His shoes (were) of the American leather/And gold buckles tying them"  -  (So whatever that is? - I guess, fifteenth?, sixteenth-century?) - "His coat it was of light Lincoln/ And his breeches of the same/His shoes of the American leather/ And gold buckles tying them" -  So, that must have been a new element to have to…  and very modern, and people must have objected - "Why, you''ve got this weird American leather in there", like, you know, (like) McDonald's hamburgers! - but it sounds a bit like Macdonalds hamburgers already! - "His shoes were of the American leather" - but you could… but, anyway, this is classic, (this) "American leather" is classic in "Johnny Cock", the Ballad of Johnny Cock") 

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately forty-seven-and-a-half minutes in and continuing to approximately fifty-and-a-quarter minutes in]

No comments:

Post a Comment