new filk by me: HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH LANGUAGE PURIST

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Kate Gladstone

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Jul 4, 2008, 11:33:05 PM7/4/08
to har...@panix.com, oc...@madisoncounty.net, k...@u.washington.edu
HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH USAGE PURIST
(alternate title: THE OLD MOTHER TONGUE: A SECOND LOOK)
by Kate Gladstone

(tune: "The Irish Rover," traditional, Irish
inspiration: "Look What They've Done to the Old Mother Tongue," an
English-purist song by Eric Bogle at youtube.com/watch?v=SOdHNGG9yWU )

People say the English tongue
Is coming quite unsprung,
When words get new meanings, lose the ones they had.
Check the Oxford Dictionary,
And you'll find this isn't scary,
Degenerate, or new, or even bad.

In the days of Chaucer, once
You called your friend a DUNCE,
And meant he was a high-class intellectual:
But if you called somebody NICE,
What you meant, to be precise,
Was to label him as dim and ineffectual.

CHORUS: They lament what we've done
To the old mother tongue,
Howling "crime" and claiming multitudes misuse it ...
If they'd practice what they preach,
They'd speak eight-hundred-year-old speech ...
If they won't, they shouldn't say that we abuse it.

If you call word-changes bad,
Then you may feel very SAD --
Which eight hundred years ago meant down-to-earth ...
If all usage must be old,
Then STARVE is "die of cold,"
And AMUSED is "stunned," instead of "touched by mirth".

NAUGHTY now means nothing much --
An infant's prank or such --
But long ago in Chaucer's day medieval,
Or even Shakespeare's time,
It meant "hostile", "prone to crime",
"Worthless" (morally, or otherwise), and "evil."

CHORUS:

If you call a girl a HUSSY,
And she gets all mean and fussy,
Say you haven't cast aspersions on her life,
Tell her that your speech is pure,
And she therefore should be sure
That you meant -- like men of old -- she's a "housewife."

Find an English-usage smarty
And invite him to a party.
Offer POISON. He will think you've lost your mind.
You should whine and act offended
That your friendship now is ended,
Like its former meaning: "drink of any kind."

CHORUS:

He'll call your behavior AWFUL.
As a compliment, it's lawful
To accept this, for as such it has no flaw --
If words mustn't ever change
To new meanings, it's not strange
That he kindly found his host "inspiring awe."

If you call me SILLY, I'll
Just bow my head and smile --
For this once meant "holy," also "full of joy" --
So this word you surely may
Use of anyone today
Whose devotion to old meanings might annoy.

CHORUS:

[L'Envoi:]
I hope you liked this song,
And you didn't find it long --
Call it PRETTY and I'll know just how you feel:
If changed meanings are obscene,
"Crafty's" what that word must mean,
And the meaning of "attractive" can't be real!

CHORUS:

Kate Gladstone

unread,
Jul 4, 2008, 11:43:02 PM7/4/08
to Harold Stein, k...@u.washington.edu
Version 2, after some quick commenting by early readers:


HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH USAGE PURIST
(alternate title: THE OLD MOTHER TONGUE: A SECOND LOOK)
by Kate Gladstone

(tune: "The Irish Rover," traditional, Irish

inspiration: "Look What They've Done to the Old Mother Tongue" by Eric
Bogle)

CHORUS:

Like the former meaning: "drink of any kind."

CHORUS:

He'll call your behavior AWFUL.
As a compliment, it's lawful
To accept this, for as such it has no flaw --
If words mustn't ever change
To new meanings, it's not strange
That he kindly found his host "inspiring awe."

If you call me SILLY, I'll
Just bow my head and smile --
For this once meant "holy," also "full of joy" --
So this word you surely may
Use of anyone today
Whose devotion to old meanings might annoy.

CHORUS:

[L'envoi:]


I hope you liked this song,
And you didn't find it long --
Call it PRETTY and I'll know just how you feel:
If changed meanings are obscene,

"Crafty's" all that word may mean,


And the meaning of "attractive" can't be real!

CHORUS:


Kate Gladstone - learn.to/handwrite

Kay Shapero

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Jul 5, 2008, 4:41:54 AM7/5/08
to
In article <206aef12-d796-492b-92f9-18776753bd8e@
26g2000hsk.googlegroups.com>, handwrit...@gmail.com says...

> Version 2, after some quick commenting by early readers:
>
>
> HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH USAGE PURIST
> (alternate title: THE OLD MOTHER TONGUE: A SECOND LOOK)
> by Kate Gladstone
>

I don't know the tune, but the lyrics are a hoot! Thanks for posting
that.
--
Kay Shapero
Signature munged - to email me use kay at domain of my website, below.
http://www.kayshapero.net
Filk FAQ at http://www.kayshapero.net/filkfaq.htm

Message has been deleted

Kate Gladstone

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Jul 5, 2008, 10:49:45 AM7/5/08
to
Re:

> > HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH USAGE PURIST
> > (alternate title: THE OLD MOTHER TONGUE: A SECOND LOOK)
> > by Kate Gladstone
>
> I don't know the tune, but the lyrics are a hoot! Thanks for posting
> that.

For the tune, Google:
"irish rover" mp3
or go to the following links to hearthe Eric Bogle source-song that
mine rebuts,
which uses the same tune:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOdHNGG9yWU
(hear and see Eric Bogle and his band performing his original in a
pub)

or get a WAV version (sentimentally sung by a woman) from the link on
the song's lyrics-page at
http://www.tallrite.com/LightRelief/englishabuse.htm


Kate Gladstone - learn.to/handwrite

Kate Gladstone

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Jul 5, 2008, 10:54:09 AM7/5/08
to
My jab against the purists also now appears on the Saturday, July 5
page of the popular linguistics-blog run by Dr. David Crystal (Early
Modern English consultant to London's rebuilt Globe Theater) at
http://david-crystal.blogspot.com


Kate Gladstone - learn.to/handwrite

Barney Evans

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Jul 5, 2008, 11:39:17 AM7/5/08
to
Kate Gladstone wrote:
> Re:
>
>>> HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH USAGE PURIST
>>> (alternate title: THE OLD MOTHER TONGUE: A SECOND LOOK)
>>> by Kate Gladstone
>> I don't know the tune, but the lyrics are a hoot! Thanks for posting
>> that.
>
> For the tune, Google:
> "irish rover" mp3
> or go to the following links to hearthe Eric Bogle source-song that
> mine rebuts,
> which uses the same tune:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOdHNGG9yWU
> (hear and see Eric Bogle and his band performing his original in a
> pub)

The video is just the title on a screen with the CD version of the song
playing. The Song is called Silly Slang Song.

>
> or get a WAV version (sentimentally sung by a woman) from the link on
> the song's lyrics-page at
> http://www.tallrite.com/LightRelief/englishabuse.htm

This person does not give credit to Eric Bogle.

Barney


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Dan Goodman

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Jul 5, 2008, 11:43:19 AM7/5/08
to
Gary McGath wrote:

> In article
> <206aef12-d796-492b...@26g2000hsk.googlegroups.com>,


> Kate Gladstone <handwrit...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Version 2, after some quick commenting by early readers:
> >
> >
> > HAIL TO THEE, O ENGLISH USAGE PURIST
> > (alternate title: THE OLD MOTHER TONGUE: A SECOND LOOK)
> > by Kate Gladstone
>

> > Find an English-usage smarty
> > And invite him to a party.
> > Offer POISON. He will think you've lost your mind.
> > You should whine and act offended
> > That your friendship now is ended,
> > Like the former meaning: "drink of any kind."
>

> That's interesting. The German word for poison is "Gift," through a
> similar narrowing. (Poison is something the victim has been given.)
> And the earlier usage of "poison" seems to survive in the expression
> "Choose your poison," though that may just be an ironic usage that
> happens to resemble the earlier one (which I suppose is related to
> the French "boisson.")

I believe "Name your poison" is indeed ironic rather than a survival.

--
Dan Goodman
"I have always depended on the kindness of stranglers."
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Expire
Journal http://dsgood.livejournal.com
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Kate Gladstone

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Jul 5, 2008, 3:02:56 PM7/5/08
to
Re:

> >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOdHNGG9yWU
> > (hear and see Eric Bogle and his band performing his original in a
> > pub)
>
> The video is just the title on a screen with the CD version of the song
> playing. The Song is called Silly Slang Song.

Sorry -- I mistakenly copied the wrong link. I will have to go back
and find the one which I intended to copy from YouTube, which *does*
show Eric Bogle and his group in a pub singing this, with comments
that include at least one giving him the credit.

When I find it again, I will post it here.


Kate Gladstone - learn.to/handwrite

Kate Gladstone

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Jul 5, 2008, 3:04:33 PM7/5/08
to
The video I meant to refer to (pub group singing Eric Bogle song "The
Old Mother Tongue") --

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT4gGfTVbxs


Kate Gladstone - learn.to/handwrite

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