Earsdon Sword-Dancer's Song, The
DESCRIPTION: "Good people, give ear to my story, I've called in to see you by chance; Five lads I have brought blythe and merry." The company welcomes in the new year. The gentlemen are introduced: The sons of Nelson, Elliot, etc. They prepare for the sword dance
EARLIEST DATE: 1900 (Stokoe/Reay)
KEYWORDS: dancing nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Stokoe/Reay, pp. 154-155, "The Earsdon Sword-Dancer's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: [Cuthbert Sharp], _The Bishopric Garland, A Collection of Legends, Songs, Ballads, &c Belonging to the County of Durham_, 1834 (references are to the 1969 reprint), p. 58, "(Sword Dancers)" (1 text, which appears more like this than any other sword dancing song but might be independet; 1 tune on p. 85)
ST StoR154 (Partial)
cf. "Wharfdale Sword Dance Song" (theme)
cf. "Ripon Sword-Dance" (theme)
NOTES: There are a number of songs of this type, which Roud generally lumps under his #610. But they are at the very least different recensions of the same source.
The first character mentioned in this song, Elliot, is George Augustus Elliot, Lord Heathfield (1717-1790), who was governor of Gibraltar from 1776 until his death; from 1779-1783, he defended The Rock during the so-called "Great Siege."
Adam Duncan (1731-1804) was the British admiral at the Battle of Camperdown (1797). The British fleet was still feeling the after-effects of the Spithead and Nore mutinies (for which see "Poor Parker"), and was desperately trying to hold back the Dutch fleet which hoped to support a French invasion of England.
Dutch commander Johann William de Winter (1750-1812) knew his fleet was weak (of the eleven ships lost by the Dutch, the British declined to take any into their navy), but he did at one point try to break out; the British managed to concentrate against him and win a bloody strategic victory, forcing the remnant of the Dutch fleet back into the Texel harbors.
If you've read this far, you doubtless know who Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was, so I won't delay you with his story.
So too for Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), victor at Waterloo and designer of the Lines of Torres Vedras, the defensive positions guarding Portugal from French attack.
The final character mentioned is "the son of the Great Buonaparte" (the original Corsican spelling of Napoleon's surname). Napoleon (1769-1821) had only one legitimate son, the Duke of Reichstadt (1811-1832), though there were illegitimate offspring. Not in England, of course. - RBW
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