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Lyr/Tune Req: Song of the Shirt

Chris Sheffield 11 Jan 97 - 07:26 AM
Greg Golgart 11 Jan 97 - 11:52 PM
wfoster@unanov.una.edu [Bill Foster] 15 Jan 97 - 08:25 AM
ggolgar@cello.gina.calstate.edu 16 Jan 97 - 07:24 PM
Chris Sheffield (101717.3400@compuserve.com) 18 Jan 97 - 06:16 AM
Joe Offer 21 Nov 02 - 01:06 PM
John MacKenzie 21 Nov 02 - 04:54 PM
nutty 21 Nov 02 - 05:44 PM
Bat Goddess 21 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM
GUEST 21 Nov 02 - 11:32 PM
Joe Offer 22 Nov 02 - 12:59 AM
georgeward 22 Nov 02 - 02:42 AM
nutty 22 Nov 02 - 05:08 AM
Steve Parkes 22 Nov 02 - 10:16 AM
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Subject: Song of the Shirt
From: Chris Sheffield
Date: 11 Jan 97 - 07:26 AM

A friend asked me to try to find the words and/or music to a mid 19th Century song about needlewomen called "The Song of the Shirt". Can anyone help?


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: Greg Golgart
Date: 11 Jan 97 - 11:52 PM

First line corous begins -

"Stitch, stitch, stitch, through poverty, hunger and dirt."

I have the lyrics but need to locate them.


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: wfoster@unanov.una.edu [Bill Foster]
Date: 15 Jan 97 - 08:25 AM

"Song of the Shirt" is an 1843 protest poem written by Thomas Hood. It is one of Hood's best-known pieces, and can most likely be found in any collection of Victorian Poetry. Sorry, but I don't know anything about the tune.


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: ggolgar@cello.gina.calstate.edu
Date: 16 Jan 97 - 07:24 PM

I first saw "Song of the Shirt" in an illustrated pamphlet published before the turn of the century by "Singer Sewing Machine Company." Thomas Hood (1799-1845) also wrote, "Christmas Eve at the Workhouse" a parody of which has appeared in this listing within the last thirty days. Some of the collections that the listings for Victorian Poetry that it is available in include: "Everyman's Book of Victorian Verse," "English Romantic Poetry and Prose," "Oxford Book of Victorian Verse," "Parlor Poetry," and "Home Book of Verse."


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: Chris Sheffield (101717.3400@compuserve.com)
Date: 18 Jan 97 - 06:16 AM

Many thanks and have now located it - sorry to be so ignorant. The Singer Sewing machine aspect is an interesting twist and one wonders what Hood would have thought.


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Subject: ADD: Song of the Shirt (Thomas Hood)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 01:06 PM

I suppose the most reliable text of this is the one at Representative Poetry Online, but that text doesn't copy-paste well. I found this one here (click)
-Joe Offer-

SONG OF THE SHIRT (Thomas Hood 1799-1845)

1. With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat, in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch
She sang the "Song of the Shirt."

"Work! work! work!
While the cock is crowing aloof!
And work—work—work,
Till the stars shine through the roof!
It's Oh! to be a slave
Along with the barbarous Turk,
Where woman has never a soul to save,
If this is Christian work!

"Work—work—work
Till the brain begins to swim;
Work—work—work
Till the eyes are heavy and dim!
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Till over the buttons I fall asleep,
And sew them on in a dream!

"Oh, Men, with Sisters dear!
Oh, men, with Mothers and Wives!
It is not linen you're wearing out,
But human creatures' lives!
Stitch—stitch—stitch,
In poverty, hunger and dirt,
Sewing at once, with a double thread,
A Shroud as well as a Shirt.

"But why do I talk of Death?
That Phantom of grisly bone,
I hardly fear its terrible shape,
It seems so like my own—
It seems so like my own,
Because of the fasts I keep;
Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!

6. "Work—work—work!
My labour never flags;
And what are its wages? A bed of straw,
A crust of bread—and rags.
That shatter'd roof—and this naked floor—
A table—a broken chair—
And a wall so blank, my shadow I thank
For sometimes falling there!

"Work—work—work!
From weary chime to chime,
Work—work—work—
As prisoners work for crime!
Band, and gusset, and seam,
Seam, and gusset, and band,
Till the heart is sick, and the brain benumb'd.
As well as the weary hand.

"Work—work—work,
In the dull December light,
And work—work—work,
When the weather is warm and bright—
While underneath the eaves
The brooding swallows cling
As if to show me their sunny backs
And twit me with the spring.

"Oh! but to breathe the breath
Of the cowslip and primrose sweet—
With the sky above my head,
And the grass beneath my feet,
For only one short hour
To feel as I used to feel,
Before I knew the woes of want
And the walk that costs a meal!

"Oh! but for one short hour!
A respite however brief!
No blessed leisure for Love or Hope,
But only time for Grief!
A little weeping would ease my heart,
But in their briny bed
My tears must stop, for every drop
Hinders needle and thread!"

With fingers weary and worn,
With eyelids heavy and red,
A woman sat in unwomanly rags,
Plying her needle and thread—
Stitch! stitch! stitch!
In poverty, hunger, and dirt,
And still with a voice of dolorous pitch,—
Would that its tone could reach the Rich!—
She sang this "Song of the Shirt!"


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 04:54 PM

Thank you for reminding me of one of the most moving poems I ever heard.
Lovely stuff.....Giok


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: nutty
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 05:44 PM

The sheet music is here on the Levy site. Published in 1847

Song of the shirt


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Subject: RE: Song of the Shirt
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 06:51 PM

Whew!

Anyone got a midi or ra?


Linn (who really wants to add this to her repertoire!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Song of the Shirt
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 11:32 PM

READ the SHEET MUSIC that is posted!

You ARE a MUSICIAN aren't you?

This place Really gathers some twits.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Song of the Shirt
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 12:59 AM

Hey, Gargoyle, these are FOLK musicians. You expect them to read music?
I guess I'd say I can read music, but I can't sound a tune out in my head by just looking at it. So yeah, I think it's good that we transcribe tunes to MIDI. If somebody wants to send me a MIDI, I'd be grateful.
-Joe Offer (click to e-mail)-


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Song of the Shirt
From: georgeward
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 02:42 AM

Wow! Never realized the Hutchinsons had set this. Never thought to look in Levy either (duh!). I set this thing to another tune because it was printed in an Anti-Rent newspaper up here in Albany, NY, and I had to give it a go. But it is going to be a helluva lot of fun trying to imagine the Hutchinsons (who toured through here) doing it.! Thank from me, too, Nutty!

One perfomance thought: the whole poem is an awfully heavy dose. I've been presumptuous and historically inaccurate enough to edit it down a bit.I often dislike it when others do that to historical stuff. Usually try not to do it myself. But there is overkill built into this piece. Unless you're awfully adroit, it can destroy the impact. IMHO

                                        -George


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Song of the Shirt
From: nutty
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 05:08 AM

The Bodleian Library has this interesting Parody ....

Song of a Sot


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: Song of the Shirt
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 22 Nov 02 - 10:16 AM

Tut-tut! George R Sims wrote "In The Workhouse, Christmas Day" (to give it its correct title)! And any amount of other stuff: protest, romantic, humorous ... most of it sentimental twaddle by today's standards, but good workamn-like stuff, with a strong moral.

Steve


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