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Auden, WH - Tell me the Truth about Love Print E-mail

Auden, WH (who was he)?

Tell me the Truth about Love

Some say that love's a little boy,

And some say it's a bird,

Some say it makes the world go round,

And some say that's absurd,

And when I asked the man next-door,

Who looked as if he knew,

His wife got very cross indeed,

And said it wouldn't do.

 

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,

Or the ham in a temperance hotel?

Does its odour remind one of llamas,

Or has it a comforting smell?

Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,

Or soft as eiderdown fluff?

Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

Our history books refer to it

In cryptic little notes,

It's quite a common topic on

The Transatlantic boats;

I've found the subject mentioned in

Accounts of suicides,

And even seen it scribbled on

The backs of railway-guides.

 

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,

Or boom like a military band?

Could one give a first-rate imitation

On a saw or a Steinway Grand?

Is its singing at parties a riot?

Does it only like Classical stuff?

Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

I looked inside the summer-house;

It wasn't ever there:

I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,

And Brighton's bracing air.

I don't know what the blackbird sang,

Or what the tulip said;

But it wasn't in the chicken-run,

Or underneath the bed.

 

Can it pull extraordinary faces?

Is it usually sick on a swing?

Does it spend all its time at the races,

Or fiddling with pieces of string?

Has it views of its own about money?

Does it think Patriotism enough?

Are its stories vulgar but funny?

O tell me the truth about love.

 

When it comes, will it come without warning

Just as I'm picking my nose?

Will it knock on my door in the morning,

Or tread in the bus on my toes?

Will it come like a change in the weather?

Will its greeting be courteous or rough?

Will it alter my life altogether?

O tell me the truth about love.

 
Anon - My Mother Said Print E-mail

Anonymous

My Mother Said

My mother said that I never should

Play with the gypsies in the wood;

The wood was dark, the grass was green,

In came Sally with her tambourine.

 

I went to the sea—no ship to get across;

I paid ten shillings for a blind white horse;

I up on his back and was off in a crack,

Sally tell my mother I shall never come back.

 
Anon - I don't want to be a soldier Print E-mail

Anonymous

I don't want to be a soldier

I don't want to be a soldier,

I don't want to go to war.

I'd sooner hang around

Piccadilly underground,

Living on the earnings of a high-born lady.

 

Don't want a bullet up me arsehole,

Don't want me bollocks shot away.

I'd rather live in England,

In merry, merry England,

And fornicate me fucking life away.

 


Often sung at Rugby venues

 
Anon - How Many Miles to Babylon? Print E-mail

Anonymous

How Many Miles to Babylon?

How many miles to Babylon?

Three score miles and ten.

Can I get there by candle-light?

Yes, and back again.

If your heels are nimble and light,

You may get there by candle-light.

 
Anon - I Saw a Peacock Print E-mail

Anonymous

I Saw a Peacock

I saw a peacock with a fiery tail

I saw a blazing comet drop down hail

I saw a cloud with ivy circled round

I saw a sturdy oak creep on the ground

I saw a pismire swallow up a whale

I saw the raging sea brim full of ale

I saw a Venice glass sixteen foot deep

I saw a well full of men's tears that weep

I saw their eyes all in a flame of fire

I saw a house as big as the moon and higher

I saw the sun even in the midst of night

I saw the man that saw this wondrous sight

 
Anon - Edward, Edward Print E-mail

Anonymous

Edward, Edward

‘Why does your sword so drip with blood,

Edward, Edward?

Why does your sword so drip with blood,

And why so sad are ye, O?’

 

‘O I have killed my hawk so good,

Mother, mother,

O I have killed my hawk so good

And I have no more but he, O.’

 

‘Your hawk’s blood was never so red,

Edward, Edward,

Your hawk’s blood was never so red,

My dear son, I tell thee O.’ 

 

I have killed my red-roan steed,

Mother, mother,

O I have killed my red-roan steed,

That was so fair and free, O.’

 

‘Your steed was old and your stable’s filled,

Edward, Edward,

Your steed was old and your stable’s filled,

Now say what may it be, O.’

 

‘It was my father that I killed,

Mother, mother,

It was my father that I killed,

Alas, and woe is me, O.’

 

‘What penance will ye do for that,

Edward, Edward?

What penance will ye do for that,

My dear son, now tell me, O?’

 

‘I’ll set my feet in yonder boat,

Mother, mother,

I’ll set my feet in yonder boat,

And I’ll fare over the sea, O.’

 

‘What will ye do with your towers and hall,

Edward, Edward?

What will ye do with your towers and hall,

That are so fair to see, O?’

 

‘I’ll let them stand till down they fell,

Mother, mother,

I’ll let them stand till down they fall,

For here nevermore may I be, O.’

 

‘What will ye leave to your babes and your wife,

Edward, Edward?

What will ye leave to your babes and your wife,

When ye go over the sea, O.’

 

‘The world’s room - let them beg through life,

Mother, mother,

The world’s room - let them beg through life.

For them nevermore will I see, O.’

 

‘And what will ye leave to your own mother dear,

Edward, Edward?       

And what will ye leave to your own mother dear,

My dear son, now tell me, O.’

 

‘The curse of Hell from me shall ye bear,

Mother, mother,

The curse of Hell from me shall ye bear:

Such counsel ye gave to me, O!’

 
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