A Shropshire Lad XLVII (The Carpenter’s Son) – demo

Words by A.E. Housman, set to a tune by David Harley. All rights reserved. 

NB later/better recordings can be found here.

Demo version of my setting of Housman’s poem (A Shropshire Lad XLVII) with sketches for a guitar part. I’m much more comfortable with the guitar arrangement than with the previous versions, having been playing it for a while, so I was able to do the vocal and most of the guitar in one take this time. (Previously, I recorded the vocal first and added a guitar part afterwards, and the sync was slightly off in places.) I’m still thinking about how to handle the extended guitar solo at the end, but I like the dance-y final section. Mind you, I can’t think what dance you’d put to it…

There’s an instrumental version with guitar, dulcimer and bouzouki on Soundcloud here.

The poem itself is reproduced below from Martin Hardcastle’s page here.

`Here the hangman stops his cart:
Now the best of friends must part.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.

`Oh, at home had I but stayed
‘Prenticed to my father’s trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads.

`Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I left but ill alone.

`Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So ’tis come from ill to worse.

`Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same’s the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love.

`Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone.

`Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.’

David Harley

About David Harley

Musician/singer/songwriter; independent author/editor
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