Saucy Kate

The Beggar's Opera

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I've bin readin' again- this time The Beggar's Opera by John Gay. Gay used traditional songs and ballads and put new words to 'em, to make this play. Essentially, this excellent piece of theatre upholds harlotry, theivery, and violence as the ideal existence. The characters all be cutpurses, highwaymen, prostitutes, pimps, and other fine folk. Some of the songs include such immortal lyrics as:

"Tis Woman that seduces all Mankind,

From her we first are taught the wheedling Arts

Her very Eyes can cheat when most she's kind

She tricks us of our Money with our Hearts.

For her like Wolves by Night we roam for Prey

Inducing any Frauds to bribe her Charms

For Suits of Love, like Law, are won by Pay

And Beauty must be fee'd into our Arms."

And one that may give a bit of an ego boost to a pirate at the gallows:

"If any Wench Venus' Girdle wear

Though she be never so ugly

Roses and Lillies will swiftly appear

And her Face look wondrous smugly.

About the left Ear, so fit but a Cord

The Rope so charming a Zone is

The Youth in his Cart hath the air of a Lord

And we cry 'There dies an Adonis.'"

With some minor modifications (pirate rather than highwayman), I've adopted these two as my raisons d'êtres:

"Let us take the Road!

Hark, I hear the sound of Coaches

The hour of Attack approaches

To your Arms, brave Boys, and load!

See the Ball I hold

Let the Chemists* toil like Asses

Our Fire their Fire surpasses

And turns all our Lead to Gold!" :huh:

And

[i]"Fill ev'ry Glass, for Wine inspires us

And fires us

With Courage, Love and Joy

Women and Wine should life employ

Is there ought else on earth desirous?

Fill ev'ry Glass for Wine inspires us . . .**"[/i] B)

(*chemists- Alchemists, who sought a magical fire to turn lead to gold. The highwaymen and pirates found a quicker way. :huh: )

(** repeat until you lose interest or pass out)

There are videotaped performances available- I found one with Roger Daltry as Macheath the highwayman. See it- it's funny, has a distinct moral lesson well-suited to we here, and the costumes are about in our time period, though a bit lubber-y. But the music is great, and lyrics easily rewritten to be dirtier and more pirate-y than before.

Saucy Kate

:ph34r:

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That's just beautiful.

*wipes tear away* um..oh...Arrr! Damn powder smoke!

That reminds me a lot of the 'Master of the House' number in Les Miserables. And Plunkett & Macleane. And a whole bunch of other stuff.

You say the whole play's like that? Tres Groovy.

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If you want a really messed up musical, try 'Sweeney Todd'. Though not really nautical, it definitely has all the love, death and phcotic madmen that would make even the most gentile pirate reminisce about wilder days.

Coastie :huh:

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If you want a really messed up musical, try 'Sweeney Todd'.  Though not really nautical, it definitely has all the love, death and phcotic madmen that would make even the most gentile pirate reminisce about wilder days.

Coastie :huh:

I used to have a T-shirt that advertised Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies. :huh:

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I used to have a T-shirt that advertised Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pies.

That sounds better than them Roadkill Cafe shirts.

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Cap'n Coyote- the whole show be like it, an' Macheath's songs on the way to the gallows are smashin'

Also- The stumpets have some lovely ditties and the old doxie-herder has a nice catch-

" When I was young I could bill like a Dove

Fa la la la . . .

Like a Sparrow, at all times was ready for Love

Fa la la la . . .

The Life of all Mortals in Kissing should pass

Fa la la la . . .

Lip to Lip when you're young then the Lip to the Glass!"

Sweeny Todd's got the same kind o' social commentary.

Any gentleman wish to join me in a quadrille?

"Youth's a season made for Joys, Love is the our Duty . . ."

Saucy Kate

:huh:

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Any gentleman wish to join me in a quadrille?

"Youth's a season made for Joys, Love is the our Duty . . ."

Is that one o' yer fancy lubber's beds?

Aye, I'm all in favor of the gathering o' th' rosebuds whilst ye may.

*notices stares at pirate quoting poetry*

What? I plundered a schoolhouse by accident once. 'twas th' rum.

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Is that one o' yer fancy lubber's beds?

Not exac'ly, but I like yer idea better! :huh:

Saucy Kate

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Gay wrote a sequel to "The Beggar's Opera" called "Polly." In it, Polly Peachum is transported to the West Indies and Macheath shows up as a pirate! You can download the text from, I think, Gutenberg, but it's a lot harder to find snippets and songs on YouTube. I'd pay to see a performance, though.

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