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Fine Arts Friday: Can’t stop laughing

A new month brings us new songs (and a new picture).

We’re still studying Copley. We’re looking at “The Death of the Earl of Chatham” which depicts the collapse of William Pitt the Elder during a debate in the House of Lords on the American Revolution. How weird must that have been for the American Copley to paint that particular scene. Click to see the larger image from Wikipedia, with what amounts to essentially 55 portraits. Copley’s skill was truly amazing.

Death of Lord Chatham

To clarify, I’m not laughing over the death of Lord Chatham or the beautiful painting by Copley. No, I’m laughing at our folk song, “On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at.”

At first glance, I wasn’t laughing at all. This is what I first saw:

Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee, ah saw thee?
Wheear ‘ast tha bin sin’ ah saw thee?

On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
On Ilkla Mooar baht ‘at
Tha’s been a cooartin’ Mary Jane
Tha’s bahn’ to catch thy deeath o` cowd
Then us’ll ha’ to bury thee
Then t’worms’ll come an` eyt thee up
Then t’ducks’ll come an` eyt up t’worms

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Then us’ll go an` eyt up t’ducks
Then us’ll all ha’ etten thee
That’s wheear we get us ooan back

It was a little confusing, but handy dandy Wikipedia tells me this is the “unofficial anthem” of Yorkshire.  The translation runs as follows.

Where have you been since I saw you, I saw you?

On Ilkley Moor without a hat

Where have you been since I saw you, I saw you?
Where have you been since I saw you?

On Ilkley Moor without a hat
On Ilkley Moor without a hat
On Ilkley Moor without a hat

You’ve been courting Mary Jane

You’re bound to catch your death of cold

Then we will have to bury you

Then the worms will come and eat you up

Then the ducks will come and eat up worms

Then we will go and eat up ducks

Then we will all have eaten you

That’s where we get our own back

 Got that? A young man goes courting a girl (Mary Jane) on Ilkey Moor without a hat, gets sick and dies. He’s buried, the worms eat him, the ducks eat the worms, the people eat the ducks, therefore the people have eaten the young man.


Then I started looking for a YouTube version so the kids can sing along, and now I can’t stop laughing.

Here’s the version we’ll sing with. Less sheep, but also less hysterical laughter. Yeah, not sure what the upside is. Oh yeah! It’s a lovely version that’s very singable and has the words on the screen. But no sheep.


We also have a new hymn “There Is a Happy Land.”  It’s really not funny at all.

And Haydn’s London Symphony No. 104, Movement 1. Equally unfunny.

3 responses to “Fine Arts Friday: Can’t stop laughing”

  1. Cindy Watson Avatar
    Cindy Watson

    All because he didn’t wear a hat….

  2. Cindy Watson Avatar
    Cindy Watson

    Maybe we should form a government committee to research this and pass a law that we all have to wear hats or pay a fine.

    1. April Avatar

      Don’t give them ideas!

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