Eurovision: 12 points from the 1880s

Well, another Eurovision Song Contest has been and gone, with poor old Molly finishing in 17th place.

We’re as disappointed as you are by this, so we thought we’d have a rummage and see if any of our holdings might have the answer to our musical woes for next year.

As luck would have it, we struck potential Eurovision gold pretty quickly with this hand written ditty from one of our collections at our Wakefield office.

The item is an exercise book from c. 1889 (C1126/2); and it’s filled with charming songs of the day, from ‘Take you home again’, to ‘Tom Bowling’, ‘I saved it for the lodger’ and of course, the ever popular ‘Off to Philadelphia’.

That's English!

That’s English! And that’s 12 points all round! C1126/2, WYAS Wakefield

However, it was the song below that really got our attention, as it seems to feature the Eurovision standards of pride in your nation and – with a cheeky verse about how nice Ireland is – a guaranteed 12 points from another of the voting nations.

All it needs is a verse about Scotland and Wales, but we’re sure there’s a musical boffin out there who can add that in. The original spellings and some of the content will need a bit of a modification for the sensibilities of a modern audience, but we feel pretty sure we’ve got next year’s contest in Austria sewn-up already.

That’s English! (1889)

In feasting and jollity some men delight
That’s English you know, quiet English you know
While some prefer dancing, a race or a fight
That’s English you know, quiet English you know
To romp with the lasses in meadows of hay
At billiards or cricket or football to play
To follow the hounds tally ho, hark away
That’s English, quite English you know

The things that we see and the things that we hold dear
That’s English you know, quiet English you know
Roast beef and plum pudding, a glass of good beer
That’s English you know, quiet English you know

The are good hearted boys in the little green Isle
That’s Irish you know, quiet Irish you know
They’ve always a welcome a joke or a smile
That’s Irish, quiet Irish you know
With the fairest of daughters, Ireland is blest
And brave are the sons of this nation distressed
That’s Irish, quiet Irish you know

So, what do you think? Have we got Eurovision 2015 in the bag? Or is it another ‘nul points’ all round?


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