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Man in the Moon

[ Roud 21397 ; Full English AW/5/112 ; Wiltshire Roud 21397 ; trad.]

Man in the Moon was collected by Alfred Williams, but I have no information when and from whom he collected it. It can be found in the Alfred Williams Manuscript Collection No. Mi. 626.

Fay Hield and Nancy Kerr sang an abridged version of Man in the Moon in 2013 on the Full English's eponymous Topic album, The Full English, to a version of the tune that Scan Tester played on his Topic anthology, I Never Played to Many Posh Dances.

This video shows the Full English at Cecil Sharp House on October 31, 2013:

Lyrics

Man in the Moon in the Alfred Williams MSS The Full English sing Man in the Moon

When a bumper is filled, it is vexing, no doubt,
To find when you rise that the wine has run out;
And sure 'tis an equally unpleasant thing,
To be asked for a song when you've nothing to sing.
I could try something old, if an old one would do,
But the world it is craving to have something new,
What to select for the words or the tune,
I, in fact, know no more than the Man in the Moon.
The Man in the Moon a new light on us throws;
He's a man we all talk of but nobody knows;
And though a high subject, I'm getting in tune—
I'll just have a turn at the Man in the Moon.

When a bumper is filled, it is vexing, no doubt,
To find when you rise that the wine has run out;
And sure it's an equally unpleasant thing
To be asked for a song when you've naught left to sing.
I could sing something old, if an old one would do,
But the world it is craving to have something new.
But what to select for the words or the tune?
I, in fact, know no more than the Man in the Moon.

Chorus (after each verse):
The Man in the Moon a new light on us throws,
He's a man we all talk of but nobody knows.
And though a high subject, I'm getting in tune,
I'll just sing a song for the Man in the Moon.

The Man in the Moon must lead a queer life,
With no-one around him, not even a wife,
No friends to console him, no children to kiss,
No chance of his joining a party like this.
He changes his house each quarter unpleasant,
Living first in a circle and then in a crescent;
If he rents by these quarters so fast going by,
I should think he is rented uncommonly high;
But he's used to high life, for all circles agree,
That none move in such a high circle as he,
And though nobles go up in their royal balloon,
They can't get introduced to the Man in the Moon.

'Tis said that some people are moonstruck, we find,
And the Man in the Moon may be out of his mind,
But it can't be for love, for he's quite on his own—
No girls there to meet him by moonlight alone;
It can't be ambition, for rivals he's none—
At least he is only eclipsed by the sun,
And though in his prospects overclouded he sees,
The Man in the Moon can make light of all these.
In drinking, I fear, he may sometimes surpass,
For he always looks best when seen through a glass;
And in smoking, though you may smoke morning and noon,
You can't blow a cloud like the Man in the Moon!

'Tis said that some people are moonstruck, we find,
But the Man in the Moon must be out of his mind.
But it can't be for love for he's quite on his own,
No ladies to meet him by moonlight alone.
It can't be ambition, for rivals he's none,
At least he is only eclipsed by the sun,
But when drinking, I say, he is seldom surpassed,
For he always looks best when he's seen through a glass.

The Man in the Moon he must lead a queer life,
With no one around him, not even a wife,
No friends to console him, no children to kiss,
No chance of his joining a party like this.
But he's used to high life, for each all circles agree,
That none move in such a high circle as he,
And though nobles go up in their royal balloon,
They're not introduced to the Man in the Moon.

He's a mighty sad rake, he don't rise till it's dark,
When the night it sets in he sets out for a lark;
Goes roaming about and sings with the spheres,
“We won't go home till morning, till daylight appears.”
He looks in at the stars that go shooting up there,
Lets loose the Dog Star to bait the Great Bear;
At the Milky Way calls for a minute or two,
Has some milk but don't pay, 'cos he swears 'tis sky blue;
But daylight soon takes the shine out of him quite,
He goes home and gets into bed by sunlight,
And though you may think him a regular spoon,
You'd be plagued to get over the Man in the Moon.

Acknowledgements and Links

I copied the original lyrics from the VWML Full English text linked at the top.

See also the Mudcat Café thread Man in the Moon - old song?.