Henry's Songbook

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General Grant

  • (Michael Marra)

    U. S. Grant paid a visit to Dundee town
    They spruced it up with a lick of paint and showed him round
    Two bands played in fierce competition as the rain came down
    But all the General said was
    What a mighty long bridge to such a mighty little old town

    A man called Grant hung from a window with the Stars and Stripes
    The orphan boys sang Alouette, sweetness and light
    And as they sang, a firebell rang, so they ran for their lives
    What well-trained little orphans, what a precious little song
    Said the General's wife

    A carriage was called to the Magdalen Green before the darkness fell
    With a short stopover for the lady's convenience at the Royal Hotel
    The General smiled through the rest of the speeches, yes, he took it well
    What a lovely little bandstand, a pretty little steeple
    Such charming little houses, such cheerful little people
    But what a mighty long bridge to such a mighty little old town

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1982:] Die [neue] Tay Railway Bridge, eine der längsten der Welt mit ihren 3290 Metern, [wurde] eröffnet 1888. (Frank, Nach Schottland reisen 184)

  • [1986:] The [old] bridge had been hailed as a marvellous feat of engineering. At the time it was the longest bridge of its type in the world, and dignitaries from all over the world came to see it under construction. Among them were the emperor of Brazil, Prince Leopold of Belgium and General Ulysses Grant, ex-President of the United States. [...] That night in December 1879 the central girders of the bridge were blown down by ferocious winds which were sweeping all Scotland. [...]
    The 75 passengers on board the train all perished, and 29 bodies were never recovered. In an inquiry into the disaster, it was found that the design, construction and maintenance were all at fault and [designer Thomas] Bouch, who had also planned to bridge the Forth, was blamed for the incident. His health deteriorated and he died a few months later. (Gatherer 35)

  • [1992:] A friend of mine in Dundee, Michael Marra, got a birthday present of a genuine 1877 newspaper. Michael wrote a song about the front page of the newspaper which described how General U. S. Grant, the former American general and president, made a European tour when his term of presidency was finished.
    The last stop of the tour was Dundee, and he was a tired old man when he came - God knows why he went to Dundee. Dundee is on the river Tay, and a long long railway bridge crosses to Dundee from the other side. So the only quote from the General about Dundee was, "What a mighty long bridge for such a mighty little old town." (Intro Iain MacKintosh)

  • [1993:] Ulysses S. Grant's [...] none too flattering impressions of Dundee can be heard on Michael Marra's first album 'Gaels Blue'. (Rob Adams, Dirty Linen 46)

  • [1996:] Grant was undoubtedly a great general, but he was useless as a president. [Sadly the great general was usually too inebriated to put in an appearance.] His administration was dogged by scandal and he admitted himself that accepting the presidency was the greatest mistake he made in his life. In fact, apart from generalship, Grant was useless at just about everything he turned his hand to in life.
    Born Hiram Ulysses Grant in 1822, he hated the idea of his name being abbreviated to HUG, so he abandoned the Hiram and added his mother's maiden name 'Simpson', making him U.S. - or Unconditional Surrender - Grant. (Cawthorne, Sex Lives of the U.S. Presidents 110)

    See Swinfen, David, The Fall of the Tay Bridge

Quelle: Scotland

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aktualisiert am 08.02.2000