The Folk Show Treasure Hunt Song #10

Track 10 "Might is In The Mind"

Monday 24th August from 7pm

 A World of Difference with Roger Williams / Trent Sound

Online live link:

The Team:

Ange Hardy (vocals)
Patsy Reid (viola)
David Milton (poetry reading)

The Song:

Coleridge was a celebrity of his time and I found the anecdote that formed this song in a book entitled “Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge”. This was one of those fragments of his dinner table conversation; something that I imagine had his audience enraptured.

Coleridge credits his hearing of this story to the American painter Washington Allston (who painted the portrait of George on page 19). 

The Lyrics:

It is a sombre story, one to you I now bequeath,
of phantom visions, apparitions, and all that lies beneath.

How few now told before me will a victim of you find.
Oh hear my tale and listen well for might is in the mind!

A man in university at only twenty-two
would not believe in ghostly fiends, would not be found a fool.
But he who tempts the trickster will face a fate unkind.
Oh hear my tale, listen well, for might is in the mind.

One night our young strong headed man was sleeping in his bed
When a friend did come and took his gun, removed from it the lead.
He stood all dressed in white and cried a ghostly chime.
Oh hear my tale, listen well, for might is in the mind!

The man awoke from slumber, took up his bedside gun
“So false you are you’ve gone to far, back down my friend be gone!”
But neither would surrender, both to their fates were blind.
Oh hear my tale, listen well , for might is in the mind.

He tried to scare the trickster but movement there was none
and at long last when patience passed he shot him with his gun!
The trickster stood in silence, and neither bled nor died
oh hear my tale, listen well, for might is in the mind

Our young man he did tear his hair, his teeth did gnash and grind
fell to the floor, convulsed in awe, was rendered mute and blind
Believed the apparition and fell to his demise
oh hear my tale, listen well for might is in the mind 

Notes From Coleridge:

It was, I think, in the university of Cambridge, near Boston, that a certain youth took it into his wise head to endeavour to convert a Tom-Painish companion of his by appearing as a ghost before him. but you see I am not frightened. Now you may vanish!” He accordingly dressed himself up in the usual way, having previously extracted the ball from the pistol which always lay near the head of his friend’s bed. The ghost stood still. “Come,” said A., “that is enough. I shall get angry. Away!” Still the ghost moved not. “By ——,” ejaculated A., “if you do not in three minutes go away, I’ll shoot you.”

Upon first awaking, and seeing the apparition, the youth who was to be frightened, A., very coolly looked his companion the ghost in the face, and said, “I know you. This is a good joke; He waited the time, deliberately levelled the pistol, fired, and, with a scream at the immobility of the figure, became convulsed, and afterwards died. The very instant he believed it to be a ghost, his human nature fell before it.

- Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

Posted by Ange Hardy on August 20th 2015

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