Ballad of a Young Spacer Cut Down in His Prime

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Ballad of a Young Spacer Cut Down in His Prime

Post by Specialist290 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:00 am

Didn't exactly know where to post this, so I figured I'd put it in "Fiction," since it would seem to fit here better than most.

I've been on a classic folk music kick for a bit, which gave me a little inspiration. The tune I wrote this to is an old one and a good one. There's been about a thousand different sets of lyrics written for it, most of them about the same basic subject matter and using much of the same imagery, and I suppose this makes it a thousand and one.

Hope everyone enjoys it.
"A Young Spacer Cut Down in His Prime"

To the tune of: “The Streets of Laredo,” or “The Unfortunate Rake,” or “The Bard of Armagh,” or what have you

As I passed along through the halls of the station,
As I passed along to my ship in the bay,
I spied a young spacer alone in the shadows,
Pale, bruised and battered, and wasting away.

I stepped to him quickly and asked him what ailed him,
Why were his hands battered, and his face ghastly white?
“My body is broken and my days here are ending
On account of a woman, my own heart's delight.

“I once was a pilot who roved on the spacelanes.
I carried my cargoes to ports near and far.
I've fought against Thargoids and pirate marauders.
My home is my vessel, my neighbors the stars.

“My face was well-known within this station's space bar;
My time and my money I whiled away there.
I filled it with fighting and gambling and drinking
And courting a woman with flaxen blonde hair.

“Oh, had I but known then how she had deceived me –!
For she was engaged as another man's bride –
I'd swiftly have fled from her charms to my cabin
And never have taken this wound in my side.

“Get six brother spacers to carry my coffin
And six fair young maidens to sing me a song,
And have them each carry a handful of flowers
To sweeten the air as they carry me on.

“But bury me not in the planet's cold bosom;
My soul won't find rest under six feet of clay.
Take me out past the spacelane and release me in vacuum.
Let the Witch have her death-due, and pass on your way.

“Now fetch me some water, a cup of cold water
To cool my parched lips,” the spacer then said.
I rose up to fetch him his cup of cold comfort,
But when I returned there – the young man was dead.

We bore up his coffin to the hold of my vessel
And played him a death-march as he drifted in space,
And I whispered a prayer as I made my departure
That his soul might forget his unfaithful love's face.

So let's play the tune slowly and sing his song lowly
And honor his memory once more at this time.
Buy a round for the house, and we'll give him a toast:
– Here's to the young spacer cut down in his prime!

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Re: Ballad of a Young Spacer Cut Down in His Prime

Post by Disembodied » Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:38 am

I like that! I always liked "The Streets of Laredo". But what I particularly like about your version here is how it makes being a starship pilot seem both normal and human. The backdrop might seem exotic and fantastic to us, but being a spacer is just another job, and the same old human (and non-human, too, most likely) stories just keep getting played out.

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Re: Ballad of a Young Spacer Cut Down in His Prime

Post by Specialist290 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:36 am

Thanks. That air of "novel-yet-uncannily-familiar" is part of what I was aiming for :D I also figured that a song with this storied a history itself wasn't likely to die easily, and they'd probably still be singing it in one form or another*, especially somewhere as rough-and-tumble as the Ooniverse.

* Knowing how these old folk songs tend to go, probably several different forms.

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