Nong Tong Paw

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NONG TONG PAW. AKA - "Nong Tong Pan." English, Air, Country Dance Tune and Jig (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Mounseer Nong tong paw" is the name of a comic song written by composer and performer Charles Dibdin (1745–1814) for his musical comedy "The General Election" (in which he sang the song). He was one of the premier song composers for the English stage in the late 18th century, many of whose works were absorbed into traditional repertoire. Dibdin's original song mocks English and French stereotypes in five eight-line stanzas, particularly "John Bull's" inability to speak or understand French during a trip to Paris. The title is the protagonist's attempt to make sense of the French phrase "Monsieur, je vous n'entends pas" ("Monsieur, I don't understand you").

Charles Dibdin

The lyric begins:

John Bull, for pastime, took a prance,
Some time ago, to visit France,
To talk of Sciences and Arts,
And knowledge gain in foreign parts:
Monsieur obsequious heard him speak,
And answered him in heathen-Greek,
To all he ask'd—to all he saw—
'Twas "Monsieur, Je vous n'en tende pas!

John to the Palais Royal come,
Its splendour almost struck him dumb;
"I say, whose house is that, there, here?
Hosse! Je vous n'en tends pas, Monsieur:"
"What, Nong tong Paw, again!" cries John,
"This fellow is some mighty don,
No doubt he's plenty for the maw,
I'd breakfast with this Nong Tong Paw.

The melody was also entered into the c. 1797–1814 music copybooks of fiddler Ishmael Spicer, of Chatham, Conn., J. Jones (north Shropshire, 1801), William Clavert (Yorkshire, 1812), and R. Hughes (Whitchurch, Shropshire, 1823).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Preston (Preston's Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1800), 1800.

Recorded sources:




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