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Lyr Add: Whore's Lament

GUEST 04 Dec 13 - 09:51 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Dec 13 - 01:06 PM
Abby Sale 07 Dec 13 - 08:36 AM
Abby Sale 07 Dec 13 - 09:04 AM
Lighter 14 Dec 13 - 11:55 AM
Lighter 14 Dec 13 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 14 Dec 13 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 14 Dec 13 - 12:20 PM
Reinhard 14 Dec 13 - 03:11 PM
Lighter 14 Dec 13 - 04:54 PM
Richard Mellish 14 Dec 13 - 05:47 PM
Snuffy 20 Dec 13 - 07:56 AM
Lighter 20 Dec 13 - 10:14 AM
Abby Sale 08 Jan 14 - 11:18 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 09:51 AM

THE WHORES LAMENT

As I walked down by King James's Hospital
King James'es hospital one morning in May
There I espied a handsome young Hooker
All wraped in white linen as cold as the clay

Come sit down beside me my own dear Sister
Come sit down and dont mind if I cry
For the bubo's are aching and my poor heart is breaking
And with sad meditations I am going to die.

Then beat the drums lowly and play the fife slowly
Play the dead march as I'm carried along
Take me to the church-yard and lay the sod oer me
For I am a young whore and know I've done rong.

Go send for the Minister for to pray ore me
Go send for the Doctor to heal up my wound
And send for the young man that first did seduce me
So I may see him before I go home

So cruel was the man that first did seduce me
That he did not tell me in time
That I might aplyed to the pills of white mercury
Now I am a young whore cut down in my prime.

Then beat the drums lowly and play the fife slowly
Play the dead march as I'm carried along
Take me to the church-yard and lay the sod oer me
For I am a young whore and know I've done rong.

Once on the street I drest in the fasion
Once on the street I dreast so gay
But it was first to the dance house and then to the ale house
And then to the Whore House and now to the clay

Let six jollie gamblers go cary my coffin
Let six flameing Whores go sing a song
And in their hands cary a bunch of wild roses
So that they cant smell me as they cary me along.

Then beat the drums lowly and play the fife slowly
Play the dead march as I'm carried along
Take me to the church-yard and lay the sod oer me
For I am a young whore and know I've done rong.
---

"The Whore's Lament" is another good example from the "The Unfortunate Rake" family.

From Robert W. Gordon's Inferno-"Adventure" Collection; #3920 –
No date or contributor info but c.1924
Gordon's "Inferno" Collection is in the Archive of Folk Song, Library of Congress. The typescript is the unedited bawdy examples, torn from his great collection. Gordon was born 9/2/1888 in Bangor Maine (d. 3/29/1961) and was the first head of the Archive, 1928-1932.

All spelling as per typescript. I suggest the order of drums lowly and pipes slowly was a one-off error by the singer and I decided to sing it as drums lowly and pipes slowly.

"Whore's Lament" is almost certainly the pre-Bowdlerized version of "The Bad Girl's Lament" as sung by Wade Hemsworth. No tune is given but with a little squeezing, it scans well to Hemsworth's tune.

The only other example I've come across, likely from tradition, is by Hedy West but I haven't heard that. See Hedy West CDs.

Assuming "Whore" isn't a counterfeit (and I don't think it is, other versions, Unfortunate Lass, etc are similar enough) it is a little unusual in retaining the 'pills of white mercury' element. This was most often dripped from other versions.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Dec 13 - 01:06 PM

The Inferno Collection MS is online, courtesy Mehlberg. ends with 3919; The Cowboy's Lament 3920 is in Thorp, "Songs of the Cowboys."

Thanks, Guest, for The Whore's Lament, 3920; not found online.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Abby Sale
Date: 07 Dec 13 - 08:36 AM

Sorry, I hadn't realized I waren't logged in.

Song #3920 is a little confusing. Like 3919, it is two songs on two pages of typescript.

Any idea how to reach John? He went into the wind several years ago.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Abby Sale
Date: 07 Dec 13 - 09:04 AM

It don't mean nuthin' but I had to look. I was working from my Xerox from LoC. John's good work OCRing, editing and posting are to be praised. It _is_ included in his copy of the index (well, I suppose it is, I'm going by my copy of his index) but he mis-links it to #3913. So if you click the title at 3920 (in my copy), you go to the correct & full song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 11:55 AM

Gordon's papers in the Library of Congress include the letter from real estate speculator Charles Bell Emerson of Los Gatos, Calif., in 1925 explaining that he'd learned the song from the cook ("an unmistakable 'mick'") in a makeshift "bo" (hobo) camp somewhere out West. Like most such informants, Emerson didn't bother to say just where or when.) The title the cook gave it was "The Hoor's Lamint and Chorust" (sic).

Emerson noted that the cook claimed to have once been an assistant chef at a posh NYC hotel, but he had lost his job through chronic alcoholism.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 11:57 AM

It is, of course, a version of "The Bad Girl's Lament" and first cousin to "The Cowboy's Lament" ("Streets of Laredo," "Tom Sherman's Barroom.")


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 12:15 PM

Frankie Armstrong sings The Whore's Lament on Topic 12TS 273, Songs & Ballads. I have no more information to hand, but I do recall her singing the verse about salts and white mercury.

Hedy West recorded the same song on Love, Hell and Biscuits, Bear Family, BF 15003.

BTW., is the term 'hooker' in verse 1 correct? I've always imagined that it is of much more recent vintage.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 12:20 PM

Hang. Scrub that last bit. I've just consulted the Urban Dictionary and it says the following on the term hooker.

"prostitute. started in the civil war When Gen.Hooker of the Union Army (the first pimp) tried to protect his troops from VD by buying the best chicks and pimping them to his corps of 20,000 men. orginally hooker's girls."

Sounds like a rather enterprising chap.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Reinhard
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 03:11 PM

Frankie Armstrong's "The Whore's Lament" on "Songs & Ballads" is Roud 8153, quite a different song than the one above. Her lyrics are:

As I cam in by Tanzie's wood,
And in by Tanzie's mill o,
Four-and-twenty o' Geordie's men
Kissed me against my will o.

Chorus (after each verse):
    Diddle dow diddle dow diddle dow dow dow
    Diddle dee diddle da diddle dow-o

Oh once I was a lady fair,
And liked the young men well o,
Now I'm in the correction-house,
A woeful take to tell o!

When we lived in yon tavern-house,
We lived in a good case o,
Neither wanted nor meat nor drink
Nor bonnie lads to kiss o.

But now I'm in the correction-house,
And sorely do I mourn o;
Now I'm in the correction-house,
And whipped until my turn o.

But when I gets my liberty,
And I hope it will be soon o,
I hope to be a married wife
When my thirty days are done o.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 04:54 PM

Needless to say (or is it?) the stuff about General Joseph Hooker, briefly commander of the Army of the Potomac, is bullshit, like so much else posted to Urban Dictionary.

The word "Hooker" was in use as a synonym for prostitute in North Carolina as early as 1845, when JH was still a lowly second lieutenant in Mexico. The prostitutes of Washington, DC, were indeed referred to as "Hooker's Division" by soldiers in 1863-65, but Hooker's chief connection with the red-light district was to demand (more or less successfully) that prostitution be confined by police to an area then known as "Murder Bay." (It is now the "Federal Triangle.") The point was to keep enterprising streetwalkers from overrunning the city.

General Hooker was sufficiently well regarded to be chosen to lead Abraham Lincoln's burial procession in Springfield, Illinois.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 14 Dec 13 - 05:47 PM

This is pretty consistent with many other versions, but it's noteworthy that in this version the man who failed to tell her what he was passing on was the one who FIRST SEDUCED her -- which would presumably have been BEFORE she became a whore.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 07:56 AM

Lighter, the following places "hooker" some 50 years earlier. Is it any less likely to be bullshit?

The Lower East Side was where many voyages to New York ended with the sailors coming ashore looking for entertainment of all kinds. As early as 1816 the area round the shipyards and ferry terminal of the Corlear's Hook (GPS 40.71, -73.98) area of Manhattan was notorious for its streetwalkers, "a resort for the lewd and abandoned of both sexes", and the ladies plying their trade here became the original "hookers".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Dec 13 - 10:14 AM

Hi, Snuff.

The Hook's prostitutes were real, and eveventually notorious, but the word "hooker" may or may not go back quite as far as 1816.

Corlear's Hook is just south of the Williamsburg Bridge. There is now a park where the slums used to be. I've been there.

A direct connection between Corlear's Hook and "hooker" was first made in John Russell Bartlett's _Dictionary of Americanisms_ (2nd ed., 1859):


"Hooker. A resident of the Hook, i. e. a strumpet, a sailor's trull. So called from the number of houses of ill-fame frequented by sailors at the Hook (i. e. Corlear's Hook) in the city of New York."


"Hooker" is not in the first edition (1848). But just because Corlear's Hook was a red-light district is not proof that it gave its name to "hooker."

Librarian George Thompson of New York University recently turned up a pre-1845 example of "hooker" from the "N.Y. Transcript" of September 25, 1835, p. 2:

"Pris[oner].: ...he called me a 'hooker'.
Mag[istrate].: What did you call her a 'hooker' for?
Wit[ness].: 'Cause she allers hangs round the hook, your honner."


The passage makes nothing explicit, but obviously "hooker" was some sort of insult. Whether the later, wider use of the term came directly from Corlear's Hook, or whether there were other contributing elements is unknown. (For example, streetwalkers could well have been described as "hooking" their customers, no matter where they were.)

The scant evidence is enough to prove absolutely that General Joseph Hooker did not inspire the word "hooker." Without doubt it was in use in NYC in 1859, and in North Carolina in 1845. (It would be interesting to know how it got there.) It seems almost beyond reasonable doubt that it was in use in NYC even earlier, in 1835, and at least some people at that time were connecting it with Corlear's Hook.

Before 1835, all is conjecture. That's just the nature of much etymology.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whore's Lament
From: Abby Sale
Date: 08 Jan 14 - 11:18 AM

Thank you Lighter and Snuffy for work on "hooker."
Like Fred, I've been concerned with the word in this song as a red flag that the song might be too recent. And therefore more likely a counterfeit. That's especially so since the obviously fairly late version retains the "pills of white mercury," generally dropped from later versions.

Of course, I prefer to believe it's an old one, generally suppressed from scholarly reporting, as so many were, and that Bad Girl's Lament was the parlor Bowdlerization.

I was remiss not looking up the word - I'm satisfied that 1835 or 45 is old enough. (Though that proves nothing but I'm happy.)

Good work.


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