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Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)

In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Death of Queen Jane (from The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs)


Alan of Australia 21 Jan 00 - 06:40 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Aug 00 - 11:20 PM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Aug 00 - 11:23 PM
Margaret V 07 Aug 00 - 12:12 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Aug 00 - 11:19 AM
Shanti 07 Aug 00 - 05:23 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Aug 00 - 07:48 PM
Alan of Australia 31 Aug 00 - 06:13 AM
Tradsinger 02 Apr 05 - 01:59 PM
Big Tim 02 Apr 05 - 02:45 PM
Tradsinger 02 Apr 05 - 02:55 PM
Phil Edwards 27 Oct 10 - 08:59 AM
Art Thieme 28 Oct 10 - 01:55 AM
Felipa 03 Jan 14 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,michaelr 03 Jan 14 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,michaelr 06 Jan 14 - 09:26 PM
Reinhard 07 Jan 14 - 12:10 AM
GUEST,Guest 07 Jan 14 - 03:08 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 07 Jan 14 - 03:17 AM
Lonesome EJ 25 Feb 16 - 02:22 PM
michaelr 25 Feb 16 - 03:20 PM
Lonesome EJ 25 Feb 16 - 06:30 PM
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Subject: The Death Of Queen Jane (tune only) ^^
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 21 Jan 00 - 06:40 PM

G'day,
From the Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs, Ed Pellow's rendition of the tune of The Death Of Queen Jane (Child #170) can be found here.

Another set of lyrics can be found here.

Previous song: Death And The Lady.
Next Song: The Deserter From Kent.

Cheers,
Alan ^^


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 11:20 PM

From the notes to the Penguin Book (1959):

"The story is a legendary re-working of historical fact. Jane Seymour, wife of Henry VIII, died on 24 October, 1537, twelve days after the natural birth of her son, who later became Edward VI. Some said her death was due to clumsy surgery. We do not know how old this ballad is, nor if it derives from a piece called The Lamentation of Queen Jane, licensed for publication in 1560. The ballad has been collected in Devon (FSJ vol.II [issue 9] p.222) and Somerset (FSJ vol.V [issue 20] pp.257-8), and a second Dorset version is given in FSJ vol.III [issue 11] p.67." -R.V.W./A.L.L.

This version was collected by H.E.D. Hammond from Mrs. Russell¹ of Upwey in Dorset, in 1907, and was first published in the Folk Song Journal, vol.III [issue 11] pp.67-8.

There is another version on the DT:

Queen Jane from The Peggy Seeger Songbook, with tune: no original source specified.

There is an entry at The Traditional Ballad Index:
The Death of Queen Jane

Child #170.
@birth @history @royalty @death

There is a version at Lesley Nelson's Child Ballads site:
The Death of Queen Jane

There is a PDF file of the version collected by Baring Gould from Sam Fone, 28th. March 1893, with staff notation, at Sabine Baring-Gould and the folk songs of South-West England:
The Death of Queen Jane

The text published by the Percy Society in 1846 is available at Poets Corner:
The Death of Queen Jane

There is a broadside version at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

Death of the Royal Queen Jane Printed c.1820 by W. Collard, Bridewell-Lane, and Hotwells, Bristol. (Large image)

There is a brief biography of Queen Jane at http://www.tudorhistory.org :
Queen Jane
and some pictures here.

¹ Mrs. Russell was an important carrier of tradition: other songs of hers available on the DT are:

The Bedmaking
Catch-Me-If-You-Can
John White
One Night as I lay on my Bed
Ye Mar'ners All

Malcolm


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Subject: Lyr Add: DEATH OF QUEEN JANE (from Ray Driscoll)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Aug 00 - 11:23 PM

This song has survived in tradition to the present day:

THE DEATH OF QUEEN JANE

(Version from Ray Driscoll, 1993)

Queen Jane lay in harbour for nine days or more;
The women had grown weary and the midwives gave o'er.
King Henry was sent for by horseback and steed,
To be with Queen Jane in her hour of need.

He sped to her bed side. "What ails thee, my Queen?
I've come to thee direct sin' late yestreen".
"King Henry, King Henry, I know you to be:
Pray cut my side open and find my baby."

"Oh not", quoth King Henry, "That never shall be.
If I can lose my pretty rose, I can lose my baby."
Queen Jane turned over and fell into a swound,
Her side it was cut open and the baby was found.

The baby it was christ-ned the very next day,
While his poor dear, dead mother a mouldering lay.
Six lords walked before her and four followed on;
The hatchman's followed after with black crêpe upon.

He weeped and he wailed and crieth full sore:
"My sweet rose of England shall flourish no more."
He sits in his tower with his head in his hand
And says,"This merry England is a sorrowful land".

This version was collected by Gwilym Davies, from Ray Driscoll of Dulwich, South London, in 1993.  It was published in English Dance and Song, Autumn edition 1994.  Ray was born in Ireland in 1922, but grew up in London.  He learned this song and its particularly fine tune while living in Shropshire, from an itinerant farmworker called Harry Civil.

A midi of the tune goes to Alan's Mudcat Midi Site.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Margaret V
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 12:12 AM

Malcolm, is it really "harbour" in this version, or the more usual "labour"? By the way, thanks to you and Alan for all the really interesting, thorough information you've been sending our way lately! All the best, Margaret


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 11:19 AM

Yes, it's really "harbour"!

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Shanti
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 05:23 PM

Malcolm,

Harbour must refer to the chamber in which she had Edward...it was far from private, as royal births had to be witnessed by everybody, but it must have been seen as some safe haven for the Queen. Most of the versions I've heard turned harbour to labour. Jane died, and Edward didn't last long himself. Then poor Lady Jane Grey got roped into assuming the throne, though she didn't want to, and ended up being beheaded, all because of her parent's and in-law's ambition.


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Aug 00 - 07:48 PM

Actually, I think that "harbour" is just a mis-hearing of "labour" (by analogy with other songs) somewhere along the line, but it still makes sense.  As you say, royal births had to be more-or-less public to avoid arguments later on, such as the notorious "Warming Pan Affair".

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 31 Aug 00 - 06:13 AM

G'day,
Thanks to Malcolm the tune for "Death Of Queen" can be found here at the Mudcat MIDI site.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Tradsinger
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 01:59 PM

I'm catching up with various MC postings and was looking at Ray Driscoll's "Death of Queen Jane", which I recorded from Ray. I have a correction to the words (posting of 6 Aug 00 above et seq), which should start "Queen Jane lay in labour", not harbour! This error comes from when it was published in English Dance and Song, and the error is probably a tribute to my bad handwriting. She's a woman, not a ship, for goodness sake! When I sing it, I have to refrain from singing "Queen Jane lay in labour for 6 months or more", which would be equally unfortunate. The 2nd word of the 3rd verse is obviously no, not not. Ray sometimes sang "with black weeds upon" in verse 4. Also the tune in the midi is not quite what Ray sings, or rather used to sing, as he is not too well at the moment. The first line should end on the tonic, like the second. I'll see if I can work out how to write a midi file and perhaps the words and tune can be corrected. However, if you've learnt it as given, then, heck, that's the folk process for you.

Cheers

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Big Tim
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 02:45 PM

No matter how you look at it, it's a wonderful song. "Queen Jane lay in labour..."


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death Of Queen Jane
From: Tradsinger
Date: 02 Apr 05 - 02:55 PM

Agreed. It has rather puzzled me that a song on such a serious subject can still grip an audience. I have now worked out the midi file and would like to post it to MC to replace the one there. How do I do that?

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death of Queen Jane
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 27 Oct 10 - 08:59 AM

This was Jon Boden's Folk Song A Day three days ago, and I'm still listening to it - a great song, sensitively sung.


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death of Queen Jane
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 01:55 AM

Cascom Lamar Lunsford of South Turkey Creek, North Carolina recorded this song on his early 10-inch Folkways Records LP

Art


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death of Queen Jane
From: Felipa
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 09:03 PM

I learned the song to the tune that Dáithí Sproule set it to

http://www.derryjournal.com/what-s-on/cinema/derry-man-s-song-in-coen-brothers-film-1-5779013

A song by Derry traditional musician Dáithí Sproule is featured in the new film by Oscar-winning filmakers, the Coen brothers.

'Inside Llewyn Davis' tells the story of an aspiring young singer in the New York folk scene of the early 1960s and includes the song 'The Death of Queen Jane' which was written by the Derry guitarist more than 40 years ago.

The film stars Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac and Justin Timberlake and includes a soundtrack of folk standards recorded by the actors.

Mr Sproule wrote the melody for the ancient ballad in 1970 while playing with his band, Skara Brae.

It went on to become the most well-known version of the song and has been recorded by dozens of artists, including influential traditional group, The Bothy Band, who included it on their live album 'After Hours.'

The Derry musician said he is delighted his song has been included in the film. "I composed the melody a long time ago, about 1970 of so, to go with the traditional words, which I got from a book. I sang the song with my group, Skara Brae, back then.

"I don't know where the Coen brothers got it. But of course I'm delighted they are using my melody," he said.

The song is used in a pivotal scene in the film when the eponymous singer performs it at an audition for a slot at an important folk club.

Mr Sproule has been a key figure on the Irish music scene since the early 1970s and continues to perform. He was one of the first guitarists to adapt the alternative DADGAD tuning to Irish music.

His contribution to the genre was acknowledged when the Rough Guide to Irish Music described him as "a seminal figure in Irish music."

He is the uncle of Derry singer songwriter, Claire Sproule and his brother, Andy, is also a singer


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Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Death of Queen Jane
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 03 Jan 14 - 10:59 PM

It could be assumed that the Coen Brothers or their music coordinator, T-Bone Burnett, drew on the version by Bascom Lamar Lunsford ("the minstrel of the Appalachians") referenced above by Art Thieme. His 1953 Folkways LP Smokey Mt. Ballads would have been known to the Greenwich Village folk crowd. How and why Daithi Sproule's melody was chosen is a bit of a head-scratcher, though, if written in 1970.

Was Sproule credited as composer on the After Hours LP by his Skara Brae ex-bandmates Micheal and Triona O Dhomnaill?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: GUEST,michaelr
Date: 06 Jan 14 - 09:26 PM

Refresh -- does anyone have the Bothy Band LP handy?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: Reinhard
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 12:10 AM

discogs.com says on The Bothy Band - Afterhours:

B1                 The Death Of Queen Jane
...
Written-By – Dáithí Sproule (tracks: B1)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 03:08 AM

By far the finest version I have heard of this classic is by Chris Jones.

Don't know if anyone can put a link to it but it is magnificent.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 07 Jan 14 - 03:17 AM

A superb version from Scottish Traveller Duncan Williamson can be heard on the CD "Traveller's Tales" - volume 2 (Kyloe 101), issued in 2002 and available from Veteran in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 02:22 PM

Thought I would post this chord structure as done by Oscar Isaacs in Inside Llewyn Davis. I think it was based on the Bothy Band version.

Queen (G)Jane lay in labor
full nine (Am)days or (G)more
'Til her (Am)women (D)grew so (G)tired,(D)
they(G) could no(Am) longer(B) there(C)
They (G)could no (C)longer (G)there

He also plays a short intro with the G sliding up to a Cadd9 position D at the 4th fret, and back down to the natural Cadd9, and then returning to the G to begin the song. Also, in the fourth line, the B chord is not fully played, but the A string plucked in the second fret in passing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: michaelr
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 03:20 PM

One of those movie anachronisms: playing in the early 1960s an arrangement that wasn't recorded until a dozen years later.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Death of Queen Jane (Child #170)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 25 Feb 16 - 06:30 PM

True, Michael. Nice arrangement, but... Joan Baez's version would have been a more realistic one, coming from that time frame and place. But it wasn't as melodically moving for the purpose of the film.


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