The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #22885   Message #253617
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
07-Jul-00 - 03:46 PM
Thread Name: Penguin: The Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime
Subject: RE: Penguin: The Young Girl Cut Down In Her
Here are the notes from the Penguin Book (1959):

"At the end of the eighteenth century a homilectic street ballad spread in England concerning the death and ceremonial funeral of a soldier "disordered" by a woman.  It was called The Unfortunate Rake (in Ireland) or The Unfortunate Lad (on the broadside printed by Such).  Many singers know it as St. James's Hospital.  It is still a common song in the British Army, though printed versions are few.  English sets have been reported from Yorkshire (FSJ I p.254) and Hampshire (FSJ III p.292).  Our song represents a later development, in which the sexes are reversed, but the ceremonial funeral is retained.  Versions of this form have been recorded from Oxfordshire and Somerset as well as the present Hampshire version.  In America, the song has been adapted to the cattle range (The Cowboy's Lament or The Streets of Laredo) and the gambling hall (St. James' Infirmary).  The motif of the ceremonial funeral remains constant, despite all the transformations of the chief character."  -R.V.W./A.L.L.

This version of the song was first published in The Folk Song Journal volume IV page 325.

DT #350 Laws Q26

@death @sex @funeral @illness

There is an entry at the Traditional Ballad Index:  The Bad Girl's Lament, (St. James' Hospital; The Young Girl Cut Down in her Prime)

There is a copy of the Such broadside at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads   printed between 1863 and 1885:  The Unfortunate Lad  (Large image).

Other versions of the Unfortunate Lass/ Bad Girl's Lament family on the DT:

THE BAD GIRL'S LAMENT
BRIGHT SUMMER MORNING
THE GIRL IN THE DILGER CASE
ONE MORNING IN MAY
UNFORTUNATE LASS

Versions of The Unfortunate Rake/ St. James's Hospital family on the DT:

LOCKE HOSPITAL
NOO I'M A YOUNG MAN CUT DOWN IN MY PRIME
PILLS OF WHITE MERCURY
ST. JAMES HOSPITAL
THE TROOPER CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME
THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE
WHEN I WAS ON HORSEBACK

In the Forum:

The Buck's Elegy
St. James' Hospital

There are also numerous versions of The Streets of Laredo (including a number of parodies and re-writes) and St. James' Infirmary on the DT; a search for #350 will locate them.

Also in the Forum:

The Dying Outfit (parody)
Streets Of Laredo (parody)
Ballad Of Sherman Wu (parody)
Tom Sherman's Barroom

Malcolm