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Souling Song - how old?

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SOULING SONG


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Ian HP 15 May 99 - 04:21 PM
Graham Pirt 15 May 99 - 07:25 PM
Susanne (skw) 15 May 99 - 09:45 PM
Richard Bridge 16 May 99 - 03:52 AM
Graham Pirt 16 May 99 - 05:52 AM
Roger in Baltimore 16 May 99 - 08:59 AM
Ian HP 16 May 99 - 10:48 AM
16 May 99 - 06:01 PM
Ian HP 18 May 99 - 04:17 PM
Susanne (skw) 18 May 99 - 06:36 PM
IanC 29 Oct 02 - 11:58 AM
AggieD 29 Oct 02 - 12:10 PM
AggieD 29 Oct 02 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Q 29 Oct 02 - 01:08 PM
Malcolm Douglas 29 Oct 02 - 02:11 PM
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Subject: Souling Song - how old?
From: Ian HP
Date: 15 May 99 - 04:21 PM

On the DT database is the SOULING SONG as below. How old is it? Does anyone have more info?

A soul, a soul, a soul cake Please, good missus, a soul cake An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry Any good thing to make us all merry One for Peter, two for Paul Three for Him who made us all

God Bless the master of this house, the mistress also And all the little children who around your table grow Likewise your men and maidens, your cattle and your store And all that dwells within your gates we wish you ten times more

The lanes are very dirty and my shoes are very thin I've got a little pocket I can put a penny in If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do If you haven't got a ha' penny, then God bless you

Sung for All Souls (November 1). A soul cake was left for the spirits that left their graves on Samhain (Halloween)


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 15 May 99 - 07:25 PM

See "Frost and Fire" LP by the Watersons. Bit rushed at the moment but will send details later if no-one else does


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 May 99 - 09:45 PM

'Frost and Fire' says nothing about the song's age. Palmer only mentions that All Souls (which is on 2 Nov, apparently) has been going since AD 993. I don't suppose that's any good to you? - Susanne


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 16 May 99 - 03:52 AM

At a guess about 1300-ish (from the sound). I'll ask the wife when she's out of the pool.


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Graham Pirt
Date: 16 May 99 - 05:52 AM

The tune is one of the most primitive forms in Europe, three tones within the compass of a third. The scale in Soul Song is a trichord of la-si-do with a small hitch to re which might be an abberation of a singer. Bert Lloyd says the tune commonly sung to it is from Cheshire, UK. The tune format is very old but that doesn't necessarily make this tune the same. It certainly fits with All Souls night (pre-Christian to All hallows)


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 16 May 99 - 08:59 AM

Bruce O.,

Where are you when we need you?

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Ian HP
Date: 16 May 99 - 10:48 AM

Thanks, folks. I've managed to find a great deal of stuff on the net about souling and soul cakes, which helps me a little, locating the custom as early as the 10th century. What intrigues me is this: what is our earliest evidence for the song to date it? Is there any evidence for the antiquity of the song itself?


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From:
Date: 16 May 99 - 06:01 PM

In English County Songs, p. 30, 1893.


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Ian HP
Date: 18 May 99 - 04:17 PM

Thanks, anon. I'm going to be tenacious here. How come the song is only dated to 1893 and yet the custom is so ancient? Does the book give any clues? Cheers


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 18 May 99 - 06:36 PM

Could it be that nobody thought such a simple and 'artless' song worthy of being written down or printed before the Victorian collectors? - Susanne


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Subject: Add: Souling Song - collected 1777
From: IanC
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 11:58 AM

The Soulers' song is given in Brand's "Popular Antiquities" (1777). The words were apparently taken down verbatim from the lips of "the merry pack, who sing them from door to door, on the eve of All - Soul's Day, in Cheshire".

THE SOULER'S SONG.

"Soul day, soul day, Saul
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing that will make us all merry.

Put your hand in your pocket and pull out your keys,
Go down into the cellar, bring up what you please;
A glass of your wine, or a cup of your beer,
And we'll never come souling till this time next year.

We are a pack of merry boys, all in a mind,
We are come a souling for what we can find,
Soul, soul, sole of my shoe,
If you have no apples, money will do;

Up with your kettle and down with your pan,
Give us an answer and let us be gone


Seems a good time to add this!

:-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: AggieD
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 12:10 PM

If anyone wants more infor, then Pete Coe may be able to help, try this link .

He was born & brought up in Cheshire and went 'Souling'


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: AggieD
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 12:12 PM

Sorry link clicky thing didn't work, try www.backshift.demon.co.uk/petehome.htm

Aggie


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 01:08 PM

Thanks, IanC, for a more authentic version. Was there any suggestion of a tune with it?


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Subject: RE: Souling Song - how old?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 02:11 PM

The tune, as Graham Pirt mentioned back when this thread was young, is very old and very widespread; most often heard attached, nowadays, to nursery rhymes (Baby Bunting for one) and playground taunts. A. L. Lloyd frequently pointed this out, together with its association with ceremonial customs. It is not the only tune used for souling songs; in some cases tunes and texts have been borrowed from wassail songs.

The earliest published examples of tunes are, so far as I know, a set from Tattenhall (Cheshire), included in Lucy Broadwood's English County Songs (1893) one from Eccleshall (Shropshire) in C. S. Burne's Shropshire Folk-Lore (1883) and one from Mobberley in R. Holland's Glossary of Words used in the County of Chester (1886). The first is the minor trichordal melody made popular in the Revival; the second is similar, but in the major; and the third is a borrowed wassail tune.

Certainly soul-caking is an old custom, but attempts to date it to the 10th century seem to be based solely on the fact that the festival of All Souls' Day was instituted in AD 993, and are probably no more than wishful thinking. Most such customs are little mentioned (if at all) before the 18th century, when there was an upsurge of interest in antiquarian subjects. It seems reasonable to suppose that there was a form of the song current for some time before it was first noted, but we have no way of telling how long. The fact that the tune is old tells us nothing about the song.


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