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White cockade - soldier dies version

DigiTrad:
THE SOLDIER'S FAREWELL (White Cockade II)
THE WHITE COCKADE (King Charles)
WHITE COCKADE (BURNS)
WHITE COCKADE (THEY ADVANCED ME)


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Tradsinger 12 Oct 18 - 05:35 AM
Joe Offer 12 Oct 18 - 12:24 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Oct 18 - 03:14 PM
Tradsinger 13 Oct 18 - 04:25 AM
Joe Offer 13 Oct 18 - 04:28 AM
Tradsinger 13 Oct 18 - 08:12 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Oct 18 - 12:30 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Oct 18 - 12:34 PM
Tradsinger 13 Oct 18 - 03:22 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Oct 18 - 04:01 PM
RTim 13 Oct 18 - 04:47 PM
Joe Offer 13 Oct 18 - 08:03 PM
Tradsinger 14 Oct 18 - 04:56 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Oct 18 - 01:48 PM
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Subject: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Tradsinger
Date: 12 Oct 18 - 05:35 AM

Can Mudcatters help me with this. Most of us are familiar with the song "The White Cockade" in which the girl is lamenting that her lover has gone off to war but they will marry when he returns, and most versions end there. However, I have collected a version in which the soldier is killed in battle and his sergeant returns the blood-splattered cockade to the girl. She is heart-broken and says she will die and wants the cockade pinned to her bosom in the grave.

What I am asking is whether this is really the same song or a different one. Is the version that most people know only half the story?

Views, please.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Oct 18 - 12:24 PM

Tradsinger, can you post the lyrics of the song you collected? Could it be John Highlandman?


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Oct 18 - 03:14 PM

Gwilym,
There are plenty of early broadside versions, but I don't off-hand remember this ending. Are you sure the previous stanzas are from a version of the well-known song?

Just checked a late Hodges printing which has an additional last stanza.

One evening as I sat weeping, down by the cottage door
A soldier came up to me and said that he was poor,
One shilling I gave to him, with that he did me kiss,
Saying he was the young man whom I so long had missed.

Nothing like your ending though.

However broadside printings do vary enormously from the regular oral versions as the ballad must have been rewritten many times.


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Tradsinger
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 04:25 AM

Here are the words I collected:

1. 'Tis true my love's enlisted, he wears the white cockade.
He is both gay and handsome as any roving blade.
He's gone to be a soldier, the white cockade he wears,
While I am here awaiting in sorrow and despair.

2. "Leave off your grief and sorrow, likewise your doleful strain.
The white cockade adorns me as I march o'er the plain.
When I return, I'll marry by this cockade I'll swear.
Till then, my love, be patient and my departure bear."

3. "I bring to you sad tidings" the sergeant he did say.
"Your love was slain in battle, He sends you this today.
He handed her the plumage, bedraggled by his gore.
With his last kiss he sent it, the white cockade he wore."

4. She spoke no words and at her tears, they fell in salten flood,
And from the bedraggled plumage she washed the stains of blood.
"Oh mother, I am dying, and when I'm in my grave
Just pin it to my bosom, my lover's white cockade."

Nothing like John Highlandman. I seem to think I have seen this somewhere but I can't trace it.

Any help would be appreciated.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 04:28 AM

Boy, I looked through a lot of White Cockade songs, and didn't find anything like that. I'll keep looking.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Tradsinger
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 08:12 AM

Ah, just found that Baring-Gould collected a song with just these words from Edmund Fry of Lydford, Devon. It's number 37 in Songs of the West. I wonder if my informant got his words from there?

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 12:30 PM

Aha, It has the hand of the maestro all over it! Very little in SOW wasn't touched up by himself. I don't think you need look any further.
Had a similar incident with Richie regarding Child 295. SBG sent Child a concoction of 2 separate ballads, one The Brown Girl off a garland and the other a version of 'Sally and her True Love Billy' he had collected.(295B). Richie collected a version of 295B the concoction word for word from a family in the States who were claiming the song had been in their family since the early 19th century! Hmmmmm! That Tardis gets a lot of work!


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 12:34 PM

One big problem of collecting songs in the second revival is you can never be sure what you're recording hasn't come from something published in the first revival. One of the last farm hands I recorded had a wonderful mixture of songs from his own tradition, pieces he had learnt at school and some great songs of his own composition. Luckily he remembered which were which.


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Tradsinger
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 03:22 PM

Quite agree with you Steve, and I always ask the informant where he/she learnt the song. In many cases, their memory might be imperfect and they genuinally can't remember. Anyway, I was told that he learnt the song from Devon gypsy families, so in the absence of other information, I have to take that at face value.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 04:01 PM

SOW was first published in the early 1890s so in oral tradition terms that's oodles of time for a song to get from print to oral, especially when you think much of what they were collecting towards the end of the 19th century was coming fresh off broadsides only half a century earlier.


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: RTim
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 04:47 PM

I understand that the collector George Gardiner gave a copy of Songs of the West to one of his singers - ie. Richard Hall of Itchen Abbas, and that he later would sing songs from the book accompanied by the vicar's daughter....

Tim Radford


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Subject: ADD: White Cockade - soldier dies version
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Oct 18 - 08:03 PM

Here's No. 27 from Baring-Gould, Songs of the West (Page 75). There's music notation at the link.

THE WHITE COCKADE

Alas! my love's enlisted, he wears a white cockade,
He is as gay a gallant as any roving blade.
He's gone the king a serving, the white cockade to wear,
Whilst my poor heart is breaking, for the love to him I bear.

"Leave off your grief and sorrow, and quit this doleful strain,
The white cockade adorns me whilst marching o'er the plain.
When I return I'll marry, by this cockade I swear.
Your heart from grief must rally, and my departure bear."

"Fair maid, I bring bad tidings," so did the Sergeant say.
"Your love was slain in battle, He sends you this to-day.
The white cockade he flourished, no dabbled in his gore.
With his last kiss he sends it, the white cockade he wore."

She spoke no word — her tears, they fell a salten flood;
And from the draggled ribbons washed out the stains of blood.
"Oh mother, I am dying! And when in grave I'm laid,
Upon my bosom, mother! Then pin the white cockade."


It's almost the same as what Tradsinger posted above, but quite a few words are different.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Tradsinger
Date: 14 Oct 18 - 04:56 AM

The plot thickens. When I looked at the notebook version of Edmund Fry's version, firstly it was called "The Green Cockade" and secondly it didn't have the dying soldier but went off into the familiar "May you never prosper" verses. Does this mean that the dying soldier version is a Rev SBG rewrite? This would indeed suggest that my informants words (not the tune) did derive from SOW.

I hope Martin Graebe sees this thread as he is the expert on SBG.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: White cockade - soldier dies version
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Oct 18 - 01:48 PM

Surely this is easily checked, Gwilym. Just go to the EFDSS website and put the Roud Number in the search box. If you eliminate all other collections other than SBG it should just give you what SBG collected of this song. If you can't work that let me know and I'll have a go.


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Mudcat time: 19 October 2:48 AM EDT

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