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Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen

DigiTrad:
LOCKE HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES HOSPITAL
ST. JAMES INFIRMARY
THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE


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Robin 21 Oct 02 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Richie 21 Oct 02 - 09:30 AM
masato sakurai 21 Oct 02 - 10:40 AM
Robin 21 Oct 02 - 12:37 PM
Robin 22 Oct 02 - 05:01 AM
Robin 22 Oct 02 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,Dave Hatton 29 Apr 09 - 03:25 PM
quokka 11 Oct 09 - 04:21 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE UNFORTUNATE LAD (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: Robin
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 08:51 AM

THE UNFORTUNATE LAD

As I was walking down by the Lock Hospital,
As I was walking one morning of late,
Who did I spy but my own dear comrade,
Wrapped in flannel so hard is his fate.

        CHORUS

Had she but told me when she disordered me
Had she but told me of it in time,
I might have got salts and pills of white mercury,
But now I'm cut down in the height of my prime.

I boldly stepped up to him and kindly did ask him,
Why was he wrapped in flannel so white?
My body is injured and sadly disordered,
All by a young woman my own heart's delight.

My father oft told me, and oftimes chided me
And said my wicked way would never do;
But I never minded him, nor ever heeded him,
Always kept up in my wicked ways.

Get six jolly fellows to carry my coffin,
And six pretty maidens to bear up my pall,
And give to each of them bunches of roses
That they may not smell me as they go along.

Over my coffin put handsful of lavender,
Handsful of lavender on every side,
Bunches of roses all over my coffin,
Saying there goes a young man cut down in his prime.

Muffle your drums, play your pipes merrily,
Play the dead march as you go along;
And fire your guns right over my coffin,
There goes an unfortunate lad to his home.

??

This version isn't quite the same as any of the versions found in #350 (The Rake's Lament tradition).

I've taken the text from Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads

http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ballads/ballads.htm

It's a pretty standard "Rake's Lament", but with two interesting spins.

It's localised in time and place (the Bodleian has seven broadside texts, identical apart from spelling, all from London 1863-1885).

And it introduces a moralising (and intrusive) stanza, beginning "My father oft told me"

The only major (?) variants between the texts I've seen (only five are properly digitised) are:

Why was he wrapped in flannel so white?
(alt. [once])
Why he was wrapped in flannel so white?

Always kept up in my wicked ways.
(alt.)
Always kept up my wicked ways.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 09:30 AM

Is this the song that the "Streets of Laredo" is based on?

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 10:40 AM

A variant of THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE (Laws B1), from which "The Street of Laredo" has derived. Malcolm Douglas has made a link to that version at this thread: Penguin: The Young Girl Cut Down In Her Prime.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: Robin
Date: 21 Oct 02 - 12:37 PM

Is this the song that the "Streets of Laredo" is based on?

-Richie

Transitional.

Begins Ireland 1790 with a couple of fragments.

First fully written-down version is "The Buck's Lament" (about the same time -- 1790).

"The Unfortunate Lad" is in the middle.

It jumps the pond to become "The Streets of Laredo".

Robin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: Robin
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 05:01 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: Robin
Date: 22 Oct 02 - 05:05 AM

Oops -- sorry about the previous -- my typing finger slipped.

Here are the two fragments from Ireland in the 1790s:

In Dublin in the 1790s, a song called "The Unfortunate Rake" was being sung on the streets. Although later versions which clearly derive from this song exist, only two stanzas of this progenitor of a whole series of metamorphosed laments remain:

Get six of my comrades to carry my coffin,
Six girls of the city to bear me on,
And each of them carry a bunch of red roses,
So they don't smell me as they walk along.

And muffle your drums, and play your fifes lowly,
Play the dead march as you carry me on,
And fire your bright muskets all over my coffin,
Saying: 'There goes an unfortunate rake to his doom!"

This fragment is the only text, so far as I know, to contain the actual phrase "unfortunate rake".

... and:

At about the same time, in Cork, another soldier was dying in a similar fashion, again to the sound of drums:

My jewel, my joy, don't trouble me with the drum,
    Sound the dead march as my corpse goes along;
And over my dead body throw handfuls of laurel,
    And let them all know that I'm going to my rest.

... both the roses and the handfuls of laurel feed in ultimately to "The Unfortunate Lad".

Robin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: GUEST,Dave Hatton
Date: 29 Apr 09 - 03:25 PM

I play the song as The Rake's Lament, as per the Digitrad version, but add the verse which appears in 'Streets of Laredo' where the narrator is asked to fetch a cup of cool water and then the poor boy dies. That seems to complete the song nicely for me but I've not seen a version of the song which contains that verse this side of the Atlantic. Just seems right to me to have it in, but I guess that's the oral tradition for you!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Unfortunate Lad (#350 / Rake's Lamen
From: quokka
Date: 11 Oct 09 - 04:21 AM

The verse about the drum, the fife and the dead march seems to have taken on a life of it's own - it appears in Eric Bogle's Green Fields of France and Emmy-Lou Harris'song about her Dad on Red Dirt Girl (sorry can't remember the name of the song).


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