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BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?

DigiTrad:
BARD OF ARMAGH
PILLS OF WHITE MERCURY
STREETS OF LAREDO (Cowboy's Lament)
THE DYING LUMBERMAN
THE LINEMAN'S HYMN
THE STREETS OF LOREDO
THE TROOPER CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME
UNFORTUNATE LASS


Related threads:
Streets of Laredo (38)
Streets of Laredo - 'Live in the Nation'?? (58)
H M Belden. Ballads and Songs-Unfortunate Rake (47)
Lyr Req: Trooper Cut Down in His Prime (Roy Palmer (47)
Lyr Req: Handful of Laurel (9)
Streets of Stavanger aka The Seasick Norwegian (8)
Lyr Add: Pills of White Mercury (26)
Lyr Req: Streets of Toledo (Paul Clayton) (18)
(origins) Origins: Pills of White Mercury (36) (closed)
Chords Req: Pills of White Mercury (Old Blind Dogs (16)
(origins) ...all wrapped in white linen. (63) (closed)
Lyr Add: Tom Sherman's Barroom (4)
Lyr Req: Pills of White Mercury (5)
Lyr Req: The Pills of White Mercury (2)


Robin 24 Oct 02 - 09:43 AM
Sorcha 24 Oct 02 - 01:52 PM
Robin 24 Oct 02 - 02:14 PM
MMario 24 Oct 02 - 02:45 PM
Joe Offer 24 Oct 02 - 02:46 PM
Robin 24 Oct 02 - 05:11 PM
Stewie 24 Oct 02 - 07:15 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Oct 02 - 07:58 PM
GUEST,Q 24 Oct 02 - 08:59 PM
GUEST,Q 24 Oct 02 - 09:21 PM
Robin 25 Oct 02 - 03:25 AM
masato sakurai 25 Oct 02 - 04:14 AM
Robin 25 Oct 02 - 05:03 AM
GUEST,Q 25 Oct 02 - 07:52 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Oct 02 - 08:30 PM
Robin 26 Oct 02 - 05:59 AM
Robin 26 Oct 02 - 06:18 AM
masato sakurai 26 Oct 02 - 06:30 AM
Robin 26 Oct 02 - 07:24 AM
Robin 26 Oct 02 - 08:05 AM
masato sakurai 26 Oct 02 - 08:40 AM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Oct 02 - 01:03 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 02 - 02:21 PM
Robin 26 Oct 02 - 03:38 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 02 - 06:27 PM
GUEST 26 Oct 02 - 07:34 PM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Oct 02 - 09:43 PM
Robin 27 Oct 02 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Q 27 Oct 02 - 02:26 PM
Robin 28 Oct 02 - 08:14 AM
Uncle_DaveO 28 Oct 02 - 10:06 AM
GUEST 28 Oct 02 - 05:16 PM
Robin 29 Oct 02 - 06:04 AM
Robin 29 Oct 02 - 06:23 AM
Robin 29 Oct 02 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Q 29 Oct 02 - 02:21 PM
Robin 30 Oct 02 - 12:24 AM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Oct 02 - 12:57 AM
Robin 30 Oct 02 - 02:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Oct 02 - 12:08 PM
GUEST 30 Oct 02 - 12:23 PM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Oct 02 - 12:38 PM
Robin 31 Oct 02 - 05:45 AM
IanC 31 Oct 02 - 05:55 AM
Robin 31 Oct 02 - 07:21 AM
GUEST 31 Oct 02 - 08:05 AM
IanC 31 Oct 02 - 08:25 AM
masato sakurai 31 Oct 02 - 08:45 AM
GUEST 31 Oct 02 - 09:07 AM
masato sakurai 31 Oct 02 - 09:16 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUCK'S ELEGY
From: Robin
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 09:43 AM

Dating from the mid-nineteenth century, "The Buck's elegy" is the earliest complete text in The Rake's Lament tradition. But there are problems.

Stanza two has the Buck failing to dose himself with mercury, while stanza three has him asking the doctors to take their mercury bottles away.

The last line of stanza 3: "And into my coffin throw handfuls of funeral fine" should almost certainly read (something like) "And into my coffin throw handfuls of laurel fine".

Who were Capt.—, and Capt. Townsend?

What does "bumble mean in the line:

    Come bumble your drums, bumble them with crapes of black

-- is it simply a mistake for "muffle"?

The last TWO stanzas end with identical couplets.

So ... any thoughts would be much appreciated. Currently I'm thinking in terms of jumping the trail from the 1790 Irish fragments to "The Unfortunate Rake" (found after but not that long after the Buck). This leaves "The Buck's Elegy" as a problem, but at least as an isolated problem.

Robin

             The Buck's Elegy

As I was walking down Covent Garden,
        Listen awhile, and the truth I'll relate,
Who should I meet but my dearest comrade,
        Wrapt up in flannel, so hard was his fate.

Had I but known what his disorder was,
        Had I but known it, and took it in time,
I'd took pila cotia, all sorts of white mercury,
        But now I'm cut off in the heighth of my prime.

Doctors take away your mercury bottles,
        For I am going to draw my last breath,
And into my coffin throw handfuls of funeral fine,
        Let them all see that I die a sad death.

When I am dead wrap me up in funeral fine,
        Pinks and fine roses adorning my head,
Come all gallows whores that do mourn after me,
        Let them all follow me unto my grave.

There is Capt.— , and likewise Capt. Townsend.
        These are the men that shall hold up my pall;
Come draw up your merrymen, draw them in rank and file,
        Let them fire over me when I lay low.

Come bumble your drums, bumble them with crapes of black,
        Beat the dead march as we go along,
Come draw up your merry men, draw them in rank and file,
        Let them fire over me when I lay low.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 01:52 PM

Interesting questions. Bumping this back up so someone who knows may find it. Might I ask which country/time period this version is from? It is obviously one of the St. James Infirmary/Streets of Laredo group.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 02:14 PM

"Might I ask which country/time period this version is from? It is obviously one of the St. James Infirmary/Streets of Laredo group."

England, mid-nineteenth century, which is maybe 70 odd years after the two Irish fragments appear in the 1790s. It's supposed to be the first preserved full-length text in the thread, but I'm coming to feel that "The Unfortunate Rake", which first gets written down a little later, is a better starting-point.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: MMario
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 02:45 PM

I read it as he failed to take the mercury - so he is telling the doctors "don't make me take it now, it's too late"

"funeral fine" may be correct - I seem to recall seeing it's use elsewhere as referring to both momentoes tossed into the coffin and the cloth used as a shroud (as it would be in the next verse)

"bumble" is appropriate as Merriam-Webster gives one definition as being to buzz, drone or rumble - from the middle english bomblen

in other words - I don't think this "corrupt" text is all that corrupt


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 02:46 PM

There is another text of "Buck's Elegy" in the ...wrapped in white linen thread. Could be it's the same - where did you get yours from, Robin?
I tried to cross-index the threads on this series of songs, but there are far too many fo fit into one group.
-Joe Offer-
Here are the groups:


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 05:11 PM

Mario:

Point by point:

'
I read it as he failed to take the mercury - so he is telling the doctors "don't make me take it now, it's too late"
'

Yes -- that's what I'd go for too. A little strained, but it fits. Except (and here we're into the larger problem) this jump doesn't occur, as far as I know, in +any+ other text in the tradition.

"
"funeral fine" may be correct - I seem to recall seeing it's use elsewhere as referring to both momentoes tossed into the coffin and the cloth used as a shroud (as it would be in the next verse)
"

Again, several points -- the phrase is repeated word-for-word, and the second time makes easy sense -- "When I am dead wrap me up in funeral fine".

"throw handfuls of funeral fine" doesn't occur ANYWHERE else, but "throw handfuls of laurel does". "And over my dead body throw handfuls of laurel" even appears for the first time in the Cork 1790 fragment, and after the Buck, as "handsful [sic] of laurel" in "The Unfortunate Lad".

'
"bumble" is appropriate as Merriam-Webster gives one definition as being to buzz, drone or rumble - from the middle english bomblen
'

This works for the first "bumble", but not the second -- "bumble them with crapes of black". [Unless the second "bumble" is a misreading of "bundle".] For ages, I simply didn't even worry about it as something like bumble=wrap up would fit the context. Unfortuately, there's absolutely no documentation for this meaning. I ran it every which way through the OED2(3), with no luck.

'
in other words - I don't think this "corrupt" text is all that corrupt
'

I'd like to believe this, Mario, and thanks for the suggestions, but I'm still worried.

Joe:

"
There is another text of "Buck's Elegy" in the ...wrapped in white linen thread. Could be it's the same - where did you get yours from, Robin?
"

I've printed it from an issue of Root and Branch. I think (haven't checked this back) that the text in the thread you mention is taken from Holloway and Black, _Later English Broadside Ballads_.

Just checked -- same text as mine but from a different source:

"
From Holloway and Black, 'Later English broadside Ballads', I, #17, where references to traditional versions of the British Isles are given.
"

Root and Branch comment:

"
In the mid-nineteenth century, the song appeared as a broadside published by various English printers under the title 'The Buck's Elegy' or 'The Unfortunate Lad'.
"

I suspect (as I've still to confirm this) that "The Buck's Elegy" goes back to a single nineteenth century printed broadsheet.

The later part of the R&B comment is sheer nonsense, as "The Unfortunate Lad" (seven different copies among the Bodleian Ballad Collection) is quite different.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Stewie
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 07:15 PM

John Holloway and Joan Black (Eds) 'Later English Broadside Ballads' Routledge & Kegan Paul 1975 at page 48 give the text exactly as posted above. Their interpretation is that the piece simply implies that the buck and his 'dearest comrade' have been promiscuous with the same women. They note that 'pila cotia' = pill of cochia, colocinth, was an early remedy for venereal disease. For more info on pila cotia and white mercury, they reference Reeves 'The Everlasting Circle' p 226. They suggest the sense of 'bumble' as 'bandage for blindfolding' (OED).

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 07:58 PM

Bruce Olson quoted the same text in the earlier discussion that Joe referred to.


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Subject: Lyr Add: UNFORTUNATE LAD
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 08:59 PM

This thread is getting stretched out for so few posts, but perhaps it is best to put this one here with the re-posting of "Buck's Elegy" (first in thread 3918)

UNFORTUNATE LAD

As I was walking down by the ---- 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 disorder'd 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 disorder'd,
All by a young woman my own heart's delight.

My father oft told me, and ofttimes 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 handfuls of lavender,
Handfuls 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.

Firth b.34(302), n. d. Printers Series (196). No printer or location listed. Bodleian Library.

References in these threads mention dates such as "mid-19th century," etc. Do any of them have a definite date or range of dates? Agreed, they are all probably 19th century, but I would guess after "mid."
This one is interesting primarily because it has more of the lines used in "Streets of Laredo." Syphilis is changed to a gunshot wound, but otherwise there is similarity.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 09:21 PM

Other texts of "Unfortunate Lad" at the Bodleian Library.
Ballads Catalogue 2806 c.16(58) No data provided.
Harding B16 (334c) No data provided.

Both of these copies specify the LOCK Hospital.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 03:25 AM

Stewie:

"
They suggest the sense of 'bumble' as 'bandage for blindfolding' (OED).
"

Of course -- that's it!! Dunno how I missed that -- OED bumble n5: A bandage for blindfolding. 'A kind of blinkers. North.' (Halliw.)
   1623 Lisle Ælfric on O. & N.T. Pref. 14 Hood-winked with his implicite faith, as with a bumble on his head.

One problem solved.

Lyr. Add:UNFORTUNATE LAD -- As I was walking down by the ---- Hospital,

I posted a transcription from another Bodleian text a day or so ago -- click here

Bodleian has seven printings of "The Unfortunate Lad". One is not yet scanned, and with another, the thumbnail doesn't expand. Of the five copies I've read, all but one read "Lock Hospital". (And there's a Lock-sized gap in the remaining text!)

The Bodleian catalogue gives (on what authority I don't know) the date-range 1863-1885 for the two Such printings. No dates given for the other five, but I'd guess they fall into the same time-span.

For what it's worth, all five texts read "handsful [sic] of lavender" (which I misremembered as "laurel" earlier in this thread). Dunno whether the odd spelling of "handfuls" is significant, but it's consistent across the whole range of printings, which are pretty-much identical apart from occasional spelling variants, and The Lost Lock in one.

One last question -- anyone have a primary source for "The Unfortunate Rake"? It's in the database, but only generally referenced (with the comments taken from Goldstein's sleevenotes to the Folkways "The Unfortunate Rake" CD). Goldstein simply says, "This 19th century broadside text ..."

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 04:14 AM

BUMBLE is recorded in Joseph Wright's The English Dialect Dictionary (Oxford UP, 1898; rpt. edition), Vol. I (A-C):

BUMBLE, v.4 and sb.4 e.An.
1. v. To muffle, cover up.
e.An.1 The Bells were bumbled at his burial. Nrf. I never wear golves; I hate to have my hands bumbled up (W.R.E.); Nrf.1
Hence Bumbled, pp. blinded as with a handkerchief. e.An.1
2. sb. pl. Coverings for the eyes of a horse, more effectual than blinkers.
e.An.1, Nrf.1 [MORTON Cyclo. Agric. (1863).]
3. A cover of a vessel. e.An12
4. A hoarding in front of a building which is being rebuilt. e.An.1

(Abbreviations indicate bibliographical sources: e.An. = East Anglia; Nrf. = Norfolk; numbers after abbreviations are superscripts in the original)

~Masato


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 05:03 AM

"
BUMBLE, v.4 and sb.4 e.An.
1. v. To muffle, cover up.
[etc.]
"

Utter MAGIC, Masato!! Perfect! Never occurred to me to try dialect dictionaries -- tried Patridge's Historical Slang with no luck.

Now if someone could just manage to identify Captain Townsend ...

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 07:52 PM

Synthesis. Search for Lock Hospital. Conclusion- most likely London Paddington or Dublin. Less likely, Glasgow. Other Locks- little liklihood.
1746, Lock Hospital, the first charity hospital designed for venereal disease. Loch Hospital ideology applied in the Treaty Ports of Japan.
The original Lock hospital, Southwark area of London, 12th century, for treatment of leprosy. Locks- the rags covering leprosy sores. (But- Daniel Lock, FSA, 1697-1764, was founder of the Hospital for Foundlings "and founder of Lock Hospital" (probably the Paddington): From the Museum, Cornell Univ., which owns Hogarth's portrait of Lock).
Southwark Hospital changed to treatment of venereal disease, and was closed in 1760. The name was used for a new hospital in the Paddington area, for treatment of venereal disease. Next to it was the Paddington Workhouse.
Lock Hospital. A specialist center for the treatment of venereal disease, Hyde Park Corner. Illustration, no date but scene suggests late 18th early 19th century- need someone familiar with women's fashions. LOCK

Lock hospital mentioned in "The Trooper Cut Down," (handfuls of laurel in this song).Song supposedly late 18th century, but questioned.
A new Lock Hospital at Chatham, started 1869.


The song, "Lock Hospital," album "Prosperous," Christy Moore. Album notes- "I believe this is a Dublin song..." There have been many British garrisons around the world and each one has had its own Lock hospital for soldiers...." This song uses "white laurel."

In Glasgow, a Lock Hospital was established in 1805.

Under Section 3 of the Corrections Act, any public gaol could be gazetted as a "lock hospital"
Singapore- In 1872, the female ward of the General Hospital was converted into a Lock Hospital for treatment of venereal diseases.

Dublin, 1792, the Westmoreland Lock Hospital was founded. Now the Hospital of St. Margaret of Cortona (as of 1951).

"Lock Hospital Collection of Psalms and Hymns," Martin Madan, 1760 and later editions.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 08:30 PM

The engraving is probably late 1820s; the illustrator Thomas Shepherd produced a whole series of London architectural scenes at that time.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 05:59 AM

"
The engraving is probably late 1820s; the illustrator Thomas Shepherd produced a whole series of London architectural scenes at that time.
"

You mean the engraving on the Such broadsheet? One of the other broadsheets (I'm not sure which) has an image of someone about to cut-off the Unfortunate Lad's legs with a pair of scissors!

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 06:18 AM

"
Synthesis. Search for Lock Hospital. Conclusion- most likely London Paddington or Dublin. Less likely, Glasgow. Other Locks- little liklihood."

In this case, given the provenance of the printed broadsheets, and the venereal disease link, almost certainly the one in London.

(Though the rest of Q's post fills this out +much+ more fully than anything I've ever come on before. Thanks.)

Lock Hospital (given the venereal disease connection) is probably the earliest location -- then it turns into the Royal Albert, the Royal Arsenal, the Royal Albion (I don't have a version that has that in line one -- anyone got one?), Covent Garden (I think) -- probably more.

A teaser is St. James Infirmary/Hospital, which re-emerges (independently?) in the title of the Cab Calloway/Louis Armstrong blues off-spin.

Not to speak of Tom Sherman's barroom in Laredo, and the umpteen locational variants thereoff.

("The Trooper Cut Down" postdates "The Unfortunate Lad", I think, but it's bloody difficult to get precise dates, and there's the further problem that the earliest printing may not reflect the earliest composed version.)

Robin

(Hey, I've asked this before, but no one ever seems to answer [whimper] -- what about Cork city on the 14th of May in the Steeleye Span version?

R.)


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 06:30 AM

The illustration Robin mentions seems to be THIS ONE (to the version GUEST,Q posted - Date: 24 Oct 02 - 08:59 PM), but I think the image and the story have nothing in common.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 07:24 AM

Yo -- dat's de one, Masato.

It's odd -- doesn't fit "The Rambling Lad" at all (the other song on that sheet). Why are the figures in the illustration apparently in blackface? The connection I made was scissors => cut down. No?

I presume Q's version is this .

Such. Ballads Catalogue: Harding B 15(341a)

The other Such printing -- Harding B 11(2858)-- isn't scanned (yet?). Anyone know if the two such printings are identical?


Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 08:05 AM

Malcolm:

To come back to this (and sorry for having given the wrong credit earlier in the thread!), you write:

"The engraving is probably late 1820s; the illustrator Thomas Shepherd produced a whole series of London architectural scenes at that time."

Could you expand on this? I'm not arguing, but it gives a dating -- 1820s -- much earlier than the Bodleian catalogue's 1865+. This could be important, as it would impact on which has temporal priority: "The Buck's Elegy" or "The Unfortunate Lad".

Robin

IGNORE THE ABOVE:

I've just rerun the thread, and I see where the (my) tangle is coming from.

GUEST.Q posted an image of Lock(e) Hospital, by Shepherd, that Malcolm commented on, dating it 1820s. But that image has no +direct+ connection with the printed ballads.

Two of the ballads +do+ have head-illustrations (Masato and I gave clickies to these).

Ouch -- memo to self: Think Before You Post.

Sorry, everyone is making perfect sense, but I'm reading too quickly.

Now, one major remaining problem is Captain Townsend. Surely SOMEONE has access to the British Army Records of 1830-1850? OK, we don't know if he was regular or militia, but I think the time-span can be narrowed down to about that. And there can't have been +too+ many Captains Townsend on the rolls then.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 08:40 AM

One more puzzling thing: why the first captain's name was deleted in stanza 5.

"There is Capt.— , and likewise Capt. Townsend."

~Masato


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 01:03 PM

Glad the confusion was sorted out. On the subject of broadside illustrations: beware of attaching undue importance to them. In the 19th century at any rate, more often than not they were stock engravings that the printer happened to have available at the time. Sometimes there's some vague connection with the subject of the song, but often there's none at all. They shouldn't be taken as providing clues for any examination of the accompanying text.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 02:21 PM

Robin, the Lock Hospital was (I THINK) at the illustrated site from 1764 to the 1860s, so fits the postulated time ranges.
The only Bodelian broadside with a suggested date (1863-1885) is not reproduced by them. Looking through those available, by the printing I would guess 1850 or later, so in that general range.
Echoing Malcolm, one printer, Masran, used a frame around many sheets that showed blackface minstrel characters on one side. The lyrics could have been about a Scottish lass or whatever. Blackface minstrels were very popular in the British Isles ca. 1850-1900. Any illustration helps catch the eye of the consumer.
I found one reference to "The Trooper Cut Down" (I have lost it, and not the version in the DT) that gave the date 1780 and said it was the ancestor 0f all the Laredo-Pills of Mercury-Unfortunate etc. etc. lyrics. Probably not. The Unfortunates seem to go back to ca. 1800, however (see summary of titles by Malcolm, Penguin Young Girl
Having done some genealogical work, tracing Capt. Townsend is a long, long shot. Royal Naval records are quite good for officers, but not so good for the "foot." The name is not uncommon and is probably invented anyway.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 03:38 PM

Masato quoth:

"
One more puzzling thing: why the first captain's name was deleted in stanza 5.

"There is Capt.— , and likewise Capt. Townsend."

Sure, but you couldn't SING the the song with a zilched name (try singing a zero):

How about:

    There is Captain [Bucksend] , and likewise Capt. Townsend.

For all of me, damned if I'm going to bother with the obliterated zeroed Cptn before I lock onto Cptn Townsend.

Whatever the zero was, it has to scan as a trochiac foot.

    BUCKsend

For all the good that does us ...

Robin


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TROOPER CUT DOWN
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 06:27 PM

Found the reference to "The Trooper Cut Down." Masato gave a website, with midi, to a version with "handfuls of laurel," and copied a remark from three websites that the song was "collected from Dorset, England," the words dating to the late 18th century.
Thread 47060, 30 Apr 02: Trooper
These sites suggest it is the ancestor of all the others. One said it is Irish, although it was "collected in Dorset."
I looked through the Mudcat references and couldn't find any discussion.
Who collected it?
Who put the late 18th century date to it?
It doesn't seem to be in the DT (only a later version with British India references).
Its similarity to "The Unfortunate Lad" is marked.

THE TROOPER CUT DOWN

As I was walking down by the Lock Hospital.
Dark was the morning and cold was the day
Who should I spy but one of my comrades
Draped in a blanket and cold as the clay.

Then beat the drums slowly and play the pipes lowly
Sound the dead march as we carry him along
And over his coffin throw handfuls of laurel
For he's a young trooper cut down in his prime.

O mother, o mother come sit you down by me
Sit you down by me and pity my plight
My body is injured and sadly disordered
All by a young woman my own heart's delight.

Had she but told me when she did disorder me
Had she but told me about 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.

Get six of my comrades to carry my coffin
Six of my comrades to carry me on high
And each of them carry a bunch of white roses
So no-one may smell me as we pass them by.

At the street corner there's two girls a-standing
One to the other she whispered and said,
"Here comes that young squaddy whose money we squandered,
Here comes a young trooper cut down in his prime."

On top of his tombstone these words they are written,
"All you young fellows take warning by me,
Keep away from them flash girls who walk in the city,
The girls of the city was the ruin of me."

A briefer version by Christie Moore is in the DT with the name "Locke (sic) Hospital."


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 07:34 PM

Just pair Capt. Townsend and Princess Margaret- nope, doesn't scan. There should be a song about them somewhere, however.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 09:43 PM

The set GUEST refers to, as quoted by Masato, is not traditional, but is a modern collation put together by Stephen Sedley for his book The Seeds of Love, published in 1967. Sedley provided two tunes; one noted by Hammond in Dorset and the other by Sharp in Somerset; both in the first decade of the 20th century. The text was, to quote him, "collated from a broadside, Hammond's and Gardiner's manuscripts and the version sung by Harry Sladen of Manchester."

Sedley's notes included the following:

"It originated in the last half of the eighteenth century".

That is to say, the song; not the form in which he published it. The internet is full of inaccurate or incomplete copies of published material, often placed there by people who have taken at face value things which they have found in books (sometimes without taking the trouble to read the accompanying notes, even where such exist) and, unless a specific source which can be checked is referred to, such things cannot be considered to be of any importance so far as the consideration of the history of a song is concerned.

Sedley's book, although it contains many "singable" songs, should not be considered as a source of authentic traditional material; it is nothing of the kind. Most are cobbled together from all manner of disparate (and, in some cases, completely unrelated) sources.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 04:55 AM

Picking up on points I +still+ seem to have missed:

Guest says:

"
Robin, the Lock Hospital was (I THINK) at the illustrated site from 1764 to the 1860s, so fits the postulated time ranges.
"

Sorry, I jumped over this. I'm sure you're right that the image of Lock Hospital is +the+ Lock Hospital, but 1764 simply gives a +terminus ad quem+ -- the bloody (unbloody -- doesn't turn bloody till he's gut-shot in Laredo)Unfortunate Lad could have been outside it anytime between 1764 to 1860.

(And as yet +another+ query, is he outside it because he's been kicked out to free a bed, as he's terminal, or have his buddies just stuck him there? Prolly not that important.)

"
The only Bodleian broadside with a suggested date (1863-1885) is not reproduced by them.
"

Sure? My reading of the Bodleian site is that the 63/85 dating is linked to the two Such printings, one of which +is+ scanned. Masato gave a clicky to this earlier.

"
Echoing Malcolm, one printer, Masran, used a frame around many sheets that showed blackface minstrel characters on one side. The lyrics could have been about a Scottish lass or whatever. Blackface minstrels were very popular in the British Isles ca. 1850-1900. Any illustration helps catch the eye of the consumer.
"

This is fascinating -- I was a bit gobsmacked by the blackface in the broadside. This explains it. (I'd always assumed blackface located in Al Jolson -- more fool me.)

"
I found one reference to "The Trooper Cut Down" (I have lost it, and not the version in the DT) that gave the date 1780 and said it was the ancestor 0f all the Laredo-Pills of Mercury-Unfortunate etc. etc. lyrics. Probably not.
"

Undoubtedly not. (I'll come back on this.)

"
Having done some genealogical work, tracing Capt. Townsend is a long, long shot. Royal Naval records are quite good for officers, but not so good for the "foot." The name is not uncommon and is probably invented anyway.
"

Concur. Except I'm being bugged backchannel not to give up on this. And narrowing the time-range helps. But this is WAY outside any expertise I have -- anyone based in London have easy access to the Public Record Office?

Guest continues, on "The Trooper .." ...

ME: This has to be later. Two points. An intrusive moralising stanza:

O mother, o mother come sit you down by me
Sit you down by me and pity my plight
My body is injured and sadly disordered
All by a young woman my own heart's delight.

... and that fascinating term, swaddy/squaddie:

    "Here comes that young squaddy whose money we squandered"

I've hit on two transcriptions which use this term -- the other has the term "boondooks", which (to cut a tale)suggests that this version locates in the Boer/South African war of 1905.

Also the flash girls (thus termed -- originally gallows-whores)comes in about then. All-in-all, The Trooper is later ...

Malcolm said:

"
The set GUEST refers to, as quoted by Masato, is not traditional, but is a modern collation put together by Stephen Sedley for his book The Seeds of Love, published in 1967. Sedley provided two tunes; one noted by Hammond in Dorset and the other by Sharp in Somerset; both in the first decade of the 20th century.
"

James Reeves, _The Everlasting Circle_ (1960)provides two texts, "The Sailor Cut Down in his Prime" and a girly version, no title, beginning, "As I was a-walking down by the seaside". Reeves was using texts selected from the Hammond, Sharp and Gardiner notebooks.

"
The text was, to quote him, "collated from a broadside, Hammond's and Gardiner's manuscripts and the version sung by Harry Sladen of Manchester.
"

See above.

"
That is to say, the song; not the form in which he published it. The internet is full of inaccurate or incomplete copies of published material, often placed there by people who have taken at face value things which they have found in books (sometimes without taking the trouble to read the accompanying notes, even where such exist) and, unless a specific source which can be checked is referred to, such things cannot be considered to be of any importance so far as the consideration of the history of a song is concerned.
"

Say that again, thrice. The only primary text I'm even remotely sure on is the Bodleian versions of the Unfortunate Lad.

But it's not just NetWorking that you dead-end on this -- Holloway and Black don't document their source for "The Buck's Elegy". Neither does Root&Branch.

[sigh]

So, where are we? Up the proverbial without a paddle.

I've carved a few days in London next week, when I'll be able to chase stuff in the British Library. At the moment, I'm stuck on secondary material to follow-up, so any suggestions on Things To Look At would be gratefully appreciated.

Also, I've a long write-up (changing by the minute as I feed-in the marvellous material that I've been given in this thread that I hadn't encountered before) on Rake/Laredo generally. It's a bit long to post, but anyone who'd like to see it, mail me, and I could backchannel it as an Attachment.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 02:26 PM

Flash. This word already had several meanings when "A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence" was published in 1811. Much of this was published in the 1754 "The Scoundrels Dictionary, or, an Explanation of the Cant Words used by Thieves, .... .... "and a Collection of Their Flash Songs, with a Proper Glossary" (not seen).
From the 1811 edition-

Flash Panneys- Houses to which thieves and prostitutes resort.
Flash Ken- Same as above. (Found in print in 1700- OED)
Flash Man- A bully to a bawdy house. A whore's bully. (1789 in print, OED, as being a man who lives off prostitutes).
Flash girls is late 18th century. Flash cove, the mistress of a flash house or Flash Ken, in print in 1803 (OED)
Other meanings- "To flash the hash" meant to vomit, "Flash Lingo" meant the canting of slang language. To "patter flash" was to speak the cant.
Flash, in the sense of flashy, seems to have come in a bit later, probably from the fancy dress of a flash man.

Captain- used in several slang terms and references, some with names. A Captain, or "led captain" was "an humble dependent in a great family, who for a precarious subsistence, and distant hopes of preferment, suffers every kind of indignity, and is the butt of every species of joke or ill humour. The small provision for officers of the army and navy in time of peace obliges many in both services to occupy this wretched station." The idea of the appelation is taken from a led horse. (Probably nothing to do with the reference to "Capt. Townsend.")

There are specialists in England in ferreting out information from military records. It is not cheap. There is NO master list by name of officers who have served the Crown. To find naval officers, the search is largely by date (records at Kew, I am about to hire a consultant to find one who emigrated between 1750-1780). I have heard that the search for foot officers is even more difficult; not sure where records are kept.

Malcolm pretty well disposed of the "Trooper" with his explanation of Sedley. One verse, which was almost identical to one in some American versions- made me speculate that it had crossed the water in reverse. Also, I thought, like you, that two versions were mixed here because the styles didn't match.

This leaves us with perhaps mid-19th century at the oldest date. Any more information, if it exists, must come from further study of ephemera.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 08:14 AM

"
Flash. This word already had several meanings when "A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit and Pickpocket Eloquence" was published in 1811. Much of this was published in the 1754 "The Scoundrels Dictionary, or, an Explanation of the Cant Words used by Thieves, .... .... "and a Collection of Their Flash Songs, with a Proper Glossary" (not seen).
From the 1811 edition-
"

Haven't yet chased this, but "the flash girls of the city" seems, as a term, to be local to "The Trooper ..". Coming in about 1905.

The girls are generic -- starts with the gallows-whores in the Irish 1790 fragment, and jumps to the (believe this!) "maidens" of the American Laredo.

But flash girls collocates with squaddie and boondook in "The Trooper .." As far as i know, the term doesn't occur elsewhere in the versions.

So ... unless I'm totally off the wall (which is all too possible) the flash girls contemplating the corpse of the clapped out trooper locate this version in 1905 -- squaddie/boondook/flash girls.

The slang dictionaries I've consulted (OK, Partridge) lock all three terms around a blurred 19thC. Big deal.

{Ah, have we yet raised the interesting segue of the Dead Buck from officer class [whether regular, militia, or marines] to Other Ranks, when he becomes a squaddie?

:-(   }

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 10:06 AM

When I clicked on this, I thought it would be about the old-time song, "Georgie Buck":

"Georgie Buck is dead
"Last words he said
"Don't let a woman have her way!"

"Woman have her way
"She go and stay all day
"Don't let a woman have her way!"

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 05:16 PM

Robin, How you can equate the very old terms flash, swaddy and boondouk with "1905" is beyond me.

Flash girl is 18th century.

Swaddy appears in print in 1812 in a dictionary of Flash (OED); it is very old Br. military and cant slang. Swad also is an old (1754) and perhaps much earlier) cant word for soldier. In the 20th century, swaddy was gradually replaced in Army slang by squad(d)ie.

Boondook-boonduk is Hindustani, (nothing to do with the Boer War), and could have been picked up by British Troopers anytime during their more than three-century-long occupation of India.
(The American word boondocks, from the Tagalog of the Philippines, often confused with it and picked up during the Spanish-American War, ca. 1898-1902, means bush or back country (now widely used in Canada as well).

I am NOT saying that the "Trooper" version is old. The one in the DT wasa probably cobbled together by McColl for his album from several sources and has no useful significance as to age.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 06:04 AM

Guest:

Ouch, yes -- you're right -- I'm wildly overinterpeting.

"
I am NOT saying that the "Trooper" version is old. The one in the DT wasa probably cobbled together by McColl for his album from several sources and has no useful significance as to age.
"

Ouch again -- especially as the McColl text is the only one to contain the term "boondooks". (And I +was+ sloppy here, misplacing it in South Africa. I think I managed to get this tangled in my head with Hardy's "Drummer Hodge" poem.

While swaddy dates from 1812, squaddie dates from 1930. Dunno if this is significant, except that I'd assume the texts which have "swaddy" are earlier, since it's more likely that the less-familiar swaddy would be changed to squaddie rather than vice verse.

So I (unreservedly and embarrasedly) withdraw the 1905 connection.

Also boondooks -- this seems as Guest implies, most likely a Ewan McColl addition.

But -- and taking all the points about the dating of the terms running way back -- there does seem to be a moment when the flash girls enter the thread with the swaddy.

That aside, swaddy/squaddie interests me as it indexes a shift in the status of the dying whatever -- he begins as officer class, but pretty soon becomes distinctly other ranks.

Robin

Oh, I found this among my notes:

This British soldier's variant of the "Rake" ballad is reported as
"...probably the oldest of British barrack-room favorites." Old army
regulars claim that the song originated in the first expeditionary force sent to France during World War I, but it was likewise known among soldiers during the Boer War, as evidenced by MacColl's having heard an almost identical version sung by a ninety-year old actor, Norman Partridge, dating from the South African campaigns.

-- not sure just where i picked that up.

R.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 06:23 AM

Recapping (yet once more) ...

Malcolm wrote:

"
Sedley's notes included the following:

"It originated in the last half of the eighteenth century".

That is to say, the song; not the form in which he published it.
"

As far as I can make out (which I'm coming to realise isn't as far as I though [g]), the earliest extant texts would be the two Irish fragments dated from 1790. Lloyd quotes two quatrains and Lomax (I think) a separate quatrain.

I think this is where the late 18thC / Irish business originates. Then we jump to "The Buck's Elegy", which I'm still assuming is the earliest full version -- obviously deriving from the Irish fragments, but written down in the (early?) nineteenth century, and now located in London. Then "The Unfortunate Lad". Then "The Trooper ..." I'm assuming that the Trooper versions come later as they incorporate new elements -- the flash girls and the swaddy/squaddie.

All this has already been said, I think, so apologies for the repetition, but I'm trying to get it straight in my head.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 08:37 AM

Flash girls ...

Guest writes:

"Flash girl is 18th century."

Just ran this through OED2(3) with -- surprise, surprise -- no luck.

Partidge (as ever) is more to the point.

Historical Slang has:

flash girl, moll, mollisher, piece, woman.

A showy harlot: low: from ca 1820.

... also:

flash-dona. A variant of FLASH GIRL: c.: late C.19-20.

Partridge Dictionary/Underworld omits flash girl but elaborates on flash dona:

A high=flying prostitute, a courtesan: since ca. 1880: by 1910, low s. Ware, 1909. See the separate elements.

So flash girls are first recorded about 1820 [later than Guest's 18th century] as a term (coming out of the whole slush of "flash" cant) as specifically prostitutes.

Which leaves moll, molly, and mollyhouse, which is prolly irrelevant. Moll is obvious, molly carries a gay twist to it, mollyhouse was a gay house of prostitution.

So, if we trust Partridge, flash girls weren't simply girls out for a good time, but specifically prostitutes. Which harks-back to the gallows-whores of the Dublin 1790 fragment.

I think ....

Robin

(I'll run this past Rictor Norton -- it's more than possible he has an earlier usage for flash girls.

R.)


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 29 Oct 02 - 02:21 PM

You have to go to the vulgar dictionaries of the 18th-early 19th c. to find many of these cant words. The OED (through the 1987 Supplements) still omits many of the entries in these compendia, probably to spare our sensibilities. Flash house (house of prostitution), flash cove or flash covess (sometimes abbess- the master or mistress of a flash ken), flash man (the bully: pimp, and bouncer) have all been admitted to the OED, (p. 289 of the letter F in the 1971 edition, I don't know the edition you consulted).
Look for this in addition to the one I cited:
"The Scoundrels Dictionary: or, an Explanation of the Cant Words used by Thieves, House-breakers, Street Robbers, and Pickpockets about Town. To Which are prefixed Some Curious Dissertations on the Art of Wheedling, and a Collection of their Flash Songs, with a Proper Glossary..." Second Ed., London, 1788. It has been reprinted, I understand. The one I quote (1811) is copied from this edition.

Curious- What were the Irish "fragments"? I don't believe that they have been quoted in Mudcat. ???
The first edition, 1785, was written by Capt. Francis Grose, a British antiquarian because he ran short of funds.
More digression: These works define "pig" as a policeman, and "bread" as money, both still in current use.
Among those not entered into the OED (and I don't blame the compilers) are terms such as dingleberry- little balls of excrement hanging around the anus. I am glad that we don't have to suffer the odors of those days.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 12:24 AM

"
Curious- What were the Irish "fragments"? I don't believe that they have been quoted in Mudcat. ???
"

To quote myself ...

1. The Origins – Somewhere in Ireland, 1790

In Dublin in the 1790s, a song called "The Unfortunate Rake" was being sung on the streets. Although (as we shall see) 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". The rake seems to have declined rapidly in social status. In the earliest full text, he is a Buck, almost a synonym for a Rake, in the title, and is clearly officer class as two of his pallbearers are captains. In obviously related but slightly later texts, he has declined in status to the Other Ranks as a squaddy, swaddy, or trooper. The stink of the corpse, kept off by the bunches of red roses carried by the mourners, emphasises that these early versions had the dying man (as will later be the case, before the text is somewhat euphemised in its American versions) dying of syphilis.

The first of these two fragmentary stanzas appears again in "The Trooper Cut Down in His Prime", but there only the comrades carry the coffin – the flash girls of the city watch it as it passes, and moralise on the soldier's fate.

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.

[EndIf]

Robin

(Oh, I'm using the OED2(3) on CD-Rom -- easier to search.It's [I think] technically the third edition -- not quite the latest -- the on-line version, to which I don't have access, adds stuff -- D'oh!)

As to slang, the OED obviously sucks. Partridge is better. I don't have access to primary texts of the 18thC slang dictionaries.

***

Re, "flash girls", Rictor quoth:

Hi Robin,

Nope, I can't think of any usage of "flash girls". They are lots of early eighteenth century references to "flash houses" and "flash kens" (safe houses for thieves and their whores), and to "flash words" (thieves' cant), but I haven't noticed "flash girls" specifically. The word "flash" seems to be used mostly in connection with thieves, and probably (in my view) relates to their cunning and quickness at picking pockets etc. (though some etymologists relate it to their flashy or gaudy style of clothing or bravado etc.).

***

... me, I really like the term flash dona. [g]

R.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 12:57 AM

You don't cite any source for those fragmentary texts. Where are they from, and how do you know that they belong to the 1790s?

The OED is not a universal slang dictionary, so don't expect too much in that line from it. You would probably find the Oxford Dialect Dictionary more helpful, though I don't think that it's available on CDROM; you would probably have to go to a library.

This thread might be shorter and easier to follow if you quoted earlier posts less and concentrated on answering, and asking, questions succinctly and unambiguously.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 02:49 AM

Malcolm:

"
You don't cite any source for those fragmentary texts. Where are they from, and how do you know that they belong to the 1790s?
"

The two stanzas are from A.L.Lloyd, _Folk Song in England_. The single stanza is from Alan Lomax (ed.), Folk Song U.S.A (Signet Classics, 1966), pp.248-250. As to the dating, I've taken this from Lloyd and Lomax.

"
This thread might be shorter and easier to follow if you quoted earlier posts less and concentrated on answering, and asking, questions succinctly and unambiguously.
"

Mea culpa.

Robin

(Actually, comes to succinct, wherefrom do you date "The Rake's Lament"? And we haven't even begun on the girly versions. (I think elsewhere Malcolm references Penguin to this.)

And that's even before we jump the Pond -- Blind Willie McTell and EmmyLou Harris,

I've had my nose rubbed in it that I seem to be profoundly non-linear, but dear god in heaven, this is the first time I've been accused of being un-succinct.

Mostly the opposite accusation runs.

:-(

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 12:08 PM

Knowing where material was quoted from really does help. In this case, Lloyd quotes two verses of The Unfortunate Rake, selected because the previous song discussed was The Flash Lad, which also ends with a military-style funeral. He then comments, "This song was heard in Dublin in the 1790s". He doesn't give a source for the two verses quoted, but there's no particular reason to think that he is saying that those two verses in particular are from 1790s Dublin; merely that the song in general can be traced back that far. The same superficial ambiguity occurs in the notes to the Sedley collation mentioned earlier, and has, as we have seen, led to some confusion.

So far as I know, (not having seen the Lomax book) the dating to 1790 derives initially from Patrick Weston Joyce; in his Old Irish Folk Music and Songs (1909) he reproduces one stanza, with tune, noting "From Mr. W. Aldwell of Cork ("Dec. 17, 1848"), who heard air and song sung in Cork about the year 1790. He remembered one verse of the song, which, as Forde remarks, is curious for the absense of rhyme".

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

Distant memory is not always the best way of dating songs; really, all we have here is hearsay. It seems that the same tune was printed in Crosby's Irish Musical Repository in 1808 (ref. David Atkinson, The Unfortunate Rake, in Root and Branch no.1, 1999) but that doesn't necessarily mean that it belonged to the Unfortunate Rake at that time. Only someone who has seen the book could tell us more about that.

When I Was On Horseback, incidentally, was recorded by Peter Kennedy from the traveller Mary Doran, near Belfast in July (according to Kennedy; the Roud Index gives it as August) 1952. It appears to be the only example found of that particular branch, which may have to be considered -unless someone comes up with another- a dead-end for your purposes.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 12:23 PM

The tune "The Unfortunate Rake", from Crosby's 'Irish Music Repository', 1808, is given as an ABC, T060 in file T1.ABC at
www.erols.com/olsonw.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Oct 02 - 12:38 PM

Thankyou, Bruce.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 05:45 AM

Malcolm said:

"
When I Was On Horseback, incidentally, was recorded by Peter Kennedy from the traveller Mary Doran, near Belfast in July (according to Kennedy; the Roud Index gives it as August) 1952. It appears to be the only example found of that particular branch, which may have to be considered -unless someone comes up with another- a dead-end for your purposes."

You mean the same as here?

I'd always assumed that:

When I was on horseback, wasn't I pretty?
When I was on horseback, wasn't I gay?
Wasn't I pretty when I entered Cork City
And met with my downfall on the fourteenth of May?

... was a backformation by SS from Laredo:

Twas once in the saddle I used to go dashing,
Twas once in the saddle I used to go gay.
First to the dram-house, and then to the card-house,
Got shot in the breast, and I'm dying today.

... but a 1952 dating would counter this. Also, unless the Mary Doran text is simply identical to the Steeleye Span song, that would give two texts.

Robin.

[At which point I glumly consider how to deal with Malcolm's elegant demolition-job on the 1790 dating. For some lunatic reason, mostly to do with my hitting the wrong key on the photocopier, I seem to have ended up with a 87% reduction of Lloyd. Which I can't read. I'll see if I can OCR this, and post the relevant bit which Malcolm summarised.

Lomax I was given second-hand by the Irish poet Trevor Joyce. Malcolm's 1808 dating would obviously pre-date this. Though I'm becoming more and more suspicious of Atkinson's Root&Branch piece. Leave alone it's printed on an A3 sheet which is a total bugger to try to scan.

So (if Malcolm will forgive me yet more repetition) we're now at the point where the very beginning of the tradition, the two 1790s Irish fragments, are challenged. And the only primary text which has come up is the Bodleian scan of "The Unfortunate Lad".



Has Blind Willie's "The Dying Crapshooter's Blues" ever been lodged on Mudcat?

Off to OCR Lloyd ...

R.]


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: IanC
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 05:55 AM

Lloyd's 2 verses were just given as an example of the song. All he says is that "the song was heard in Dublin in the 1790s". The confusion lies with the fact that this comes immediately after the 2 verses. There is no suggestion that the verses and the phrase are related.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: Robin
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 07:21 AM

"
Lloyd's 2 verses were just given as an example of the song. All he says is that "the song was heard in Dublin in the 1790s". The confusion lies with the fact that this comes immediately after the 2 verses. There is no suggestion that the verses and the phrase are related.

:-)
"

Actually, there are more problems than this.

"
Moreover, the text of "The flash lad" recalls a still hardier song, for the 'Tyburn Fair' aspect with its ordering of a ceremonial funeral connects the dashing young blade to the soldier dying of wounds received not on the battlefield but in Venus's train, who demands to go down with more than military honours, as described in the ballad called "The unfortunate rake":

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!'

The song was heard in Dublin in the 1790s, and a version of the tune was printed, in London in 1808 but the first full text of it appeared only on a Such broadside of the 1860s though the piece was probably a good century old by then (oddly enough, a broadside of it had appeared in Czech before it emerged in print on the London streets).

[A.L.Lloyd, _Folksong in England_ (London, 1967), pp. 219-220]

Problem One: The wording Lloyd gives above doesn't +quite+ correspond to the version he's given as singing on the Folkways record:

"Get six young soldiers to carry my coffin,
Six young girls to sing me a song,
And each of them carry a bunch of green laurel
So they don't smell me as they bear me along.

"Don't muffle your drums, and play your fifes merrily,
Play a quick march as you carry me along,
And fire your bright muskets all over my coffin,
Saying: There goes an unfortunate lad to his home."

Full text here

But the wording is close enough that we can presume that Lloyd was referring to this.   

So bang go the two 1790s Dublin quatrains -- as IanC points out, what we have here is confused wording.

But there's still a problem around a song titled "The Unfortunate Rake". Is there a broadside printing? Are there any versions independent of Lloyd? It's not, I still think, the earliest printed version.

Lloyd writes:

"
the first full text of it appeared only on a Such broadside of the 1860s
"

This is presumably a reference to "The Unfortunate Lad" Such broadsheets. But were these the earliest? Wasn't "The Buck's Elegy" earlier?

[And has anyone come on a cite to the Buck other than in Holloway and Black or Root&Branch?]

So dismissing the two so-called Dublin 1790s stanzas as a ghost, can we still sustain the 1790 Cork quatrain that Malcolm referenced?

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

Sorry to keep on recapping, which I realise irritates the hell out of Malcolm , but I'm thinking aloud and trying to get this straight in my head.

So where are we now?

A possible 1790s Cork quatrain.

Then, sequentially, dating from London in the early/mid 19thC:

The Buck's Elegy
The Unfortunate Lad
The Trooper Cut Down in his Prime

... and "The Rake's Lament" somehow mixed in here.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 08:05 AM

A slightly earlier copy of the tune "The Unfortunate Rake" is known. For the source of it, and commentary on American spin-offs of the song see the Ballad-L Archives (use Google) for October, 1999.


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: IanC
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 08:25 AM

Thanks Bruce.

To save people from wasting time searching for it, here's the appropriate bit

It was poisoning from the mercury salts used to treat syphilis that killed him. See "The Buck's Elegy", c 1800?, in Holloway and Black's 'Later English Broadside Ballads', I, #17. The song is widely noted to have come from "The Unfortune Rake", but there are no known extant copies as old as that of "The Buck's Elegy".

The tune of "The Unfortunate Rake" is reprinted from an Irish collection published by Smollet Holden, c 1805, as #4584 in 'Sources of Irish Traditional Music", 1998. According to Phillips Barry in BFSSNE the most common tune is derived from the 2nd half of the old Irish tune.

"The Buck's Elegy" version has no analog to the verses quoted above. Note that venereal disease is always taken to be the woman's fault. Do they buy it as seeds and grow it from scratch?


In answer to your question, the answer is - of course - that men (almost) invariably caught it from a woman ... it's a case of "shoot the messenger". In the case of the song, he's also usually complaining that she should have told him about it sooner, then he would have been able to get a cure.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 08:45 AM

The tune titled "The Unfortunate Rake" in Holden (c. 1805) [#4584 in Sources of Irish Traditional Music] is a "double jig", but the same tune in Holden's Collection of the Most Esteem'd Old Irish Melodies (c. 1807) [#4695] seems to be a song; only one line is given in SITM: "Oh! many a Mountain I wearily measure." "The Wandering Harper" in Crosby's The Irish Musical Repository (1808) is given this tune ("Air--The unfortunate rake") [#4806].

~Masato


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 09:07 AM

The tune, SITM #4695, is not given in SITM, but is noted to be the same as SITM #4584. SITM #4806, that in Crosby's Irish Musical Repository is also not given in SITM, but is also indicated to be the same as SITM #4584. Note that SITM deletes slurs, except when they extend the time of a single note, so their tunes aren't always exactly as originally published (or given in some MS).


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Subject: RE: BUCK'S ELEGY -- A corrupt text?
From: masato sakurai
Date: 31 Oct 02 - 09:16 AM

GUEST, thanks.


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