To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
7 messages

Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry

16 Jun 14 - 04:25 PM (#3633677)
Subject: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: GUEST,Shay

I have been collecting and sharing songs for many years now and, as we all know, many traditional songs extol the virtue of waiting faithfully for one's lover after him being many years away in the wars or at sea. Often when the lover returns there is a broken token which is presented and, in what appears to be the ultimate cruelty, the lover will often say that he saw the holder of the broken token die a cruel gory death on the battlefield or drowned and lost at sea.

Sometimes the returnee will attempt to seduce the bereft woman (always a woman!) in an effort to prove her "faithfulness", even in the face of the news of the death of her man. Of course, it always turns out to be a ploy to discover if the lover left at home has been loyal and constant. And there are very many songs on this theme, about remaining true and faithful to one's lover, and there is no doubt that this is seen as a desirable trait in one's prospective partner.

I know there are some songs about cuckoldry, and this is often seen as something negative. My question is, are there any songs about compersion? This is a relatively new word and it means the feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship. It is often contrasted with and described as the opposite of jealousy. I haven't found any trad songs with this theme, but are there even modern folk songs with this premise? I am guessing that the leitmotif is different from candaulism or cuckoldry, or maybe a derivation of both.

Thoughts from Mudcatters?

16 Jun 14 - 05:10 PM (#3633693)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: Steve Gardham

There are hundreds of songs on cuckoldry particularly from the 17th century, looked at from all angles, but thickos like me need a little more explanation of these strange new words.

'Compersion' The act of compering under duress?

'Candaulism' The mind boggles! Dildauls and candles spring to mind.

16 Jun 14 - 10:42 PM (#3633754)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: Howard Kaplan

The French traditional song "Brave marin revient de guerre" comes close to the idea under discussion. I can't find an English version, but here are some excerpts from a slight improvement to the Google Translate approximation to an English version, derived from what some web site claims is the French version that Nana Moskouri sings:

What ails you, the beautiful hostess?
Do you regret your white wine,
The sailor drinks in passing.

It's not my wine I regret
But it is the death of my husband
Sir, you look like him.

Tell me, the beautiful hostess,
You had had three children,
You have six now.

Someone wrote with the news,
He was dead and buried,
And I remarried.

Brave sailor emptied his glass...
He returned to his building.

17 Jun 14 - 09:54 AM (#3633916)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: Richard Mellish

I'm with Steve in being bemused by these new (?) technical terms. But Bob Davenport's song Down the Long Road comes close. Man M returns, finds lover has married his brother, pretends to be someone else who saw M die, and walks off down the long road.

17 Jun 14 - 01:44 PM (#3633969)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: Steve Gardham

That's interesting, Richard. Isn't that more or less the same story as Howard just gave from the French? I wonder if there is some connection. Have we got DTLR in the DT? I've heard Bob sing many times and indeed have sung with him but I don't remember this one.

Incidentally there are several 17thc cuckold songs in which the cuckold encourages his wife for various reasons.

And come to think of it, there is a later song about a miller who comes home while the lover is hiding in a cupboard. The miller in the dark puts on lover's trousers that are stuffed with money. In fact this story is retold with different occupations involved, and usually the recipient of the money is quite happy with the situation.

Then there are the double cuckold pieces where cuckolded man either in disguise or sometimes not goes over to lover's house and gets in with his wife. Sometimes the lover's wife is complicit, sometimes she mistakes him for her husband in the dark. In some versions they all have a good laugh afterwards.

Then there is the ballad where the old husband is away from home and the lover gets the whole female household with child. They all give birth on the same day and the husband laughs at the joke.

This may all be irrelevant to the new terminology, but hey ho, what fun!

17 Jun 14 - 01:47 PM (#3633971)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: Jack Campin

Joseph was an old man,        
And an old man was he ...

17 Jun 14 - 02:08 PM (#3633979)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Compersion, candaulism and cuckoldry
From: Steve Gardham

Nice one, Jack, but the problem with that one (if it is indeed Cherry Tree) is that Joseph was far from happy with the situation, at least in the song. 'let him that got you in this state get you a cherry!'