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GUEST,Karen Help: The Unfortunate Rake (116* d) RE: Help: The Unfortunate Rake 21 Jun 18


Thanks, Lighter. To respond to your posts in reverse order:

I have seen Barry's 2nd article. I didn't mention it before as I was trying to keep it brief.

When he says 'current in Ireland about 1790' he must be referring to the Jewel fragment, which he linked to The Unfortunate Lad in his first article. The date cannot be a coincidence, and I don't know of any other explanation for it. What do you think?

He quotes a 'Don't muffle your drums' final verse, the same one he quotes in his first article, in which he attributed it to Such. But in the second article he doesn't give any source for it. So I'm assuming it's Such again.

I do note the 'lad' in the ending, thanks. But I also note he is calling the song 'The Unfortunate Rake', something he never explains in either article.

He also calls the funeral request 'a request for a military funeral'. This may be where Lloyd gets the idea/way of discussing/summarising the request.

I have looked and looked for information about 'military funerals', and as far as I can find out, there basically was no such thing for your ordinary squaddy, only for famous people eg Dukes and such like.

I know that drums and fifes were military instruments, but asking people to play these (or even a dead march) does not amount to a request for a 'military funeral'. I had several ancestors who were musicians in the army and when they left it they/the ones who survived their service continued to play but this did not make their concerts 'military' occasions, even though the same instruments were used (saxophone in one case!) My point here is that the way people have written about old songs isn't always strictly descriptive.

Re the first post: amazing thoroughness! As far as my own quest for an early song related to 'The Unfortunate Lad' but called The Unfortunate Rake (which I am thinking is doomed), some dead ends.


I think I've come across the wandering harper, which to me has a 19th century sentimental vibe to it, but obviously I am no expert and may be completely wrong. Or I may even have read this somewhere. Happy for further information from anybody kind enough to provide it.


Re the Cambridge University Library: do you suppose they'll dig it out if phoned up? Because I'm itching to see this! Though my guess is that if this was relevant somebody would have dug it out by now, such is the interest that has been shown in this song over the years!

The last one is interesting. Completely new one for me; Canada again, I note. As nobody I have read mentions this one, it cannot be the source of their belief(s) that The Unfortunate Lad was originally called The Unfortunate Rake, even if it was the same song. But we shall never know!

Bishop and Roud have a version in their book of English Folk Songs, and they think the song probably dates from about 1740 but say there is no evidence to support this idea, so I don't know where they pulled this date from. I did think of writing to ask them about it!

Interested that there was a 'different' song called 'The Unfortunate Rake' because I had been thinking it would be surprising if there were not such a song somewere as the Rake was a popular cultural term, fashionable for a while, eg The Rake's Progress cartoons.

Thank you again.


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