minstrel: Tom O'Bedlam

Katherine Penney Katherine_Penney at ccm.jf.intel.com
Fri Feb 7 20:17:00 PST 1997


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     <snip>
However, I feel certain that it was something reasonably scholarly, and 
that the version I collected was attested to be an in-period version and 
the one to which Shakespeare referred.  I wish I could be more specific, 
but I can't.
     Shakespeare and Pepys both referred to Barbara Allen, is that proper 
     documentation for the versions available to me?  I've heard "Twa 
     Corbies is period because there was a broadside published in 1611 with 
     a similar storyline called Three Ravens"....  *sigh*
PS the tune commonly used for Mad Maudlin is modern, not the one published 
in D'Urfey's _Pills to Purge Melancholy_.
     I don't think D'Urfey should be used to document "PERIOD" music since 
     many of the tunes in D'Urfey (several versions published around 1700, 
     earliest 1698?)
=Tamar the Gypsy (sharing account dickeney at access.digex.net)
     I've pasted the lyrics you contributed that someone verified as being 
     from Tom O'Bedlam (this makes me more suspicious...
     that Tom O'Bedlam was mixed with the latter version's                 
     verses...  I've added comments with a C: in the verses below.

Of your five sound senses,
You'll never be forsaken,
Nor wander from yourself with Tom,
Abroad to beg your bacon.

        C:  Hey, notice that the rhyme patterns are 
        different between this first verse and all the others?  The 
        "second" verse with the internal rhyme in 
        the third line feels much more modern than the first.

The night's my constant mistress,
And the lonely owl my marrow,
The flamin' drake, and the night-crow make,
        C:  Both of these animals sound pretty supernatural,
        which makes me suspect it isn't the original version.
        It is very rare that a supernatural being will
        be found in a DOCUMENTABLY period British Isles song or story.
        Ghosts, maybe.  Unicorns, ok.  Fiends?  Not that I've seen.
Me music to their sorrow.
        
I know more than Appollo,
Far off when he lies sleepin'
        C: this isn't so arguable, in Shakespeare's time, Greek 
        poets (SENECA ESPECIALLY) were very influential...
        (course, I don't know if Apollo is greek, he's oop as far
        as I care!!!!)
I see the stars of mortal wars,
        C: I suspect this phrase, too *mystic*....
And the wounded welkin weeping.
        C: A Welkin is a fiend of some sort, again suspicion.

With a host of furious fancies, 
        C:  Is a fancy a fiend?  I don't get this line... :)
Whereof I am commander,
With a flaming spear, and a horse of air,
        C: Hmm...another supernatural animal...
Through the wilderness I wander

A knight of ghosts and shadows,
        C: Here is a word play that I don't see to be pre 17th century.
I summoned am to tourney,
Ten leagues beyond the wide world's en



oops.  I guess I didn't copy the whole thing...but you see what I mean?
I'd date THESE lyrics (I'm not saying that Tom O Bedlam or its tune is 
oop!) around 1700 too...too much mysticism and supernatural reference...

Does anyone else feel this way?  Tangwystl, can you document the meter?

Constance (Who needs to take a poetry history class sooner or later)

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To: Heather Rose Jones <hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu>
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