Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

A Collection Of Traditional & Folk Songs of the area with Lyrics & Commentaries -online book

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Poor Old Horse
This song, of English origin but adapted by tradition to localities in Maine, was originally sung as part of a sailors' ceremony known as "the burial of the dead horse," a full account of which (with a text of the song) is given by Evelyn A. Melvill Richards in Folk-Lore, 1897, VIII, 281-283. F°r English texts (with tune) see also Bullen and Arnold, Songs of Sea Labour, No. 29, p. 25; Tozer, Sailors* Songs, 3d ed., No. 47, pp. 88-89; Whall, Sea Songs and Shanties, 4th ed., p. 119; Sharp, English Folk-Chanteys, No. 47, p. 52. It has often been used as a chantey. A fragmentary American text (with tune) may be found in Admiral Luce's Naval Songs, 2d ed., 1902, p. 224.
A somewhat similar song ("Poor Old Horse"), though quite distinct from this, is current in England. See Sharp, One Hun­dred English Folksongs, pp. xxxix, 196-197; Sharp, English Folk Songs, Selected Edition, II, xviii, 88-89; Sharp, Folk-Songs of England, IV, 16-17; Sharp and Marson, Folk Songs from Somerset, I, 54; Baring-Gould and Sharp, English Folk-Songs for Schools, No. 20, pp. 42-43. This is common in recent English broadsides (Forth, Pocklington; J. Livsey, Manchester, No. 240; Bebbington, Manchester, No. 140; Cadman, Manchester, No. 23)) but the oldest printed text recorded is in a Boston, Massachusetts, broadside in the Isaiah Thomas collection (formed in 1813) in the library of the American Antiquarian Society (II, 120), "My Old Horse."
THE POOR OLD HORSE
This little chantey, Professor L. M. Merrill {Orono, Maine) says, was taught him by his mother. He adds, "/ understand that the song was once in general use along the New England coast." "Saccarappa" was the old name of Westbrook, Maine.
I "Old horse, old horse/how came you here?" "From Saccarap to Portland pier I Ve carted stone for many a year.






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