Ratcatcher's Daughter, The
DESCRIPTION: "Not long ago, in Vestminster," a beautiful ratcatcher's daugher is courted by many. She prefers a sand-seller. They plan to marry. She falls into the Thames and dies (of the foul water?). He kills himself. The inquest says she died of "too much vet."
AUTHOR: reportedly Edward Bradly & Sam Cowell with additional lyrics by Charles Sloman, according to various non-scholarly internet sources
EARLIEST DATE: before 1866 (Bodleian broadside Harding B 11(416), etc.) (but see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: love courting suicide death river humorous
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1966, p. 132, "The Rat-Catcher's Daughter" (2 references)
ADDITIONAL: Leslie Shepard, _The Broadside Ballad_, Legacy Books, 1962, 1978, p. 152, "The Ratcatcher's Daughter" (reproduction of a broadside page)
Aline Waites & Robin Hunter, _The Illustrated Victorian Songbook_, Michael Joseph Ltd., 1984, pp. 69-71, "The Ratcatcher's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune, plus a reproduction of an early sheet music cover)
Bodleian,Harding B 11(416), "The Ratcatcher's Daughter" ("In Westminster, not long ago "), J. Harkness (Preston), 1840-1866; also Firth b.34(253)=Harding B 11(3233)=Harding B 15(252b)=Johnson Ballads 3320 ("Not long ago, in Vestministier"); Harding B 19(29); 2806 c.13(120); Harding B 11(415); Firth c.18(229); Harding B 11(3234); 2806 c.15(24); Firth c.18(228); Firth b.27(457/458)
NLScotland, L.C.Fol.178.A.2(081) , "The Rat-Catcher's Daughter," unknown, n.d.
NOTES: According to one of the broadsides listed on p. 132 of WolfAmericanSongSheets, this was "Sung by John Winans of the Bowery Theatre, With Tremendous Applause." He was not, however, the original singer; that distinction appears to have belonged to Sam Cowell (for whom see the notes to "Billy Barlow (II)".
Whatever its source, the piece was popular enough that, in 1858, Charles Dodgson ("Lewis Carroll"), when taking a series of photos of the actor Quintin Twiss in the summer of 1858, included one titld "The Rat-catcher's Daughter"; a small reproduction is in Roger Taylor and Edward Wakeling, Lewis Carroll: Photographer, Princeton University Press, 2002, p. 152 (which also claims that there was a "verse mime by Harold E. Priestley" which inspired the photo. A very quick Google search failed to turn up any sign of such a piece by Priestley). - RBW
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