Begone Dull Care
DESCRIPTION: "Begone dull care, I prithee be gone from me, Begone dull care, thou and I shall never agree; long time thou hast been tarrying here, and fain though wouldst me kill...." The singer warns of how excess care can age and weary its victims
EARLIEST DATE: 1877 (Bell-Combined)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Bell-Combined, p. 463, "Begone Dull Care" (1 text)
NLScotland, L.C.178.A.2(256), "Begone Dull Care," unknown, c. 1860
Clear the Track! ("Begone, Fillmore! I prethee, begone from me") (Lawrence, p. 334)
NOTES [184 words]: The notes in at the National Library of Scotland site claim this dates back to the reign of James II and VII (1685-1688/1689), without offering secondary evidence (perhaps they base it on the language?). The notes also report that it might be derived from a French piece. Finally, they claim it is popular. Popular it does indeed seem to have been, with broadside printers. Field collections are, however, few -- possibly only two, both of which look as if they might be derived from print.
I've also seen a claim on the web that it is derived from a French chanson. Based on one of the tunes I found on the web, said alleged French chanson would appear to be "Plaisir d'Amour." There are two "howevers," though. First, "Plaisir d'Amour" was supposedly written in 1780, not in the reign of James II (although the by-blow "In My Garden Grew Plenty of Thyme" sounds earlier). Second, while the melody of "Begone" certainly has points of contact with "Plaisir," the version of "Begone" that I have most often heard is not the same melody as "Plaisir." This seems to imply, at minimum, some folk processing. - RBW
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