DESCRIPTION: "Weary soul, why you da come back? ... You went to de river An' you couldn' get across, So you went to de river An' you come back"
EARLIEST DATE: 1940 (Elder-Charlotteville)
KEYWORDS: death river ritual religious ghost
FOUND IN: West Indies(Tobago)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Elder-Charlotteville, pp. 41-42,53, "Weary Soul" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Elder-Tobago 44, "Weary Soul" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [139 words]: The current description is based on the Elder-Charlotteville texts. Elder-Charloteville has two very different explanations for this song (both are reflected in the keywords):
"[It is a] famous Tobago song of a ghost that returned because of unsettled quarrels.... It is a matter for shame if a villager's relative dies and is seen 'walkin' about the village.' The view is that in life he was so sinful that 'he has no restin' place'" (pp. 41-43).
"The sect known in the Caribbean as Spiritual Baptist sing this beautiful song to welcome the initiate (newly baptized) when he comes off the 'mourning ground' -- when he has mourned and made his spiritual journey -- 'went to the river' and returned" (p. 53).
The line "went to the river and I couldn't get across" appears in other contexts. See, for example, "Went to the River"(I). - BS
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