Wrap Me Up in My Tarpaulin Jacket
DESCRIPTION: A dying sailor [lumberjack, stockman] bids his comrades farewell, asking them to "wrap me up" in his work clothing and make other arrangements for his funeral. (He recalls his early life and hopes to sleep undisturbed)
EARLIEST DATE: before 1826 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 25(1594))
KEYWORDS: dying death funeral burial sailor logger shepherd
FOUND IN: Britain Canada(Newf) US Australia
REFERENCES (16 citations):
Friedman, p. 439, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text)
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 90-91, 226, "The Dying Stockman"; pp. 118-119, "The Dying Bagman" (3 texts, 3 tunes); also probably pp. 264-265, "Cant-Hook and Wedges" (2 texts)
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 170-171, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 221-223, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text)
AndersonStory, pp. 232-233, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text, 1 tune, plus another "Dying Stockman" poem from about the same time)
Sandburg, pp. 436-437, "Wrap Me Up in My Tarpaulin Jacket and The Handsome Young Airman" (2 short texts, 1 tune, with the "A" text going here and the "B" text being "The Dying Aviator")
Thorp/Fife XIII, pp. 148-190 (29-30), "Cow Boy's Lament" (22 texts, 7 tunes, the "K" text being in fact a version of "The Old Stable Jacket")
Manifold-PASB, pp. 82-83, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 281-282, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greenleaf/Mansfield 47, "Tarpaulin Jacket" (2 texts)
Leach-Labrador 98, "Jolly Best Lad" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 880-881, "A Rambling Young Fellow" (1 text, 1 tune)
Huntington-Gam, pp. 148-149, "Tarpaulin Jacket" (1 text, 2 tunes, not very much like the usual versions)
ADDITIONAL: Kenneth Lodewick, "'The Unfortunate Rake" and His Descendants,'" article published 1955 in _Western Folklore_; republished on pp. 87-98 of Norm Cohen, editor, _All This for a Song_, Southern Folklife Collection, 2009
A. K. MacDougall, _An Anthology of Classic Australian Lore_ (earlier published as _The Big Treasury of Australian Foiklore_), The Five Mile Press, 1990, 2002, p. 237, "The Dying Stockman" (1 text)
Frank Crumit, "Wrap Me Up in My Tarpaulin Jacket" (HMV [UK] B-8032, c. 1933)
John Greenway, "The Dying Stockman" (on JGreenway01)
Tex Morton, "Wrap Me Up With My Stockwhip and Blanket" (Regal Zonophone [Australia] G22904, n.d.)
Bodleian, Harding B 25(1594)[some illegible words], "The Rakish Young Fellow," Angus (Newcastle), 1774-1825 ; also Harding B 11(3215), Harding B 16(218b), Harding B 25(1595)[some illegible words], Harding B 16(219a), Harding B 11(1211), Harding B 11(3216), Firth c.22(67)[almost entirely illegible but what is legible is recognizable as this song], Harding B 11(680), "[The] Rakish Young Fellow"
cf. "The Dying Aviator"
The Old Stable (Sable) Jacket
NOTES: Compare the modern song "Fiddler's Green," which may have been inspired by this piece.
The number of parodies of this piece ("The Dying Stockman," "The Dying Lumberman") is astonishing, but most seem to have evolved rather than being deliberate rewrites. The Australian version known as "Cant-Hook and Wedges" claims to be an exception; the informants claim to have written it. Certainly the piece has modern elements (e.g. a reference to the Model T Ford), but one is still inclined to doubt that it was created deliberately.
On the other hand, Gwenda Beed Davey and Graham Seal, A Guide to Australian Folklore, Kangaroo Press, 2003, p. 94, claim that "The Dying Stockman" was "Probaby adapted by Horace Flower in the 1890s from any number of similar songs in English-language tradition," but they identify it as being from the "Unfortunate Rake" family, mentioning "Tarpaulin Jacker" only secondarily. - RBW
The contemplator.com Songs of England site has a version beginning "A tall stalwart lancer lay dying" with a note that "This appears in the Scottish Student's Handbook. The words were written by G. J. Whyte-Melville (1821-1878). The air was written by Charles Coote."
It is too easy to get hung up on the "wrap me up" line as a unique marker. In Peacock the line is just to "dress up in blue jacket and trousers," but that is the only substantial difference between Peacock and the broadsides. - BS
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