Old Dog Tray
DESCRIPTION: "The morning of life is past, And evening comes at last, It brings me dreams of a once happy day... Sporting with my old dog Tray." The singer notes that people come and go, but dogs stay faithful. He concludes he will never have a better friend
AUTHOR: Stephen C. Foster
EARLIEST DATE: 1853
KEYWORDS: dog age nonballad
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Thompson-Pioneer 67, "Old Dog Tray" (1 text)
WolfAmericanSongSheets, #1701, pp. 114-115, "Old Dog Tray" (3 references)
Emerson, p. 52, "Old Dog Tray" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 396, "Old Dog Tray" (1 text)
LOCSheet, sm1853 740400, "Old Dog Tray," Firth, Pond and Co (New York), 1853 (1 text, 1 tune)
LOCSinging, sb30371a, "Old Dog Tray," J. Andrews (New York), 1853-1859; also as110140, "Old Dog Tray"
Old Dog Tray No. 2 ("The morning meal is past, the next is coming fast") (WolfAmericanSongSheets, p. 115)
The Volunteer Fireman ("The Evening hour doth wane") (WolfAmericanSongSheets, p. 167)
NOTES: "Tray" for some reason seems to have been a popular name for dogs in the early nineteenth century. Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) wrote a piece called "My Dog Tray," about a dog faithful to his Irish master, with enough thematic similarities to this that I suspect dependence. And there seems to have been another My Dog Tray" piece by John Bryon. Also, Henry Randall Waite, Carmina Collegensia: A Complete Collection of the Songs of the American Colleges first edition 1868, expanded edition, Oliver Ditson, 1876, p. 17, prints a brief "Old Dog Tray" text: "Old dog Tray, ever faithful, Grief cannot drive him away...."
According to Deems Taylor et al, A Treasury of Stephen Foster, Random House, 1946, p. 103, "With the possible exception of Oh! Susanna, Old Dog Tray ranked next in popularity in the 1850's to Old Folks at Home and My Old Kentucky Home. In less than four years it earned over a thousand dollars. According to Stephen's brother, Morrison, 'Tray' was a real dog, a handsome setter which had been given to Stephen by Colonel Matthew I. Stewart, a friend of the Foster family. At that time the Fosters lived in a house facing the East Common of Allegheny, and Stephen loved to watch this dog playing with the children on the Common." - RBW
Broadside LOCSinging sb30371a: J. Andrews dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
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