Humble Beggar, The
DESCRIPTION: "In Scotland lived a humble beggar ... weel liket by ilka bodie." At his wake were "lads and lasses o' high degree." When they go to bury him he knocks on the coffin and jumps out. They all run, but he runs fastest "and he helpit to drink his ain dirgie"
EARLIEST DATE: 1776 (Herd)
KEYWORDS: funeral drink begging humorous
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Greig #31, p. 2, "The Humble Beggar" (1 text)
Whitelaw-Song, pp. 443-444, "The Humble Beggar" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs (Edinburgh, 1829 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol I, pp. 124-125, "The Humble Beggar" (1 text)
Allan Cunningham, The Songs of Scotland, Ancient and Modern, (London, 1825 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol III, pp. 31-32, "The Humble Beggar" (1 text)
Robert Ford, editor, Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland [first series] (Paisley, 1899), pp. 227-228, "The Humble Beggar" (1 text)
David Herd, editor, Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. (Edinburgh, 1870 (reprint of 1776) ("Digitized by Google")), Vol II, pp. 28-30, "The Humble Beggar" (1 text)
cf. "The Irish Wake" [Laws Q18] (theme of a dead man leaving his coffin)
NOTES: Chambers: "First published in Herd's Collection, but certainly much more ancient. I have heard it sung by old people who were not likely to have seen Herd's Collection." Chambers here agrees with Cunningham's evaluation.
Cunningham: "The hero seems to have been a kind of martial mendicant, who obtained alms by other means than intercession; his horn and his kale goolie made the impatience of his friends for his interment very justifiable. The joy and sorrow at his lyke-wake is a very just picture of other times, when, according to the proverb, more mirth was found at the end of a funeral than at the beginning of a wedding." - BS
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