Death is a Melancholy Call [Laws H5]

DESCRIPTION: The singer observes a young man dying as a result of a dissolute life. Both the youth and his friends are frightened by the prospect of hell. The singer concludes with a stock exhortation to repent
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1906 (Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety)
KEYWORDS: death farewell Hell youth
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Laws H5, "Death is a Melancholy Call"
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 464-465, "Death is a Melancholy Call (3 texts)
Randolph 595, "The Dying Youth" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, p. 95, "The Lost Youth" (1 text)
Richardson/Spaeth-AmericanMountainSongs, p. 63, "Death, What A Solemn Call" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #655
cf. "The Dying Boy" (theme)
cf. "Wicked Polly" [Laws H6] (theme)
Awful, Awful, Awful
NOTES [80 words]: Many versions of this piece have the tragicomic refrain "And it's awful, awful, awful...."
Not to be confused with "Death 'Tis a Melancholy Day."
Barry wrote a study of this piece and "Wicked Polly," treating them as variants (male and female, presumably) of the same piece. The moral is of course the same, and they use the same metrical form -- but I can't see any actual dependence in the lyrics. This is the sort of piece that humorless moralists could crank out endlessly. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: LH05

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