Lady Franklin's Lament (The Sailor's Dream) [Laws K9] -- Part 01

DESCRIPTION: A sailor has a dream (. He hears Lady Franklin) telling of the loss of her husband, who disappeared in Baffin's Bay as he sought the Northwest Passage. He never returned, and is presumed dead, but Lady Franklin would give a great fortune to be certain
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1861 (Journal of the Morning Light); broadside versions probably date from the period 1850-1853
KEYWORDS: sailor wife death exploration Eskimo
1845-1847 - Lord Franklin's final expedition
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar,Newf,Ont) Britain(Scotland) Ireland
REFERENCES (17 citations):
Laws K9, "Lady Franklin's Lament (The Sailor's Dream)"
Doerflinger-SongsOfTheSailorAndLumberman, pp. 145-147, "Lady Franklin's Lament" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Colcord-SongsOfAmericanSailormen, pp. 158-159, "Franklin's Crew" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/Mills/Blume-CanadasStoryInSong, pp. 154-156, "The Franklin Expedition" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H815, p. 103, "Franklin the Brave" (1 text, 1 tune)
Huntington-TheGam-MoreSongsWhalemenSang, pp. 178-179, "Lady Franklin's Lament for Her Husband" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #86, p. 2, "Lady Franklin's Lament" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan1 16, "Lady Franklin's Lament" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #14, "Franklin's Crew" (1 text, 1 tune, with the text mostly made from broadsides)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 151, "The Franklin Expedition" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Blondahl-NewfoundlandersSing, pp. 65-66, "Franklin In Search of the North-West Passage" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, p. 145, "Franklin and His Ship's Crew"; p. 146, "Franklin and His Bold Crew" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Creighton-FolksongsFromSouthernNewBrunswick 97, "Franklin and His Bold Crew" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Palmer-OxfordBookOfSeaSongs 112, "Lady Franklin's Lament for her Husband" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AmericanFolkSongsARegionalEncyclopedia2, pp. 672-673, "The Lady Franklin" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Leslie Shepard, _The Broadside Ballad_, Legacy Books, 1962, 1978, p. 155, "Sir J. Franklin And His Crews" (reproduction of a broadside page)

Roud #487
Pat Maher, "Franklin" (on NFMLeach)
Alphonse Sutton, "Franklin" (on MUNFLA/Leach)

Murray, Mu23-y2:005, "Lady Franklin's Lament for her Husband," unknown, 19C [there is a hand-written date of "1851" on the sheet, but this appears to be a later addition; the text itself says it has been seven years since Franklin sailed, making the year at least 1852]
cf. "The Croppy Boy (I)" [Laws J14] (tune)
cf. "Bold Adventures of Captain Ross" (subject: the Northwest Passage)
Lord Franklin
NOTES [276 words]: This song is the chief musical relic of one of the saddest events in the history of arctic exploration: The last failed attempt in the nineteenth century to sail the "Northwest Passage" from the Atlantic to the Pacific north of Canada.
Curiously, it was not a particularly popular subject in popular culture until recently (Woodman, p. xxi, notes an explosion of novels on the theme starting in 1974, plus a "Doctor Who" episode). Most of its popularity in the 1840s and 1850s lay in broadsides, but most of the results were terrible (for an example of just how bad they can be, see "A Ballad of Sir John Franklin," in Sandler, pp. 96-98). It appears that none of these products survived in tradition -- except this song, which has proved enduringly popular.
Unfortunately, the song ends in the middle of the story, with an unsolved mystery. Most books about the Franklin Expedition simply describe the quest for the Northwest Passage, Franklin's part in it -- and then the quest to discover what happened to Franklin. I'm going to try to do it from the standpoint of the song, telling the history of the quests for the passage, then discussing Franklin, then looking what the song has to say on the subject -- and only then talking of the search for and fate of Franklin. It's not a very coherent story this way, but it avoids "cheating." If you want a more orderly exposition, try one of the books listed in the bibliography (I'd recommend Delgado or Fleming-Barrow).
The bibliography below is partially annotated, to tell you which books cover which events. For the rest of the story, see "Lady Franklin's Lament (The Sailor's Dream) [Laws K9]" -- Part 02.
Bibliography Last updated in version 5.0
File: LK09

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