DESCRIPTION: Robinson lands in Portsmouth with "prize money." He recognizes the alehouse landlady to be Polly. He shows her the handkerchief she had given him. She says she married when someone told her he had died. "He was off before you could say Jack Robinson"
AUTHOR: Thomas Hudson (1791-1844)
EARLIEST DATE: before 1830 (broadside, Firth c.13(200))
KEYWORDS: return farewell sailor gold promise reunion marriage
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #168, p. 2, "Jack Robinson" (1 text)
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 40, "Jack Robson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ashton-RealSailorSongs, #97, "Jack Robinson" (1 text)
ST CrNS040 (Partial)
Bodleian, Firth c.13(200), "Jack Robinson," T. Birt (London), 1828-1829; also Harding B 11(1847), Harding B 17(143b), Harding B 11(52), Johnson Ballads 2587, Harding B 16(117a), Harding B 11(51), Johnson Ballads fol. 132 [barely legible], Firth c.13(199), Harding B 11(53), "Jack Robinson"
cf. "Brave Marin" (Brave Sailor) (theme)
cf. "Le Jeune Militaire" (The Young Soldier) (theme)
The College Hornpipe (per broadsides Bodleian Firth c.13(200), Bodleian Harding B 16(117a), Bodleian Johnson Ballads fol. 132, Bodleian Harding B 11(53))
The Heart of a True British Oak, or The College Hornpipe (per broadside Bodleian Firth c.13(199))
NOTES [227 words]: Jack Robinson shares this theme with the (older?) French ballads: the sailor/soldier returns after a long absence, stops at an inn, recognizes the hostess as his sweetheart/wife, and leaves when she explains that she has married because he had been reported dead.
The attribution is from the wordorigins site explaining "faster than you can say Jack Robinson":"there was a very popular song by Thomas Hudson in the early 19th century that told the story of a sailor of that name who returns to find his lady married to another. Given the date, it is obviously not the origin."
A description -- posted by the bookseller Olde Musick & Cokery Books, Hobart, Australia, on the Abebooks site -- of The Spider & the Fly and A Frog He Would a Wooing Go by Thomas Hudson and W Wilson: "The composer/singer Thomas Hudson (1791-1844) was one of the stars of the very early music hall/supper clubs and indeed for many years ran his own theatrical tavern near Covent Garden and is considered one of the original constituents that developed into the music hall . He published his songs yearly from 1818-31 and his most notable were Jack Robinson The Lively Flea and of course The Spider & the Fly written in the 1830s and most famously sung by Henry Russell. Here coupled with A Frog He would a Wooing Go made notable by amongst others the famous clown Grimaldi in 1837." - BS
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