My Lodging is on the Cold Cold Ground

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X:1 T:My Lodging is on the Cold Ground M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Jig B:Aird – Selection of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1 (1782, No. 116, p. 41) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D (F/E/)|DED DFA|B3 d2B|AFD DEF|EEE E2 (F/E/)| DED DFA|B3 d2B|AGF EDE|DDD D2:| |:A|ABc d2c|B3 d2B|AGF EFD|EEE EFE| DED DFA|B3 d2B|AGF EDE|DDD D2:|]



MY LODGING'S IN/ON THE COLD, COLD GROUND (Is mo loistin an talam fuar). AKA and see "Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms," "Oh Shrive Me Father," "When the dove Left the Ark," "Duty and Love." English, Air and Waltz; Irish, Slow Air (3/4 time); Scottish, Pipe March (6/8 time). G Major (most versions): F Major (Clinton): A Mixolydian (Ross). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part (O'Farrell): AB (Chappell, Kennedy, Manson, O'Neill, Raven): AAB (Ross): AABB (Clinton, Kerr). "My Lodging is on the Cold Ground" enjoyed a long-lived popularity. The 'modern version' has been a very popular and enduring melody since its first appearance in print in England in Vocal Music, or The Songster's Companion of 1775. However, the lyrics in one form or another are considerably older and were set to another tune composed by Matthew Lock which appeared in the year 1664 (see "On the Cold Ground, or I Prethee, Love, Turn to Me"). It is said the actress Moll Davis sang the song so charmingly that King Charles II (1630-1685) "raised her from her Bed on the Cold Ground to a Bed Royal"[1]. At some point in the next century the old tune was discarded and the familiar one substituted.
Mary "Moll" Davis by Sir Peter Lely.


The air was entered into the 1840 music manuscript collection of multi-instrumentalist John Rook of Waverton, Cumbria. American musician M.E. Eames also included it in his 1859 copybook (p. 74), set in the key of 'D' major. "My Lodging's..." was played as a Tattoo during the American Civil War, signalling bed-time and "lights out" in the military camp.

Although the origins of the melody appear to have an English provenance, the melody has, since the late 18th and 19th centuries, been associated with Irish balladry. Irish songwriter Thomas Moore’s [1] (1779-1852) song, “The Sunflower,” is set to this air (as is his "Believe me if all those endearing young charms"). See also note for "Believe Me if All Those Endearing Young Charms" for more.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Bruce & Emmett's Drummers' and Fifers' Guide, 1862; p. 45. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Times, vol. 2), 1859; pp. 140-141. Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 47, p. 24. William Forde (300 National Melodies of the British Isles), c. 1841; p. 3, No. 8. P.M. Haverty (One Hundred Irish Airs vol. 1), 1858; No. 10, p. 4. Kennedy (Fiddlers Tune Book, vol. 1), 1951; No. 67, p. 33. Kerr (Merry Melodies, vol. 3), c. 1880's; No. 402, p. 44. Manson (Hamilton’s Universal Tune Book, vol. 2), 1846; p. 19. O'Farrell (Pocket Companion, vol. 1); c. 1805; p. 74. O'Flannagan (The Hibernia Collection), 1860; p. 14. O'Neill (Music of Ireland: 1850 Melodies), 1903; No. 114, p. 21. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 133. William Ross (Ross's Collection of Pipe Music), 1869; No. 58, p. 82. Saunders (New and Complete Instructor for the Violin), Boston, 1847; No. 9, p. 22.

Recorded sources : - Topic TSCD 669, Billy Ballantine & Jimmy Hunter (et al) - "Ranting and Reeling: Dance Music of the north of England" (1998. Piccolo player Billy Ballantine {born c. 1890's} and harmonica player Jimmy Hunter were both from Northumberland).




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  1. John Downes, Roscius Anglicanus, or, An Historical Review of the Stage, London, 1708, p. 24.