One evening having lost my way

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ONE EVENING HAVING LOST MY WAY. AKA and see "Walpole," "Walpole, or the Happy Clown." "Happy Clown (The), "Happy Farmer (2)," "Do You Fancy a Seamstress?." English, Air (6/8 time). The air was first published in London by John Young in his Second Volume of the Dancing Master (1718 and four subsequent editions through the 4th of 1728), and in Walsh's The Compleat Country Dancing master under the title "Walpole, or the Happy Clown". John Gay employed the air for his Beggar's Opera (1729) for a song by Lucy in the third act beginning "I'm like a skiff on the ocean tossed." Subsequently, it was included in a number of ballad operas of the period, including The Grub-Street Opera (1731), Genuine Grub (1731), The Welsh Opera, or The Grey Mare the better Horse (1731), and The Beggar's Pantomime, or the Contending Columbines (1736). It was also issued on song-sheets, and in songsters such as The Thrush (1749) and Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd. William Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2, p. 675) notes that the song "The Happy Clown," by Mr. Burkhead, begins "One evening, having lost my way," but says that a song printed to the tune in The Convivial Songster, called "As one bright sultry summer's day," may be older than any. Irish versions of the tune appear in Stanford-Petrie (Complete Collection, 1905, Nos. 1397 and 1398) under the title "Is Truagh Mar' Chonairc Mé Aén Bhean a-Ríamh" ('Tis pity I e'er saw a woman), in which two bars correspond to one bar in the older English sets.

"One evening having lost my way" was used by Pepusch as the theme for his overture to Gay's Beggar's Opera (1729), His overture set a standard for subsequent works in the ballad opera genre, although "the average early ballad-opera overture was little better than an artless medley of popular tunes." [1]

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2), 1858; p. 675. Oswald (Caledonian Pocket Companion Book 10), 1760; p. 13. Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 65 (facsimile of the Beggar's Opera).

Recorded sources: Green Hill Productions, John Mock - "Revolution: Songs of the Revolutionary War" (2008).

See also listing at:
Hear John Mock's recording on [1]

Back to One evening having lost my way[edit]

  1. W.J. Lawrence, "Early Irish Ballad Opera and Comic Opera" The Musical Quarterly, vol. 8, No. 3, July, 1922, p. 398