Wealthy Fool (The)

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WEALTHY FOOL (WITH GOLD IN STORE), THE. AKA and see "My Friend and Pitcher." English, Air. The title is the first line of a popular song also called “My Friend and Pitcher” [Roud 13870] in William Shield’s opera The Poor Soldier (1783, lyrics by J. O’Keeffe), printed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries on broadsheets and in song collection such as The Songster’s Companion (1785), The Vocal Enchantress (1788), The Universal Songster and Museum of Mirth (1835), and The Jovial Songster (1802). The lyric begins:

THE wealthy fool, with gold in store,
Will still desire to grow richer,
Give me my health—I ask no more
Than my sweet girl, my friend and pitcher.

CHORUS:
My friend so rare, my girl so fair,
With such what mortal can be richer?
Give me but these, a fig for care,
With my sweet girl, my friend and pitcher.

In America the song was quite popular well; the melody appears in the music manuscript copybooks of Captain George Bush (1779), Ishmael Spicer (1797-c. 1814), James Hosmer (Connecticut, 1799), Silas Dickinson (Massachusetts, c. 1800) and Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Montreal from British control. An important land-owner in the HudsonValley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly’s dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. It was published in Alexander Reinagle’s Collection of Favorite Songs, Book 1, in Philadelphia, 1789, and in [Edward] Riley’s Flute Melodies (New York, 1814).

See note for "My Friend and Pitcher" for more.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

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