|(National Library of Australia)|
It was said to be George Washington's favorite play -- "The Poor Soldier" debuted in 1783, with music by William Shield and text by John O'Keefe. It was revived on numerous occasions, but by the 1840's one of its more popular songs had become a common feature of musical revues -- it was "My Friend and Pitcher":
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.
Of course, along with my fellow editors, I was enormously curious to hear this song -- but nary a recording of it seemed to exist. And then, to our great good fortune, we tracked down and got in touch with Dr. Sarah McCleave of Queen's University, Belfast. She had, we found, directed a student performance of "The Poor Soldier," and had recorded it on video. Making sure that she first obtained permission from the performers, she's generously agreed that we can share it here, so that everyone can hear the tune that was somewhere in the back of Stanley's and Fitzjames's mind -- so here it is!
With our deepest thanks to Dr. McCleave, and to the performers: Laoise Ní Cearnaigh (voice), Amy Wright (piano), and Vanessa Ní Gaoithín (violin). The complete lyrics can be found here.