One of countless songs of the unfortunate Rake family. While each telling a completely different story, they all share the description of the funeral (here verses 2 and 3). This version is Irish and is the most stripped down I know, consisting of virtually nothing BUT the funeral. It is worth noting that most versions have it "...I know I've done wrong" while here it's "...that never done wrong". American versions include "The Streets Of Laredo" and "St. James Infirmary", British versions are "The Unfortunate Rake" and "Lock Hospital" and many more. There is a Folkways record ("The Unfortunate Rake", FS 3805) dedicated exclusively to this family.

WHEN I WAS ON HORSEBACK



When I was on horseback, wasn't I pretty
When I was on horseback, wasn't I gay
Wasn't I pretty when I entered Cork City
And met with my downfall on the 14th of May.

Six jolly soldiers to carry my coffin
Six jolly soldiers to march by my side
It's six jolly soldiers take a bunch of red roses
Well for to smell them as we go along.

Beat the drum slowly and play the pipes lowly
Play up the dead march as we go along
And bring me to Tipperary and lay me down easy
I am a young soldier that never done wrong

When I was on horseback, wasn't I pretty
When I was on horseback, wasn't I gay
Wasn't I pretty when I entered Cork City
And met with my downfall on the 14th of May.

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1999 John D. Casey Jr.


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