In this article a tangle of popular cultures is exposed both directly and indirectly and a number of possible avenues for exploration revealed: simply too many for immediate pursuit. It is hoped that the relevant broadside balladry still forms a prominent feature and that links can be observed with previous discussions; but there is sometimes an inevitable in-balance as subjects and characters intervene. For example, the names of a large number of performers in various theatres are canvassed and some small detail in text or in notes added, though without any extensive descriptions of careers which, in any case, are, for the most part, peripheral in nature. Some of these characters have resisted attempts to outline their lives.
One other point should be made at the outset. Newspaper references are extracted from those newspapers accessible to the writer. But there may be other newspapers that appeared during the early decades of the nineteenth century during the general period of the exposure of Crazy Jane up until the 1830s. If references to Crazy Jane and related material as presented below were to be computed with those in other newspapers, the popularity of Crazy Jane may well be extended even more. Readers with access to local newspapers of the period should be able to test this out.
To begin, then, at a kind of beginning: the ballad of Crazy Jane was cited in the Hurd piece appearing on this site recently. This current article has its genesis in considering the tune linked with Crazy Jane that Hurd adopted for his 1817 broadside ballad, The death of the Princess Charlotte.2
The original impulse for Crazy Jane came from Matthew Gregory 'Monk' Lewis (1775-1818), best known for two works. The first is his novel The Monk , published in 1794, a startling product of Gothic imagination which led to a degree of fame and notoriety for him and the assumption of the soubriquet 'Monk' after the title of the novel. The second is Crazy Jane, a poem.3 This, it appears, was written in 1796. The circumstances for its composition came about during one of Lewis's frequent visits to the Duke of Argyll's estate at Inverary. Lewis, it should be said, was well-enough acquainted with 'high' society. It seems that he fell in love with the Duke's daughter, Lady Charlotte, but without a potentially happy ending for Lewis ... Lady Charlotte married a Campbell ... and married again later. The more exact spur to Lewis's imagination is described in a book, by a Margaret Baron-Wilson, The Life and Correspondence Of M. G. Lewis , published in 1839.4 Lewis and Lady Charlotte, walking in the grounds of Inverary castle, came across a maniac:
Indeed, it is this popular aftermath that brought the poem and its tunes (and their relationship with the Hurd ballad) into the limelight.
First: the text and some of its history after publication ...
It is, all the same, the frisson of madness that is prominent and Crazy Jane takes her place in a line of characters. One might cite Shakespare's Ophelia (Hamlet) and the ballad figure, Tom 'o Bedlam as examples ... Crazy Jane also follows figures introduced, for example, by Sterne in A Sentimental Journey (1768) where Maria is found to be 'love-mad' and Crazy Kate in Cowper's poem The Task (1785). Kate, a servant girl, has taken to a wild and uncomfortable life, obsessed with a lover who had deserted her:
Yet the period in time was suffused with such fancies at many levels of textual output. Usually, as it grew in impact, the Georgian Gothic imagination expended even more energy conspicuously on spirits, ghosts, the macabre and sometimes the bloody.  Apart from Lewis's own The Monk (1796), there are three principal works that sum up the obsessions: first, Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto (1764), then, Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliff (1794) and, finally, the apogee, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818).  Lewis was familiar with these novels and it will be seen that the ideas provoked by a conjunction of love and madness persisted during the period of Crazy Jane's progress. Even nowadays most people are acquainted with the strange world of Frankenstein if only through the cinema.7
In the form of broadside balladry Crazy Jane enjoyed widespread popularity. Output would appear to have begun with Burbage and Stretton in London working between 1797 and 1807 and Pitts, the latter from both his addresses pre-and-post 1819. They are accompanied or followed by Catnach (after 1813); Charles Pigott at 52 Crompton Street, Clerkenwell whose only BBTI references is to 1825; and then further on in time in London the mid-century printers, Fortey, Ryle and Such who all printed it as Poor Crazy Jane. There are copies from Mate in Dover, Walker in Norwich, Russell in Birmingham, Swindells in Manchester, Armstrong in Liverpool (printed for him), Dickinson in York, Harkness in Preston, Walker in Durham, and Ross in Newcastle. The Roud index also records copy without imprint. This represents a healthily long life as a single ballad.8
Mention should be made of Thompson, another printer in Liverpool, little-known, it seems, although there are over fifty of his ballads in the Bodleian archive. George Thompson's trading dates, according to BBTI, were between 1816 and 1821. The Bodleian gives dates of 1789 to 1820. A number of addresses are supplied and they suggest that he was almost peripatetic. Most of Thompson's printing years can be abstracted from copy and account for the period between 1808 and 1821, well after the emergence of Crazy Jane.9
Given the extent of printing it is not surprising that printers did have small differences in text. Pitts, for example, has:
Again as examples, Pigott, Walker and Armstrong have a more straightforward version:
There are numerous references to the poem in catalogues and lists: for example, Catnach's 1832 list, George Walker's catalogue in 1839; in Fordyce c.1841-1844 and Ross 1849 ... Similarly, there is a prolonged showing in songsters as recorded in the Roud index - not all titles are included here by any means but a sequence of dates is outlined. The piece appeared in The Skylark songster in 1800 and Marshall included it in Northern Minstrel (part one) in 1806 and again after 1810 in A Garland ... ; and as put out by Oliver and Boyd around the 1810 mark. The bulk of songster copy seems to have increased during the period around and after 1820, a logical development from previous exposure as a single broadside ballad. The British Orpheus of 1820 included Crazy Jane and so did the Vocal Library in the same year. Scott in Greenock, printing from 1810 to 1829, had the piece in a songster entitled Paidin O'Rafferty. Crazy Jane appeared in The Amatory Songster between 1825 and 1830; in The National Songster, from Kay in Edinburgh in 1827; in Cyclopaedia of Popular Song around 1835. There was a fair showing in the 1840s and 1850 and some songster copy even later.
But to return to the first probable printed exposure in single ballad form: the Burbage and Stretton printing would most likely have appeared around 1799 when the piece was also first issued with music as described below; and it may have been that Burbage and Stretton were the printers who introduced 'Why' in place of 'Say ...' As well, the particular printing has a woodcut of a distraught woman under a tree: at least a hint that the printer was alive to the theme of the poem and concerned to match header and text - not, as was seen in the case of Hurd, content with using unrelated headers for text.10
The profile of Crazy Jane is found first in contexts other than broadside ballad printing during the three years after its first appearance. As will be shown, it was almost obligatory in advertisements and in newspapers to describe Crazy Jane as a 'favourite song'. Moreover, this particular appellation indicates that composers must have taken up the poem during the years 1796-1799 and, certainly, from that point on. The developments are considered below.
Firstly, inclusive of the progress of Crazy Jane as poem, broadside ballad and song we come across variants and material links to related topics that extend the life of the poem in fascinating ways and in crowded sequence. In broadside form, Davenport issued a piece entitled The Birth of Crazy Jane but this was almost certainly post-hoc, and in text working back to a time before Jane's madness. In historical time Davenport's copy must have been put together between 1796, the time of the poem's emergence, and 1801-2, the period when Davenport printed from the address on copy at St George's Court, Smithfield.
The piece begins softly - romantically - in drawing-room language:
The four Henry poems noted above head the same text where the more curious drift is towards a certain sympathy for Henry. The scene is set as might be expected:
The Ghost of Crazy Jane, another anonymous poem, is found in the Whim ... volume). Wefind a girl wandering:
Further, we find an online reference to an advertisement for a version of The Ghost of Crazy Jane, 'written and composed by a lady', London, Goulding and Co . The separation of the terms 'written' and 'composed' is worth bearing in mind since there is an element of confusion in their application as the story of Crazy Jane unfolds.15
There is also a poem in the New Whim ... volume entitled Henry and Emma where the recommended tune is that of Crazy Jane.
In 1800 the Aberdeen Journal advertised yet another early example of spin-off involving Henry:
Further in the line of broadside printings Pitts issued Henry's Sorrow for Crazy Jane with a slightly peculiar opening line, 'As not why a prey to anguish ' that turns out to be 'Ask not why ... ' in printings from Williams in Portsea and Plant in Nottingham.16
The take-up and variations were also prolonged in copy of The Lament for Crazy Jane that appeared in New York (an online reference to a Library of Congress copy).
The Grave of Crazy Jane can be found in The Edinburgh Annual Register, Vol. 9, edited by Sir Walter Scott in 1816; again in more than one 1820 songster volume; and in Universal Songster 2 (1829). The poem in question was written by one John Finlay (1782-1810) and appears in his Poetical Works, published in 1820:
Altogether, the momentum has roamed far from the first appearance and take-up of Crazy Jane but the tenor of the pieces listed above is clear enough. The popularity of the poem and its companion pieces had been maintained already through a dozen years or more. This, to re-iterate, was largely through the medium of language found in drawing-room pieces, somewhat genteel and frequently clouded with nouns and adjectives reversed and verbs in a passive mode.
After all the more or less direct links between the original poem and its successors, the London printers Joshua Davenport and W. Holland, Shelmerdine in Manchester and T. Goode (London) in the Polka Song Book of 1846, all came out with a piece entitled Crazy Paul!! A new ballad' that purports to offer a perspective on the then Czar and his resistance to Bonaparte and encouragement to Britain during a time of shifting alliances:
It is probably enough to say that Czar Paul II is still a controversial figure with some present-day commentators supporting his attempts to reform aspects of Russian culture and government; but his reputation during a century or more concentrated on his admitted instability in decision to the extent that in some circles he was, for a time, thought to have been mad. He was assassinated in 1801 and the 'reason' given in Russia was because of this 'madness'. The appearance of the poem together with its closeness to the assassination may be regarded as being a somewhat unfortunate conjunction. In the end, the particular ballad could be considered of the moment as events took over and alliances changed but it is a strange quirk that the element of madness still pertained.19
All told from this brief survey of the immediate fortunes of Crazy Jane, exposure of the piece and those pieces inspired by it could be described (and was described) as a rage of fashion during the earliest years of the nineteenth century; but it appears that public interest in most Gothic manifestations subsided during the 1820s, as will be seen. This did not deter printers, as listed above, who carried on issuing the particular piece (and its family) in a way akin to the retrospective issue of ballads on historical events.
What is of concern next is the question of tunes and there was a crop of musical settings to come out more or less at the same time. One of the earliest would have been from John Davy (1763-1824), obscurely born in Devon but achieving a degree of metropolitan fame. Registration of Davy's setting of Crazy Jane at Stationers Hall (an online reference) was made in 1799 as follows:
The reference to the performance in Bath indicates that Mrs. Rosamond (or Rosamund or Rosamon) Mountain (née Wilkinson) gained early prominence in presenting Crazy Jane to the public as a song - using the Davy tune. She had first appeared, as Miss Wilkinson, in theatre in 1782. She attracted much attention in Liverpool both as an actress and as a singer. Her benefit - a common way of acquiring money - was 'extremely lucrative, and, beside, she wounded the heart of Mr. Mountain, then leader of the band at Liverpool, and a native of Ireland.'21
Mrs. Mountain appeared in a variety of performance situations - oratorio and sacred music, for example - at the beginning of the nineteenth century: The Messiah, The Creation, Arnold's Elisha, Rauzzini's Requiem. The last sight of her as noted in newspapers would seem to have been in 1813 but her name can be found online associated with several theatre productions up until at least 1825 after which she seems to have disappeared from view. She died in 1841. Her connection with Crazy Jane does not seem to have been strong or prolonged; but clearly enough indicates an early take-up.22
In counterpoint to the use of the Davy tune, there is an entry in a short title catalogue at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge to the effect that 'Crazy Jane, a favourite ballad ... for three voices ', set by Harriet Abrams, had been published by Lavenu - 'at around 1799' (my italics). The date of this piece, just as in the case of Davy, draws attention. Harriet Abrams was born (c.1758) into a large family of musicians of Jewish descent, several of whom were to be seen singing with her and she made a career - principally - in concert performance rather than 'acting'. She made her debut (aged around 15) in an opera, May-Day, or The Little Gipsy, written especially for her by David Garrick and her music teacher, Thomas Arne, in October 1775 at the Royal Theatre, Drury Lane. She was then and afterwards thought not to have had much of a stage presence nor do there appear to be any particular roles associated with her name but, all the same, her musicianship generally was much admired. One measure of this esteem is that later, at regular benefits - 1792, 1794 and 1795 - Haydn was at the piano.
Other references give Abrams copy of Crazy Jane as having been set for voice and piano or harp but precise dates escape us. It may well have been that this setting preceded that for three voices. Whatever the case, this brings the Abrams-Davy debate axis into focus. It is difficult, in the end, to separate the appearance of the 'original' Davy and Abrams tunes but there could only have been a matter of a few months between - perhaps even weeks.23
It turns out that Abrams tune is generally thought to have been the more popular one, as indicated in the comparison with Thomas Thompson's setting noted in text above and as pursued through reference below.
As a composer Harriet Abrams was known for somewhat sentimental songs, a number of which are listed in a British Museum catalogue of printed music. The Orphan's Prayer another combination of a Lewis text and an Abrams tune, published by Lavenu in 1800, is prominent enough (Lavenu was referred to in the recent Hurd article on MT and was instrumental in issuing many songs at the turn and after the turn of the century). The Abrams setting of the poem entitled The Shade of Henry by Miles Peter Andrews (he was also a member of Parliament) and beginning 'Stranger do you ask me why I still heave the anguish'd sigh ' might be seen to be capitalising on her success with Crazy Jane. This setting, 'a favourite song set to music with an accompaniment for the harp or piano forte by Miss Abrams', was another song published by Lavenu (1800) and it went into several editions. Harp and piano forte, as becomes increasingly obvious, were instruments much employed at the time.24
Stationers Hall had also registered a piece that took up Harriet Abrams 'Crazy Jane tune as 'The Popular Air ... Arranged with Variations for the Piano Forte, by T. Haigh' (1789-1808). This was on the first of January 1800, certainly pushing the date of Harriet Abrams' original venture further back in time to confirm that probable appearance in 1799, as it was referred to above.26
And in terms of historical time there are early notices of performance ... The Caledonian Mercury advertised a concert in February 1800 at the George Street Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh where the song 'Crazy Jane' was to be sung by a 'Mr. URBANI'; again, then, suggesting a slightly earlier publication date. The singer was Pietro Urbani (1749-1816) who worked in London and Glasgow as a musician around 1780 and set up as a music-publisher by 1795 - a venture that, unfortunately, failed. Eventually, too, he died destitute in Dublin: a fore-runner of what befell several musicians and singers who can be associated with Crazy Jane, as will be shown.
In March of the same year (1800), the Portsmouth Telegraph ... advertised 'the celebrated song of "Crazy Jane," by Mrs. T. Collins' at the end of Act III of the play SPEED THE PLOUGH, at the Portsmouth Theatre. There are no clues as to which tune was used by either Urbani or Mrs. Collins. It might just be added that Mrs. Collins was the wife of Mr. T. Collins who sang 'an admired comic song' called The Nottingham Fair during the same performance. Collins was the Proprietor and Manager of the Portsmouth theatre at this time. The Nottingham Fair is but one of several pieces that bring us a little closer to the familiar territory of traditional song.26
Whilst there is no mention of Harriet Abrams in these references, a reasonable, early, dateline for the appearance of Crazy Jane as song is secured; and as supporting evidence of the song's popularity the Caledonian Mercury, with an advertisement in May 1800, referred to a performance 'for the benefit' of Mrs. Kemble at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh during which one might hear:
Click grahic above for MIDI file playback.
The Abrams connections blossomed during the period between 1801 and 1805. Sometimes, preference for a particular setting is somewhat unclear as the case of a 'Mrs. Bland' exemplifies although the odds eventually yield a positive conclusion, given below. One early on-line record invokes the name of the singer Maria Bland (1769-1838, born Maria Theresa Romanzini) through whom, in 1799 (my italics: the date is significant in appearing to confirm the issue of the song in one setting or another before 1800), Crazy Jane became 'a hit' in London after Mrs. Bland apparently 'sang it four times in two weeks as an entr'acte piece at Drury Lane'.28
It may well be that the reference given above is actually shorthand for advertisement and comment in newspapers. In date order, there was a benefit - already noticed in the case of Mrs. Mountain and an important aspect of a theatrical career as discussed further below - that was to be held for Mrs. Bland at The Royal Drury Lane in 1803 at a performance of As You Like It ... when 'In the courfe of the Evening, (by most particular defire, and for one Night only) Mrs. Bland will fing the popular Ballad of 'Crazy Jane' ...' At a performance of Much Ado About Nothing in 1803, again at the Royal, Drury Lane, 'For the benefit of Mr. FOSBROOK, Box book and Houfe-keeper', Mrs. Bland 'by moft particular defire' sang the 'popular ballad' Crazy Jane. There was also an advertisment for the King's theatre in 1803, where there was a performance of 'LOVE FOR LOVE ... NOT ACTED THESE THREE YEARS' and 'For the benefit of Mr. CAULFIELD and Mr. SEDGWICK'. At the end of Act IV, 'by moft particular defire' Ms. Bland would sing 'the popular ballad' of Crazy Jane. Then, in 1804 at the Royal Drury Lane at a performance of Pizarro, 'In the courfe of the evening', Mrs. Bland sang 'the favourite Ballad of 'Crazy Jane''. It can also be seen how the song appeared in different theatrical contexts - plays and an opera (Pizarro).29
Where Mrs. Bland's name is invoked there is no direct mention anywhere of the Harriet Abrams tune but one commentary notes that Mrs. Bland, held to be the best ballad singer of her generation (the word 'ballad' is considered further below in text), was:
Several newspaper reports illustrate how Mrs. Bland made regular appearances, aside from those when she presented Crazy Jane. A number of these were before the turn of the century during which time, for instance, The Monthly Mirror records an appearance in 1798 (online); but her career may be easily enough traced right up until 1812. There is, though, no sign of Crazy Jane on any of these latter occasions. Sadly, in a curious parallel to the fate of several personnel at one time or another associated with Crazy Jane, Mrs. Bland sank into imbecility.31
Apart from Mrs. Bland, a Mrs. Second (Mary Second) is found as a regular performer of Crazy Jane and it can eventually be established that she used Harriet Abrams' tune. When Rossini's Semiramide was to be presented at the Royal, Covent Garden in 1801, it was advertised that, at the end of the opera, 'Mrs. Second will sing "Crazy Jane" in character' (other participants were a Mrs. Hilligsberg who is mentioned further below; and Incledon who, aside from Braham, was perhaps the most popular male singer of the day). Very soon afterwards in 1801 there is a report on 'MRS. SECOND'S Fatima, in Blue Beard, and her "Crazy Jane" in character'', at the Liverpool Theatre which 'convinced the theatrical world her genius was not altogether confined to singing': an interesting sidelight on Mrs. Second's career, not unlike that of other personnel whose mixed talents were paraded in the theatre. On another occasion, 'For the benefit of Mrs. MATTOCKS', again in 1801, Mrs. Second was to sing Crazy Jane. And at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden 1802 there was a performance of THE WOODMAN, for the benefit of Incledon when, at the 'End of the Opera, Mrs. Second will fing Crazy Jane' - as seems to be usual in description, 'in character'. Again at the Royal, Covent Garden, in 1805,there was a programme 'FOR THE BENEFIT OF SIGNORA STORACE' - when 'a Comic Opera, not acted these two years, called THE SIEGE OF BELGRADE' was presented. The opera was followed by Mrs. Second singing Crazy Jane. Similarly, at the Russell Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, in April 1805, a concert was to be given by Madame Storace, Braham and Incledon and 'In the course of the Performance Mrs. Second will assist, and by particular desire of several Lords' (sic) of Distinction, sing 'Crazy Jane'.
Clearly, Crazy Jane was not always strictly relevant to the course of any evening. Its appearance may, all the same, be seen to reflect a demand.
The matter of which tune Mrs. Second used appears to have been clinched at another concert in the Russell Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh during May 1805 where she rendered Crazy Jane to the tune supplied by 'Miss Abrams'.
Sadly, whilst there are newspaper reports of appearances up until October of that year, Mrs. Second then died.
However, there followed a period, that of 1807-1813, when another singer's name came to be associated with Crazy Jane. There was an advertisement in January 1807 put out by Corri's Rooms, Edinburgh - mentioned elsewhere in this discussion as a venue - for a performance of "CRAZY JANE" by a Mrs. Dickons, 'accompanied on the Grand Piano Forte by herfelf' and using the 'Abraams tune' (sic). Mrs. Dickons was formerly Caroline Poole who under both her names established herself as singer, actress and pianist and even composed one or two songs and performed them (noted again below in text). She mirrored Mrs. Second in these manifestations of multi-talents.
In 1807,the Morning Post noted that:
Following this and 'fixed for May 19th' 1808 at the Royal, Covent Garden', effectively during a summer season, there was to be a 'Mrs. DICKONS night' that presented a 'Comic Opera, TWO FACES UNDER A HOOD, during which Mrs. Dickons 'will sing in character the celebrated ballad of "Crazy Jane."' This advertisement re-appeared as the month went on and an acknowledgement followed, in which Mrs. Dickons was credited with singing 'all her favourite Airs ... & last, not least, Crazy Jane.'
Quite how Mrs. Dickons organised her appearances is a matter of some conjecture still but in June 1809 there was an advertisement for a performance to be given on in July at the Royal, Edinburgh, on behalf of Mrs. Dickons ('Positively the Last Night of her appearance this season'). This was of Bickerstaffe's Lionel and Clarissa, one of a myriad of pieces that artistes would have been engaged in presenting, having enjoyed popularity since its first outing in 1768:
Three years later - quite a gap - there is a reference to a performance at the Royal, Lyceum 'For the benefit of Mr. PALMER' when 'In the course of the evening (for that night only) Mrs. Dickons will sing the celebrated Ballad of Crazy Jane in character'.
Given the initial reference to the Abrams tune, it might be assumed that this was the one that Mrs. Dickons continued to prefer.
Mrs. Dickons had other interests as might be expected. During June 1812 she appeared in an opera, entitled - coincidentally, The Maniac. She also sang in Drury Lane in the opera False Alarms along with Braham, Mrs. Mountain, Mrs. Bland and Johnstone and again in Drury Lane together with Braham and Michael Kelly, all notables in the theatre - but without any mention of Crazy Jane. She was recorded as singing at the Theatre Royal, Covent-Garden in 1819 so had not completely disappeared.32
Finally, apropos Harriet Abrams, there is a useful, perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek look at the Abrams phenomenon in Baron-Wilson's commentary ... She wrote:
Firstly, the word 'original' may seem to leave Davy (and one or two others) in the cold.
Secondly, there do not appear to be any newspaper reports that have Harriet Abrams actually singing her piece in the theatre - although, since she and her sisters performed regularly, this is certainly a possibility. The 'fashionable parties', meanwhile, seem largely to have gone un-recorded but such was the assumed audience in comment on various performances with unabashed reference to the fashionable and upper social echelons, that this link can be assumed. Indeed, several references come under this umbrella indicated by the columns entitled The Mirror of Fashion found in the Morning Chronicle (for example, in 1803) and Fashionable World in the Morning Post (again as an example, in 1806). In addition, it was almost standard practice to refer to the 'nobility' and 'gentry'. Another notice indicates how there was a performance at the behest of the officers of HMS Charlotte in 1819. This kind of sponsorship can be mirrored elsewhere.
Thirdly, taking this aspect a step further, Baron-Wilson's comments underline the increasingly obvious variety of performance contexts - and more instances are offered below in discussion.33
The whole range of references given above seem to favour Harriet Abrams' tune but - a side issue, to be sure - they are also valuable in emphasising a context in theatre with all the verbal trimmings of advertisement and praise and, as noted above, the place that 'benefits' had in the theatre. These were clearly a regular and necessary part of remuneration.
The list of female singers of Crazy Jane can be added to. A Mary Taylor, née Valentine, who was a member of the Theatre Royal, Norwich company, had received a benefit evening on the early date of 21st April, 1800, at which she sang Crazy Jane. At Hull's Theatre Royal in 1803 there was a performance of The Beggar's Opera - 'Not Acted here thefe Seven Years', this time for the benefit of a Mrs. Chapman who, almost inevitably, sang Crazy Jane 'in character' (in the same programme 'OLD TOWLER' and 'Black-Ey'd Susan' were sung 'By a Gentleman' ).
At the Royal, Drury Lane in 1805 there was a programme 'For the BENEFIT of Mr. KELLY' during which a Madame Laborie sang 'the part of Crazy Jane' (Madame Laborie re-appears, chiefly as a dancer, in comments below ) Kelly, already mentioned, was Michael Kelly (1762-1826) who had a distinguished career as a tenor soloist (the lead role was created for him in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro), was one-time manager of the Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres along with Sheridan; and author of Reminiscences, completed in 1825 and published during the year of his death.
Again in 1805, this time at the Theatre Royal, Hull, for 'the BENEFIT of Mr. WOOD', there was a performance of The Beaux Strategem, at the end of which Crazy Jane was sung 'in character' by a Mrs. Bramwell. Giles Scroggin's Ghost - 'A comic song by Mr. Bennett' - was also in evidence.34
In Corri's Rooms, Edinburgh in 1806, Crazy Jane was sung by a Mrs. Atkins (and to add to Bennet's Giles Scroggins' Ghost noted above, it is worth mentioning that a Mr. Hill sang The Death of Abercrombie). There is a trickle of such songs being featured in theatre programmes as discussion is revealing and the songs are also found on broadside ballads. Occasionally, as can be seen, they sometimes impinge on traditional song repertoire.35
Both Mrs. Atkins and Mr. Hill had travelled from London where they had previously been engaged at The Royal, Covent Garden, an example of how performers spread their respective wings or were obliged to range far and wide for work. This would have been as their respective contracts, most often with London theatres, terminated and tours of the provinces were undertaken. It should be said that theatre contracts in London offered salaries.36
New or, at least, different singers continued to appear ... In 1807 The Hull Packet gave notice that at the Theatre Royal, Hull, there was to be a performance of 'The VENETIAN OUTLAW; Or, THE BRAVO OF VENICE' and at the end of the performance Crazy Jane was to be sung 'In character' by a Miss Jackson.
Further still, this time in 1810, as The Hull Packet advertised it, there was to be a production of As You Like It at the Theatre Royal, Hull, for the benefit of a Miss Johnson (who danced a 'pas seul' - see more below) and when, at the end of the play, a Miss King would present Crazy Jane 'in Character'. In February 1811 the Morning Post advertised Crazy Jane, yet again 'in character' (copy is almost unreadable but the artiste may well have been Miss Feron (1793/7? -1853), who is mentioned elsewhere in the advertisement. This would seem to be confirmed in a report during the same year in the Caledonian Mercury advertising a benefit concert at The Royal, at the head of Leith Walk, Edinburgh, where Miss Feron would sing Crazy Jane in character.37
Some male singers also favoured Crazy Jane. Urbani has already been mentioned above (1800). There is notice of 'Johnstone' in the Morning Post in 1801 at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden which theatre presented 'MR. JOHNSTONE'S NIGHT' with a title of ABROAD AND AT HOME when, 'In the course of the evening (by particular desire)' he sang 'the favourite ballad of Crazy Jane'. Unfortunately, it is not known which setting he used. All the same, the advertisement did duty on other occasions during May of that year. 'MR. JOHNSTONE' featured on several such nights and, apart from prolonging the attention paid to Crazy Jane, again the reliance for income on benefit occasions is demonstrated. The weight of evidence shows that this was an essential part of an artiste's financial comfort or otherwise. Johnstone, known as 'Irish' Johnstone by reason of his adoption of Irish character, was a familiar figure at the time in situations slightly less than formal drama; more as an entertainer.38
The life of the song of Crazy Jane continued. In 1807 a play, The Surrender of Calais, was put on at the Royal theatre, Haymarket 'for the benefit of Mr. and Mrs. Liston and, in the course of the evening we find a performance of 'Crazy Jane, in character, by Mr. Liston ...' (Liston also sang Giles Scroggins' Ghost; and Mrs. Liston sang Nobody's Coming to Marry me, discussed at length in the Porter article on this site, MT 299).39
Varied contexts for performance noted by Baron-Wilson, emerge ... In a sober reference, in 1801, Mr. G. Nichols's 'annual concert' in Cambridge received' the aid of some of the Cambridge Gentlemen'. At this concert:
In another context - In Ranelagh, in a 'great display of fashions' at'MRS. METHVEN'S MASQUERADE', reported in the Morning Post, 'Lord Pomfret unsexed himself in the character of Crazy Jane '41 and another report in the Morning Post reads as follows:
And almost as part of a mainstream kind of mixed presentation, in 1801 at the New Royal Circus, London, there was a 'NOVELTY' evening consisting of 'FANCY'S FESTIVAL', where one might have heard the Harp and Union Pipes, and where a Mrs. Herbert sang Crazy Jane. The full content of 'FANCY'S FESTIVAL' can only be guessed at but is likely to have followed the regular yoking together of plays, comic operas and songs, a matter, as will be discovered, of theatre legislation and in which figures such as the aforesaid Johnstone flourished. For example, in this line, at the Royalty theatre, 'Well's-ftreet, Goodman's-fields', in 1802, there was of 'a spectacle including "Crazy Jane," by Mrs. Herbert'. Similarly, at the same venue, during a 'NOVELTY' evening with various additions to the 'Popular Spectacle' of 'BLUE BEARD', she again sang Crazy Jane. In December the following year, again at the Royal, Goodman's Fields, during the evening, one was promised a 'magnificent fairy grove', 'feats of strength, martial pieces of music' and 'voyages in balloons'. In 1804 at Sadler's Wells Aquatic Theatre there was 'A Real Waterfall'. Such 'novelty' evenings, such 'spectacles' were common enough. During the same year Astley's, more or less as ever, included 'several feats of Horsemanship'; and, later in the year, a 'Troupe of Jumpers'. Numbers of actresses and singers, like Mrs. Herbert, would include appearances in such programmes during the course of their careers. She, indeed, appeared at the Royal in 'an entirely new Divertissement' and, a little later, in a 'Comic Harlequinade' and, later still, all these appearances a matter only of weeks, in a 'Comic Pantomime'.44
It seems likely through the presence of these notices of very different contexts that there were other events exploiting the song; but it is the theatre, as already demonstrated, that provides the best evidence of how the piece was disseminated and in what musical form.
Baron-Wilson's comments on composers, some well-known and others obscure (and it is still difficult to find supportive detail for certain references), fill out the picture of settings of the Crazy Jane poem. Following her lead - there was, for example, a setting, registered at Stationers Hall in 1799 and, therefore, possibly composed at an earlier date still, by a Gustav Adam von Nolcken (Baron - 1733-1813)- a Swedish ambassador to Britain.
Another early setting was 'for Harp or Piano Forte' by a J. Latour, thought to have been issued around 1799. This was Jean Théodore Latour (1766-1837), official pianist to King George IV; but no further details have emerged.45
Then there was George Kauntz (born Kauntze, c. 1766 - no date of death available but he was alive 1819, discharged - finally - from the army at that time). Kauntz served as a musician in the Coldstream Guards Band (1794) but also worked in the family music-publishing business that had already been established 'opposite the Admiralty' and then at '2 St James' by 1802 and it looks as though he was involved in 1796, after his band-playing days. Kauntz's Collection of Original and Selected Music ... of English, Scotch, Irish and German Compositions had appeared in 1790 ... Kauntze's setting of Crazy Jane is thought to have appeared in 1800, in amongst the first rush.46
An online reference totes the name of George Ebenezer Williams (1783-1819) who could have been one and the same as the Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey between 1814 and 1819 and is known to have written some secular vocal music.47
Perhaps a more salient note, involving a better-known composer, is found in an 1807 newspaper reference entitled LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE; Or, BELL'S Court and Fashionable Magazine which advertised a performance - 'For the benefit of Mrs. Mountain' (the same) - of 'an original and most pathetic Song, entitled "The Death of Crazy Jane," set to Music for the Harp and Piano-forte, expressly and exclusively for this Work, by Mr. Hook'.48
James Hook (1746-1827) was a prolific composer - of comic opera and farce, for instance - who set many songs such as Sweet Lass of Richmond Hill. Composers like Hook are known to have dipped into the known traditional repertoire for material or re-worked existing 'art' songs, as did Samuel Arnold with a production centred on Auld Robin Gray or Joseph Dale with an arrangement of Dorothy Jordan's song, The Blue Bell of Scotland, both these characters mentioned elsewhere in this article.
There is a gloss: 'Pathetic', a word that has appeared more than once here as found in contemporary commentary and newspapers and it is not one simply dismissive of weakness as in more modern usage but was in regular use at the time when Crazy Jane and its associated pieces were prominent. It refers to the intended effect of arousing sympathy in the reader through the particular circumstances described. The principle can be found exemplified in much of Wordsworth's poetry, framed as a statement of intent in Lyrical Ballads (1798).
There is, in fact, another example of a ballad, described as 'Pathetic' and printed by Evans, namely Julia's Lamentation,which begins:
At a quite later date, in 1819, there was an unusual occasion during which the principal attraction was a giant mechanical organ named 'THE APPOLONICON' (sometimes 'Apollonicon' and 'Appollonicon'), built by a successful duo, Benjamin Flight (1767-1849) and Joseph Robson (1770-1842?). This machine, whatever its novelty value, ushered in a golden age of English organ music. The Apollonicon enjoyed considerable attention after its first appearance in 1817 and there are numerous newspaper references to it during the years 1817-1820 (at the least). Initially, it could be viewed at a venue in St. Martin's Lane, London: Flight's and Robson's own premises described as 'their rooms' (but not quite, perhaps, in the same mould as Corri's rooms in Edinburgh mentioned in text here) - and also as their 'warerooms'.
Moreover, with specific reference to the subject of this article, at the Apollonicon's first appearance, the programme included 'Crazy Jane, with Cramer's Variations'. John Baptist Cramer (1771-1858) was the son of a German immigrant, William - many German musicians travelled to England to pursue their respective careers - and thought to be one of the best pianists of his day. He also wrote a deal of music, particularly for the aspiring pianist and held the opinion that 'experience has proved that introducing popular airs, arranged as lessons for the practice of learning, greatly promotes their application and improvement'. There is a twist to this reference. Cramer had written his variations of the Crazy Jane tune composed by Harriet Abrams as early as 1801, one of several composers, as has been seen, who very quickly took up the Lewis poem or Abrams tune and confirming the idea of a 'rage' of interest.50
However, to continue in date sequence from the 1819 performance noted above, in 1823, at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, as advertised by the Morning Post, 'for Miss PATON'S BENEFIT', The Belle's Stratagem was to be performed and 'the Masquerade Scene', offered 'Crazy Jane, in Character, by Miss. Paton.' The performance was noted again in the same newspaper - this time with the comment that Miss Paton sang 'with admirable feeling and effect'. The composer's name was not given but likely to have been the one who emerged in connection with Miss Paton just days later when there was an advertisement for a publication:
As for Miss Paton (1802-1864): she had travelled to Edinburgh and the Royal theatre to receive a benefit performance and the small litany of songs is worth notice:
Miss Paton was Mary Ann Paton who, after showing promise as a singer aged eight, moved as part of her family to London in 1811. From then on Miss Paton enjoyed a career extending to at least 1840 and embracing material as diverse as classical operas such as The Barber of Seville and, as seen here, 'ballads'.52
In May of 1823, there was a performance of Dibdin's The English Fleet, with John Braham and 'Catherine, Miss Stephens'. During the evening Miss Stephens sang Crazy Jane 'in character'. It is not yet possible to say whether she sang Crazy Jane at any other time.
Catherine Stephens (1794-1882) was briefly mentioned in the MT article 155 on Besley of Exeter. She became Countess of Essex through marriage to an octogenarian widower who died in 1839. She performed in a host of 'serious' productions during what was the typically charged life of a singer or an actor and was well-known for her soprano voice particularly in singing 'ballads'.53
As well as taking up the Crazy Jane poem, various composers, some of whose lives elude investigation as yet, set the spin-off pieces. The Ghost of Crazy Jane was set c.1800 by Thomas Bolton (1770-1820), music teacher and composer. Another version of The Ghost ... 'written and composed by a lady' (1806) has already been mentioned in discussion.54
John Rannie, already mentioned in discussion, aside from Henry's Return, wrote a piece, one amongst several that had the same title of The Death of Crazy Jane. Rannie's version appeared in 1799, 1800, 1802 and 1804; and the 1799 edition listed it as 'a Favourite Song ...', beginning: 'O'er the gloomy woods resounding ...' and it was published by Bland and Wells, with music by yet another composer, Reginald Spofforth (1768-1827 - responsible for the music to Hail, Smiling Morn that has become a regular item in the carol-singing pubs around Sheffield).55
The Epitaph of Crazy Jane, written by a James Sanderson (c. 1769-c.1841), was set to music by a Mr. G. Fox, and issued c.1799. This early date needs to be borne in mind as indicating just how close together in time the many variants of the theme of Crazy Jane. No comprehensive details of Fox have been unearthed but that he existed is confirmed elsewhere, not as composer but again linked with Spofforth:
We also find 'Crazy Jane's Epitaph. A favourite song, etc.' put out by a William Howgill (c.1768-1824), but without a date of publication. Howgill was a native of Whitehaven, known for a variety of compositions and active in London at around 1810. Some of his pieces were noted in The Monthly Magazine for 1805.57
The volume of Crazy Jane material that appeared in close order is yet again revealed in the Sequel to Crazy Jane, another 'favourite Song', written by C. Poole' (Caroline Poole, born around 1780 - the maiden name of Mrs. Dickons who was discussed above). It is thought that the piece was issued in 1800; and in the same year appeared 'The Birth of Crazy Jane. A New Song. With an accompaniment for the Harp or Piano by John Bernard Sale' (1779-1856): words by a James Henry Pye (1744-1813).58
There were two other pieces in this extended line of issue: 'The Death of Crazy Jane. A Favourite Song, with an Accompaniment for The Piano-Forte or Harp, etc.' written by Joseph Dale (already mentioned in text) with music by 'an Amateur' (hardly helpful); and 'Trust the Ghost of Crazy Jane. A Favourite Song with an Accompaniment of Fashion' (even less helpful). Both these pieces were registered at Stationers Hall in 1799 and 1800 respectively.59
A Thomas Welsh (c.1780-1848) can also be linked with Crazy Jane. Welsh was a singer, actor, pianist and composer, a teacher of singing of, amongst others, Catherine Stephens, mentioned above in this article; and of Mary Ann Wilson, whom he married in 1827. In 1800 he put out a piece entitled Crazy Henry to Crazy Jane 'with an accompaniment for the Piano Forte ... 1s. 6d., Longman, Clementi, and Co.' There is a short review in which the reviewer avers: 'This fong is compofed with confiderable ability, and deserves to be ranked with the moft refpectable vocal productions of the day' - a fair example of not saying much at all and representing several such reviews of the period.60
Yet another of those pieces entitled The Death of Crazy Jane was written by Robert Anderson (1770-1833) and had music by none other than James Hook (1746-1827) who composed music for a number of Anderson poems - in this case:
After this The Ghost of Crazy Jane 'with variations for the piano forte' by Louis Janson (c.1774-1840) appeared in January 1814. It turns out that Janson took to the drink and subsequently declined. This distressful fate echoes that of Urbani, both dying in poverty and, indeed, to John Rannie; and so to poems of a melancholy nature is added a curious series of parallel in actual lives - also including those of both Sarah Wilkinson and C. A. Somerset as described below in text.61
Finally, there is a complex light thrown onto The Death of Crazy Jane as having been set to a tune entitled Gin ye meet a bonny laffie ... and this serves to indicate that not all tunes associated with the Crazy Jane phenomenon were obviously composed even if there is still a suspicion that this was so. The pedigree of this music runs via Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) during the early part of the eighteenth century who the while claimed older precedents and then on through James Hogg (1770-1835); and then The Songs of Scotland of 1825 compiled by Alan Cunningham (1784-1842). Burns thought that the tune was 'very old' and could be traced 'in some of our most ancient manuscript music-books'. The Roud index has references to the same tune in a group of songsters.62.
It is not just as a particular song that Crazy Jane's life was prolonged. Spin-off poems enjoyed a similar attention. The theatre, as evidenced above, offered programmes of a mixed nature and Crazy Jane appeared in different guises. In one example, notice was, firstly, given in the Morning Post in 1801 (early on, then) that the 'KING's THEATRE' would present a 'NEW BALLET of BARBARA ALLEN'; and that, secondly:
The reference to 'Barbara Allen' is, in fact an inaccurate one although from time to time it continued to appear in advertisements. The 'ballet' was actually entitled Barbara and Allen and was 'composed' by J. H. D'Egville and published in London in 1801. D'Egville is considered further below.
It is the pas de trois, in this case,that invites most attention as being an entity even if illustrative of the narrative of Crazy Jane. This dance appearance can be paralleled. Barbara and Allen is described in another report (from 1801): 'A favourite ballet composed by Mr. d'Egville as represented at the King's theatre, Haymarket, including the famous pas seul of Mademoiselle Parisot'. Yet again, then, attention must be given to terminology, in this case pas seul, indicative of a single item. The use of language in these cases is similar to that of 'ballad' as referred to above. And one notes, interestingly, that the name of D'Egville seems to have been attached to the ballet and not to its music.
Further, in 1805, at the King's Theatre, 'Mademoiselle PARISOT' was to be seen on this occasion in a 'Grand SERIOUS OPERA' and at the end of the first act one could enjoy 'the favourite Ballet of CRAZY JANE; in which Mademoiselle Parisot will dance (by particular desire and for the last time) her most favourite hornpipe of Barbara and Allen'.64
Apart from anything else this once again illustrates the habit of mixing genres in the theatre. Similarly they separate any theatrical whole of Crazy Jane the ballet from a particular dance within it. They also distinguish the 'composition' of a ballet and the writing of music. In this respect there is an advertisement fora performance of the Grand Opera IL RATTO DI PROSERPINA ... 'to which will be added, a new Ballet, composed for the occasion by Mr. d'Egville, entitled CRAZY JANE' (and almost certainly the same ballet referred to in respect of Parisot). Subsequently, The Monthly Mirror recorded that:
Further, Lavenu, presumably seeing opportunity, had just advertised new music including 'the popular Ballet of CRAZY JANE; as danced at the King's Theatre, and the Theatre-Royal, Drury-lane: composed and arranged for the Piano Forte, with accompaniment for the harp, ad libitum, by Fiorillo, price 10s. 6d.'
And so another name has entered the equation, that of Frederico Fiorillo (1755-1823), born in Brunswick and like so many others of his profession, travelling for work, initially to Poland and then finding a post as chef d'orchestre to the theatre in Riga; from thence through Italy and France; and eventually to London.67
Collectively, descriptions such as 'hornpipe', pas de trois and pas seul are specific; and it looks, too, as if the term 'Opera' may sometimes have referred to cut-down versions, or perhaps extracts rather than to full-blown versions; or that it was a convenient term for an assemblage of music and song of a varied nature. In this respect, 'Serious Opera', referred to above, was a particular term in use at the time - as Parke's fascinating and often quite witty memoires illustrate. There is, indeed, no better demonstration of the distinctions amongst presentations than to quote Parke at some length - almost at random selecting the year 1786. He wrote:
Parke went on to note a new serious opera, composed by Tarchi, called 'Virginia', opening on 4th May.
The clutch of Italian names reflects the love affair between London audiences and Italian composers and singers (Cherubini 1760-1842, Paesiello 1740-1816, Tarchi 1760-1814). To pursue the line further is not particularly relevant to the present enquiry.
Parke, nonetheless, mentioned a 'concert of ancient music ... on January 31st' that 'their Majesties honoured by their presence ... Mr. Cramer was the leader. Muzio Clementi, whose name has briefly studded this enquiry, 'presided at the piano-forte'.
Further, Parke noted that Salomon gave 'six subscription concerts in Hanover Square, the first of which took place on the second of March. Further still, 'six oratorios were given this season ... by command of their Majesties'.
Still other events appear in Parke's memoirs. At the Covent Garden theatre, 'Mrs. Billington ... made her debut on the London boards, on the thirteenth of February, as Rosetta, in the opera of 'Love in a Village''. Billington's name has already appeared in this enquiry. And appears again - 'A new comic opera was produced at Covent Garden Theatre on the 8thof March, called 'The Fair Peruvian'. The overture and music were by Mr. Hook. In this piece Mrs Billington, whose powers are now considerably developed, sang two airs with ... uncommon effect.'
There were musical performances at Ranelagh and Vauxhall, well-known venues, and three 'grand performances at Westminster Abbey'. 'The King's Theatre opened for the season on the 23rd December, with the serious opera of 'Alceste'. Again at King's 'a new comic opera called 'Giannina Berdoni,' was performed on the 9thof January (1787).
And so it went on. The intensely crowded nature of performance is well illustrated and the variety underlined. Artistes were not necessarily confined to one genre. Royal patronage (George III) is manifested in the naming of theatres was much valued amongst fashionable adherents. Similarly, whilst a goodly portion of material simply disappeared ('The Fair Peruvian'?), at the same time the presence of distinguished classical composers is notable. Much of this glory, though, is clearly way beyond the initial and then the prolonged exposure of Crazy Jane.68
However, in the main line of enquiry here D'Egville may be further canvassed as an example of how the strands came together - though not in direct association with Crazy Jane. In 1779 Stationers Hall advertised the registration of a 'ballet' at the King's Theatre published by Messrs. Broderip and Wilkinson and entitled Télémaque. A Grand Ballet. The information is given that the 'ballet' was composed (my italics) by D'Egville but 'The music Composed and Compiled by D'Egville and Bossi' (Cesari Bossi: 1773-1802) - in fact the music was culled from several pre-existent pieces. But from the same Stationers Hall source comes another entry, this time to 'Soirées Amusantes' that included 'The favourite Tamborine Dance. As danced by Mademoiselle Parisot at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane'; and 'The Finale' in the grand ballet of Terpsichore's Return', composed by D'Egville with music by a Joseph Woelfl - Joseph Johann Baptiste Woelfl (1773-1812), an Austrian pianist and composer who first appeared in London in May of 1805, just before Les Soirées Amusantes was registered with Stationers Hall on 12th November 1805. The 'Tambourine Dance' can be added to Parisot's hornpipe and pas seul as items in her repertoire.69
The relationship between D'Egville and 'ballet' is the important issue.
Thus, with Crazy Jane particularly in mind - in 1806 the Royal Theatre Drury Lane presented 'MR. D'EGVILLE's NIGHT' when one could see 'the favourite ballet of CRAZY JANE (composed by Mr. [D'Egville])in which Madame Laborie (late of the Opera) has undertaken to perform the part of Crazy Jane' - as a dancer. She was, indeed, best-known as a dancer and there are several references in newspaper reports to her performances.70
By the middle 1820s newspaper references to the song Crazy Jane were becoming fewer and, likewise, the several ballets seem not to have enjoyed prolonged exposure. The references given here are, in any case, indicative rather than comprehensive. But it seems clear that song and ballet as they pertained to Crazy Jane were more or less superseded by the drama - as recorded in 1827 in the Morning Chronicle when amongst the items presented at the 'SURREY THEATRE' was 'a new Melo-drama called CRAZY JANE'. There is a brief sequence of reports in one of which the piece was described as 'the National Melo-drama of CRAZY JANE' (my italics). It was also noted that 'Jane' was performed by a Miss Montgomery (yet another name in the crowded forum.71
The idea of 'Melo-drama' was a fairly new phenomenon, created in part in order to satisfy a growing public of, perhaps, unsophisticated taste as referred to above - an audience rather like Elizabethan and Jacobean 'groundlings' - and performance consisted of short scenes interspersed with musical accompaniments. The morality was simple: good and evil; the characters likewise and using overblown language. Often, in 'Melo-drama', villains were of a superior social status and, in contrast, victims (the heroes and heroines) of a much more diminished caste. This acts as a reminder that, in traditional song, the tale was often about those who came from very different social strata and when one of the aims for the principals was frequently to marry someone of a higher social standing - love aside.
Almost to re-iterate, in any one programme one might find a 'Melo-Drama' alongside pantomime, 'ballad opera', circus, equestrianism, aquatic drama, glass-playing, tight-rope walking and much else that has been mentioned above. Philip Astley's was the most prominent name in such offerings in no less than nineteen theatres, where one might encounter entertainment such as:
In one such performance in 1827 - though not quite so comprehensively mixed - there appeared 'A new Comic Drama entitled ROUGH AND SMOOTH; or, Nature and Sentiment; by the Author of Crazy Jane' whose name is not supplied but which was given in a later report (1828) when, at the 'ROYAL AMPITHEATRE, Charlotte Street, Liverpool', there was a presentation including 'Pantomime' and 'Equestrianism':
Somerset's 'Melo-Drama'was issued and re-issued in at least 1828, 1829 and 1830. The verdict on him appears to have been that, whilst he was clever and well-educated, he had been led - even consigned - to producing 'popular melodramas' for the Surrey, Adelphi and Olympic theatres and nothing more. One comment indicates that he was paid but '25s' for a play; and his lasting epitaph seems to have been that of wearing a placard round his neck bearing the legend 'Ladies and Gentlemen I am starving'.74
The prolongation of 'Melo-drama' can be seen during 1829, in Liverpool, at HOLLOWAY'S SANS PAREIL, following but not connected to Somerset's emergence, but here the links begin to get more strained still with 'an interesting Melo-Drama, founded on facts in the reign of Queen Elizabeth entitled CRAZY JANE'. Nothing further has been found that would expand these brief details. Rather more clearly: in Leicester in 1832 at the 'Theatre' there was a performance of I TOOK A WIFE and this was 'To conclude with the new and interesting Melo-drama (never acted here) called CRAZY JANE'. A Mrs. Christian played Crazy Jane and the piece was to be presented 'as performed by her in London with loud and unbounded applause'. Again, as in the case of the 'Melo-Drama' there would appear not to have been a long run.75
'Melo-drama' also chimed in with the spread of Romanticism (though 'Romantic' is really too simple a term to be of great use: more as a gesture towards a period in time, roughly between 1790 and 1830) with settings involving ruined castles, mountains and exotic travel - and in which the Gothic imagination roamed.
As summary: the essential content and the drift in theatre life that took in variants of the Crazy Jane story is easily discernible. It can be seen that Crazy Jane as poem and song had been replaced even though there were resonances long after Lewis first penned his piece; and whilst much of the above as it referred to the theatre may be accounted slightly off-centre as regards the poem and song Crazy Jane the continued re-workings and evocations do illustrate the persistent degree of interest, markedly of a cross-current nature.
Indeed, the craze and its immediate developments having died down, as a matter of seeing how the thematic Gothic content of Crazy Jane was passed on, modified and re-issued, it is easy enough to find a small crop of rather more strange developments of the basic history outlined here.
The most prominent, associated at one remove with C. A. Somerset as described above, may have been the appearance of a novel entitled The Tragical History of Jane Arnold, sometimes issued with a more full title that added '... commonly called Crazy Jane; and Mr. Henry Percival' and sometimes with the epithet 'Tragic' rather than 'Tragical', depending on which printer issued copy; in itself, perhaps, telling us much about the lack of protection for authors about which there was much debate; and also about the whims of printers. The novel was written by a Sarah Wilkinson as one in a series of chapbook publications, sometimes known as 'Blue' books, that besprinkled the Gothic literary era.
Online sources reveal that Morren, printer of broadsides, Edinburgh, issued a copy of this story, probably in chapbook form and stimulated, no doubt, by its first appearance under the auspices of Anne Lemoine. There is also copy from Angus in Newcastle, issued at around 1812.
Sarah Wilkinson's own life was full of tragedy. She appears in history almost always as being in straitened circumstances, despite an occasional success; putting out chapbook after chapbook, and adaptations - 'tradactions' - of works that included two versions of the 'Monk' Lewis' melodrama The Castle Spectre, one in 1807 and another in 1820.The height of the Gothic 'chapbook' era looks if as it had occurred around 1810. Thereafter, Wilkinson full novels appeared intermittently and included The Bandit Of Florence (1819) and The Curator's Son (1830), Gothic in nature but without the shock-horror found in The Monk.
Sarah Wilkinson, who had a daughter, Amelia Scadgell (or 'Scudgell'), but who may or may not have been married, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1824; had to give up custody of her daughter and, after a life that declined in all respects, died through her cancer.76
As if Sarah Wilkinson's life and demise were not enough there was already one sad life-case reported in the Ipswich Journal:
And the echoes of the deaths of certain writers who took up the Crazy Jane theme prolongs the irony.
In terms of cultural absorption - oral remembrance - a court case from 1829 reveals how a Mrs. Carr was referred to by her neighbours as Crazy Jane.77
In these incidences it is worth noting how the newspapers drew on public memory and, pertinently, for how long Crazy Jane had already been absorbed into that memory - perhaps until people no longer actually did truly recall any of the circumstances of the first or any early appearance of the poem; a process that we are familiar with in the course of taking up traditional songs.
The vicissitudes of memory apart, whilst the height of popularity for Crazy Jane and associated manifestations had long passed, a print appeared as conceived by Richard Dadd (1817-1886) that was called Sketch for an idea of Crazy Jane. He also painted Agony-Raving Madness in 1854. The two works together underline a streak of obsession in Dadd's life and work and a credulous public. Dadd was, to say the least, an unfortunate individual. His own life was hair-raising: the murder of his own father whom he thought to be the Devil in disguise, a flight to France, an eventual return and confinement to Bethlem Hospital and then Broadmoor. He became known for his depictions of fairies and other supernatural subjects, all in minute detail and a good number created whilst he was a psychiatric patient. Dadd, in some measure, lived out the Gothic fantasy.
Such themes persisted and in a painting by James John Hill (1830-1870) we come across a portrait of Mad Margery, a Young Woman Driven Mad and Living in the Fields that evokes very similar histories as did that of Crazy Jane.78
The Mistletoe Bough, mentioned in discussion and doleful enough, illustrates how themes and associations persisted.
It is worth indicating that Crazy Jane surfaced as a text in the Hardy Puddletown manuscripts - a date of April 25th 1800 is attached in records although, as noted in the Hurd piece on this site, there has to be a doubt about the dating. Hardy was not born until 1840. Was it, then, that he used existing manuscripts? Alternatively, the date - not on copy - might indicate a first publication of Crazy Jane. It does transpire, anyway, that the Hardy record is in the nature of a Crazy Jane text that is faithful to the original save for one or two orthographic features - such as 'witts' and by the absence of the final lines as found in the Lewis version.79
One other off-centre example of how the name 'Crazy Jane' was adopted is that of the naming of race-horses after the character in the poem. And in this regard, Parisot had had a horse named after her that won the Epsom Derby in 1796;(an online reference). The appearance of horses so-named continued right through into the 1820s and several new owners are mentioned in both English and Irish newspapers. However, it becomes clear that such-and-such a horse was 'out of' Crazy Jane; and that then Crazy Jane became a pony or was used for coursing rather than racing. It is the name alone that binds them together and this race-horse phenomenon has to be seen as - amusingly? - peripheral to the progress of Crazy Jane in all its other guises.80
Much later again, W. B. Yeats wrote a series of Crazy Jane poems with a stylized tone of lament and rage at the world. The Yeats sequence of seven poems is small enough and its matter and form are far removed from the original poem - with which, it is still worth noting - he was familiar. The poem as song, though, may have eluded him. In any case, Yeats has a wonderful way of re-constituting older material. The obvious example would be Down by the sally gardens, thought to be derived from You Rambling Boys of Pleasure.81
The overall impact of Crazy Jane was, to say the least, considerable, not too far removed from that of Black-Ey'd Susan and in varied situations. In these disparate contexts - if, latterly, as rather isolated examples - social trends, theatre performance (a myriad list of actors and of plays and related items), literary output including chapbook production, some visual art and (in the present instance the proper study of mankind) broadside balladry, are amply illustrated. More particularly, as is the case with all broadside ballads and songs that have received individual attention throughout this series, there has been an attempt to discover something about genesis in print or appearance in vocal form. In this case, it can be seen quite clearly that Crazy Jane came out of mainstream if not elevated poetry and that its progress was diverse.
Finally, it is worth recording that whilst Crazy Jane seemed to have sunk out of sight, Henry Burstow's list of songs included Crazy Jane, The Birth of Crazy Jane and The Death of Crazy Jane. Further still, Crazy Jane was collected by Kenneth Peacock in Newfoundland as late as 1952 and the lyrics show a remarkable faithfulness to the original and their vehicle is an interestingly plangent tune that contrasts eloquently with the drawing-room output of Harriet Abrams et al. It is altogether an unusual survival.82
Click grahic above for MIDI file playback.
2. As a reminder, Hurd's copy of his Princess Charlotte ballad can be found as Madden Volume 90, Number 106.
3. It is worth noting that on 21st September 1800 at the Gosport theatre there was a performance of 'the comedy of THE EAST INDIAN by G. M. Lewis, Esq. Author of The Caftle Spectre'. During the same programme, in the typical fashion of the day, there were songs, in this case Black Ey'd Susan and The Veterans (see the advertisement in Hanpshire Telegraph for May 19th 1800). This admixture is a constant feature at the time, discussed at length below.
4. This was Margaret Baron-Wilson (Mrs. Cornwell Baron-Wilson), poet, playwright, lyricist, writer and editor, 1797-1846. The book in question, a biography thought to be one of the first by a female writer, was published anonymously in two volumes by Henry Colburn in London. The indirect reference to Margaret Baron-Wilson's married state and the fact that she actually published the relevant volume anonymously may be taken as a small piece of evidence as to how female writers perhaps continued to be viewed.
5. See Baron-Wilson, op cit, pp.187-188.
6. The poem is easily accessible and there are other forms of some words but Baron-Wilson wrote that 'We subjoin the original version, copied from a MS. in the handwrighting (sic) of the author' (op cit, p.188).
7. One measure of the Gothic phenomenon is that Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, appearing first as Susan in 1803 but then being revised and published - eventually - in 1817, was very much a parody of the Gothic novel. Catherine Morland, the heroine, actually has a list of seven Gothic novels for reading, all published during the 1790s; but real life - within the bounds of the novel - inevitably tempered her somewhat naïve immersion. Lewis, it should be said, was well aware of the real life affair of the mistress of Lord Sandwich, Martha Ray, who was assassinated by James Hackman after several attempts by him to marry her. This had the makings of a Gothic incident since Hackman was thought to have gone mad with love (see John Brewer: A Sentimental Murder, London, Harper/Collins, 2004) for an extended exposition.
8. Most of these copies are found in the Bodleian archive as follows: Burbage and Stretton (1797-1807) as Harding B 12(141); Davidson (1800) as 2806 c.12(50); Pitts between 1802-1819 as Harding B 17(65b), Harding B 17(66a) and after 1819 as Johnson Ballads 781; Catnach et al as Harding B 11(740); Pigott as Firth b. 26(46); Swindells as Harding B 25(444); Armstrong as Harding B 28(61) and Harding B 28(115); Dickinson (1823-34) as Firth b. 25(140) and Harding B 11(33); Walker as 2806 c.18(74) and Harding B 16(64c); Ross (1847-52) as Harding B 11(3647); Harkness (1840-66) as Firth b. 25(340); Thompson (Liverpool) as Harding B 17(741); Fortey (1858-85) as Harding B 11 (3066) and Harding B 11(3067); Ryle (1845-59) as Harding B 11(3068); Such (1863-85) as Harding B 11 (3070), Harding B 11 (3069) and 2806 b. 11(216); and copy without imprint as Firth b. 27(10). Madden copies are as follows: Pitts as Volume 75, Number 80, Volume 75, Number 320 and Volume 76 Number 111;Kendrew and Evans in British Library collections; Mate as Volume 89, Number 25; Russell as Volume 88, Number 302; Walker (Dur) as Volume 83, Number 722; Plant as Volume 87, Number 22. Ford copy is found in Roy Palmer's facsimile collection (Llanerch Publishers, 2001); Marshall via Roud in Thomson's Newcastle Chapbooks and A Garland of Newcastle Chapbooks (V & A); Angus in The Blooming Rose Garland (BL). There are also the obligatory Scottish printings: from Crawford (Kilmarnock) and Fraser (Stirling) - both in BL collections; and, likewise, Scott (Greenock) in a V and A collection; and Miller (Haddington) in the Ratcliffe Bibliothek.
9. As for Thompson, both BBTI and the Bodleian agree on one location at 22 Shawmills Street, Liverpool at around 1815-1816. Thompson's Crazy Jane, though, according to copy in the Bodleian, was printed out of 20 Button Street even if dates of trading there are not forthcoming as yet ... In respect of the location of Button Street, a Rootschat correspondent does indicate that Button Street and Whitechapel, another Thompson address, are back-to-back - front door in one and back door in another at his premises. There is much more to say about Thompson ... Readers may care to expand the notes given here.
10. Davenport copy of The Birth of Crazy Jane is found in the Bodleian archive as Johnson Ballads 301. The T. Evans copy of Crazy Jane's Epitaph is found via the Roud index in a British Library collection (there are no expanded details). The Lancaster Gazetteer printing is dated 20th June 1801.
11. The Jennings Henry; or The Sequel to Crazy Jane is found as Madden Volume74, Number 406. The Universal Songster 3 copy is on p.446 - this volume went into several editions but looks to have been issued first by the publisher Jones in London c.1825. The poem does not appear in the earliest editions but is certainly present in 1826 and 1834 editions. For Henry: A Sequel ... See (online) The Monthly Magazine, vol.10, an entry for 1800, p.67 with the recommended tune and a note that the author was 'Rannie'.
12. A SONG ... appeared in the Poetical Magazine,'dedicated to lovers of the muse', Volume 1, 1809, p.210 (online).
13. The Death of Crazy Jane is found in The New Whim of the Night, Or The Town and Country Songster for 1801, p.81 and in The Monthly Magazine for August 1802, p.266. It is worth noting that Miller in Haddington provided a Scottish copy - through a reference in the Ratcliff Bibliotheck.
14. The Ghost of Crazy Jane may be found in The New Whim ..., p.82; in The Syren ... vol.4, Newcastle 1816, p.29 (actually entitled THE GHOST OF CRAZY); and in A Garland of New Songs, containing, 1. Abraham Newland. 2. Crazy Jane. 3. The Ghost of Crazy Jane, Angus, Newcastle [1790?]. The last reference is to a volume in the National Library of Australia (online). Marshall copy can be found in Leslie Shepard's book on Pitts, (London, Private Libraries Association, 1969) p.100. The next piece mentioned in text ('Ye who feek ... ') can be found in The Modern Songster , Huddersfield and London, n.d., p.38. The Nicholson piece is found in his Tales in Verse and Miscellaneous Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Manners, p.264. This was a collection for which two editions are available online, the first published in 1814, the second in 1828. There is a Life, written by a John M'Diarmid contained within the volume - but no details of where and by whom the poems were issued. The version with tune is found in another volume in the National Library of Australia (online).
15. The Aberdeen Journal reference is dated 30th July 1800. The reference to Henry's Return is found in the Monthly Magazine , vol.61, August 1800, p.67 (online). Pitts copy is found in Madden as Volume 75, Number 320; from Plant in Madden as Volume 87, Number 95; and from Williams in Madden as Volume 88, Number 376. It looks likely that the Plant copy was issued by T. and W. quite late on in the nineteenth century. BBTI has no mention of this pairing.
16. Finlay published a selection of Scottish Historical and Romantic ballads, chiefly ancient (1808). Sir Walter Scott praised 'the beauty of some imitations of Scottish ballads'.
17. This piece was put together under a pseudonym - 'VALERIAN' - and printed in The Philadelphia Repertory for Saturday October 9th 1811 (online).
18. Holland copy is found in the Bodleian archive as Curzon b. 3(138) - and dated 1801. Davenport copy of Crazy Paul is found as Madden Volume 71, Number 413; Shelmerdine copy as Madden Volume 85, Number 76. The Bodleian gives dates for William and John Shelmerdine as printers between 1800 and 1849. BBTI gives 1798-1866. Clearly, this embraces the other appearances of Crazy Paul and, logically, suggests a similar time of printing around 1801. The Goode Songster is found as a Roud reference.
19. Davy, incidentally, was also credited by Sabine Baring-Gould as being the 'author' of the 'imperishable' song, In the Bay of Biscay, 'words by A. Cherry'. See notes in vol.I of English Minstrelsy T. c. and E. c. Black, Edinburgh, 1895, p.xxxii. Cherry penned the words of this song c.1805. Baring-Gould's further comments are found in an essay in Devonshire Characters ... (London, John Lane, The Bodley Head, n. d.), pp.351-354.
20. The anecdote involving Mrs. Mountain (c.1768-1841) comes from The Gentleman's Magazine for July 1841, p.325. She and another notable, Mrs. Bland (Maria Bland, 1769-1838), were - obviously - contemporaries. Mrs. Bland is considered further below.
21. Mrs. Mountain sang in the regular offerings called 'HAYMARKET ORATORIOS' in an entirely new REQUIEM, 'composed by Signor Rauzzini of Bath, under the immediate direction of Dr. Arnold' (Morning Post. 6th March 1801). Rauzzini lived between 1746 and 1810 and was directed and financed concert life in Bath between c.1781 and his death in 1810. He 'instructed' the leading singer John Braham. Samuel Arnold lived between 1774 to 1852 (it was Arnold who wrote The Death of Nelson, sung by Braham and noted in MT article 172 - The Nile, Nelson and others). There are many other references to Mrs. Mountain in newspaper advertisements and reports, some included here - one recorded in the Morning Post for 22nd April 1820. It was the opinion that Mrs. Mountain was 'always irreproachable and an ornament to society'. The 1825 reference is found online in Oxberry's Dramatic Biography.
22. The Fitzwilliam Museum reference is in an online Short-Title Catalogue of Music Printed before 1825 (eds. Valerie Rumbold and Iain Fenton) n. d., p.1. A version of Crazy Jane 'for three voices' appears to have been published by Lavenu in or around 1799 and another for voice and piano, published by Rhames in 1800. One wonders if, in fact, the two versions appeared together.
23. Miles Peter Andrews (1742-1814) was a dramatist - and a Member of Parliament. The first edition of The Shade of Henry was published by Lavenu in 1800. Andrews was mentioned briefly in MT article 155: Besley of Exeter. Incidentally, Harriet Abrams set the anonymous text The Ballad of William and Nancy 'Written to commemorate an interesting incident which happened on the embarkation (sic) of the 85th Regt. August 10th, 1799, at Rainsgate'. There is, no doubt, a story here but the poem began with 'As on the transport's dusky side ...' - and there is no obvious connection between this and traditional songs of lament concerning William and Nancy .
24. Thomas Haigh (1789-1808) was a respectable enough composer and is credited, for instance, with arrangements of a selection from Mozart's Zauberflote and of 'The Bugle Horn, a favourite Air; arranged as a Rondo for the Piano-Forte ...' He also appears to have been a writer of sorts. See The Monthly Magazine, Volume 10, 1800, p.67 and Volume 19, 1800, p.385. Haigh based work on the tune Go to the Devil and shake Yourself introduced to repertoire, it seems, by John Field and published by Broderick and Wilkinson, perhaps in 1797, and again by Longman and Broderick in 1797 and Longman and Clements c.1800.
25. For Urbani see Caledonian Mercury for 2nd February 1800. For Mrs. Collins see Portsmouth Telegraph for 31st March 1800; and there is much more about her and her husband in the pages of the Hampshire Chronicle. Tom Collins (1744-1807) was the son of John Court, who adopted the name Collins and was for fifty years manager of the Salisbury theatre. A brother of Collins the younger, Stephen, managed the Portsmouth theatre but it is not clear when any transfer left 'T. Collins' in charge. A partnership of Collins and James Davies was involved in the management of theatres at Salisbury, Winchester, Chichester, Southampton, Portsmouth and Newport (IOW) around the turn of the century - effectively a southern theatre circuit. During the earliest years of the nineteenth century Mr. and Mrs. Collins (and with a son) appeared together and separately in a variety of situations. For an extended review of Collins and others connected with the theatre in Hampshire, see Paul Ranger - The Rivals: Two Georgian Theatre Managers in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club Archaeological Society, vol.43, 1987, pp.219-235.
26. See the Caledonian Mercury for 14th and 17th May 1800. It was the practice to take out successive advertisements and, sometimes, advertisements in more than one newspaper ... Fanny Kemble, a niece of the celebrated John Philip Kemble and of the equally prominent Sarah Siddons, was born in 1809 and saw out the most of the nineteenth century, dying in 1893. The notice quoted here seems to be the only reference to Fanny Kemble in connection with Crazy Jane.
27. Mrs. Bland's burst of activity are cited in an online version of 'a calendar of plays', The London Stage (Southern Illinois University Press, 1968), part5, 2:2197-98. This notice is also referred to in Paula R. Feldman and Theresa M. Kelley: Romantic Women Writers: Voices and Controversies, University Press of New England/Hampshire and London, 1995, p.245.
28. Newspaper references to Mrs. Bland and as cited in text are as follows: As You Like It in the Morning Chronicle 19th April 1803; Much Ado ... in the Morning Chronicle 23rd May 1803; Love for Love in the Morning Chronicle 3rd June 1803; Pizarro in the Morning Chronicle 29th May 1804.
29. See Feldman and Kelly, op cit. It seems that, in contemporary commentary, Mrs Bland was seen as a pre-eminent singer of 'English ballads' - a category given a little more attention during discussion here.
30. Mrs. Bland sang at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (along with Bannister junior, a familiar name in the theatre annals of he time) in a performance of As You Like It and No Song for Supper - a typical juxtapositioning ... see the Morning Post for 3rd November 1801; and, for a 'Masquerade' at the King's Theatre - another benefit night for Mrs. Bland - the Morning Post for 6th May 1803. Two more online references record that she sang during a performance of The Smuggler's Cove in 1810 and at Vauxhall in 1812.
31. For the first Royal, Covent Garden appearance, see the advertisements in the Morning Post for 24th March 1801 and then 10th and 14th April 1801. Mrs. Second's appearance in Liverpool was noted in the Morning Post for 22nd April 1801. The subsequent Second references are as follows: the Morning Post for 22nd April 1802 - a second Royal, Covent Garden appearance (in The Woodman) and a third (in The Siege of Belgrade) on 30th March 1805. Mrs. Second's appearance in the Russell Rooms, Edinburgh was advertised in the Morning Post for 13th April 1805. The concert when the Abrams tune was mentioned is found recorded in the Morning Chronicle for 7th May and 9th of May 1805. The Mattocks benefit was advertised in the Morning Post for 4th May1801. Isabella Mattocks, born Hallam in 1765, was brought up by a guardian, went into acting very early in her life and worked at Covent Garden for forty-six years in a wide range of roles. References to the death of Mrs. Second can be found in the Morning Chronicle for 22nd October 1805 - and the Lancashire Gazetteer ... and York Herald (syndicated) for 26th October 1805. 'Signora Storace', was Anna (or Ann) Selina Storace, usually known as Nancy, born in London in 1765 and dying in 1815. She was an opera singer, sister of Stephen Storace, composer of The Siege of Belgrade, mentioned elsewhere in text; had studied with the 'celebrated castrato', Veranzio Rauzzini ; worked in Vienna during the 1780s; had the part of Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro written for her; went through a disastrous marriage with one Abraham Fisher; and retired from the stage in 1808.
32. In date order, the many Dickons references are as follows: the first Corri's Rooms appearance was noted in the Caledonian Mercury for 8th January 1807; followed by the Morning Post reference on 10th January 1807 (repeated 12th and 23rd January) - the Liverpool reference. The second and third Corri's references in the Caledonian Mercury were for the 7th and 9th of February 1807 ('se constante'). Mrs. Dickons' appearances on behalf of Signora Storace were reported in the Morning Post for 1st 13th and 18th April 1807. Her appearance at the Royal was repeated in the Morning Post for 2nd, 3rd and 4th May 1808. The Morning Post reported her 'favourites' on 9th May 1808 and the Caledonian Mercury advertised Lionel and Clarissa on 29th June 1809. The benefit for Palmer occurred in 1812, noted in the Morning Chronicle for 27th May 1812 and again, this time in the Morning Post on 10th November 1814; and the 1819 appearance noted in the Morning Post for 30th March 1819. Mrs. Dickon's other efforts included her singing 'by particular defire' No body cumming (sic) to marry me in Corri's Rooms, Edinburgh- an advertisement in the Caledonian Mercury on 19th January 1807 for a concert on 23rd - and sacred songs on 26th of the same month.
33. See Margaret Baron-Wilson, op cit, p.189. In respect of 'fashionable parties', instances can be found under the title The Mirror of Fashion in the Morning Chronicle for 19th April 1803, under the title Fashionable World in the Morning Post for 6th March 1806. The HMS Charlotte notice is found in the Hampshire Telegraph for 18th April 1819. No sign of the hat has yet been found (another instance of such a feature comes to the fore during Vaughan Williams' 1911 visit to Norfolk where he collected a song that went to the tune of the 'Dolly Vardon' hat).
34. References to female singers in text are as follows: to Mary Taylor (1753-1834) inPhilip H. Highfill, Kalman A. Burnim, Edward A. Langhans: Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardswille, 1991, vol.14, p.251; to the benefit night for 'Mrs. Chapman' in the Hull Packet 25th January 1803; to 'Kelly' in the Morning Post 13th May 1805 and to 'Mr. Wood' and 'Mrs. Bramwell' in the Hull Packet, 10th December 1805. Madame Laborie (formerly Theresa Simonet), wife of Louis Laborie, was active particularly at the start of the new century and associated with several particular dances but there is not much to fill in a life-history. 'Giles Scroggins' Ghost, a Charles Dibdin piece, was very popular amongst broadside printers across the country as can be seen in the Roud index and there are other references to songsters that indicate a long life since they inevitably canvassed material from all quarters. Kelly (born in Dublin in 1762) has a prominent profile at this time deserves a more extensive biography than is given here.
35. References to 'Miss Atkins' and 'Mr. Hill' are found in the Caledonian Mercury, 28th August 1806. The relationship was not as it first seems. Miss Atkins - Eliza - was born in 1787 as a Warrell to a well-known provincial theatre couple in the Bath and Bristol area. She studied with Rauzzini, mentioned elsewhere in text. Evidently she married a William Atkins in 1796 - which seems unlikely. Nonetheless, she appeared at the Haymarket and Covent Garden theatres in 1797 and after. By 1806 she was not with her husband but, as 'Miss Atkins from Covent Garden', appeared with a 'Mr. Hill'. By 1807 she was being described as 'Mrs. Hill, formerly Mrs. Atkins'. 1806 was exactly the time that she and Hill appeared in Edinburgh as described here in text. See A Biographical Dictionary ... ed Highfill et al, p.168ff.
36. The contract business is complicated. London would seem to have offered the height of ambition and, as usual, Dorothy Jordan's career provides a useful example of progress. She was employed for £4 a week at the Drury Lane Theatre in 1785; and by 1789 had advanced her remuneration to £30 a week for three performances. Most provincial actors and actresses received between eighteen shillings and a guinea per week and a provincial contract might run for half a week or for a couple of months. It was something of a coup for a provincial theatre to secure the services of a known London celebrity. Benefits were usually organised by the principals and it is worth noting that some were arranged for the staff of theatres. Similarly, actors and actresses frequently put on a show for charity. Again, Dorothy Jordan is a case in point. Clearly, there must have been variations in these schemes of employment and service. See, for instance, Paul Ranger: op cit and Claire Tomalin : op cit passim.
37. The reference to Miss Jackson is found in the Hull Packet 10th February 1807. There would not seem to be any other direct references anywhere and the only possible clue to Miss Jackson's career is to be found in the Biographical Dictionary ... (Highfill et al ) where there is a note on a Miss Jackson found working at Drury Lane and elsewhere in London between 1795 and 1800. This, to say the least, is an uncertain link. The references to 'Miss Johnson' and her benefit and to 'Miss King' are found in the Hull Packet, 17th July 1810. 'Miss King' could be described as a local celebrity, appearing at the New Theatre Royal, Hull on several occasions additional to that on which she sang Crazy Jane. See, for instance, the Hull Packet on 29th May,12th June, 3rd and 6th July - all in 1810 - and 8th January 1811. Likewise, 'Miss Johnson' is referred to in the Hull Packet for 17th and 31st August 1807 and the York Herald for 18th August 1810 and, more specifically, at the York Theatre - 23rd March 1811. For the particular reference to Elizabeth Feron (c. 1793-7?-1853), see the Caledonian Mercury for 25th March 1811. There are many other references to 'Miss Feron' (sometimes 'Ferron' or 'Farren') in newspaper reports.
38. For Johnstone see Morning Post 28th April 1801 plus other advertisements - almost certainly John Henry Johnstone (1749-1828), who was associated with the theatre in Drury Lane over the period from c.1803 until his retirement in 1822. Johnstone appeared in both opera and in comic drama and, as indicated in text, became known as 'Irish' Johnstone because of the many 'Irish' characters that he played. An obituary can be found in both the Morning Post and The Standard for 1st January 1829 (he died in December 1828) which described him as a 'celebrated comedian'. He married twice, fathered a daughter, and, it seems, conducted extra-marital affairs. Johnstone is mentioned briefly in a recent consideration of the song Miss Patty Puff (MT article 305).
39. Reference to both the Listons are found in the Morning Post 28th August 1807 and the Morning Chronicle for 29th August. Theirs was a benefit night at the Theatre Royal Hay-Market. There is plenty of evidence for their appearances together and separately during 1807 and on into 1808 and they seemed to have divided their time between the 'Theatre Royal Hay-Market' and the 'Theatre Royal Covent-Garden'. They also played and sang in the company of Mrs. Dickons and Mrs. Mattocks. Mr. Liston's party piece was Giles Scroggins' Ghost. Mrs. Liston sang a variety of songs including Nobody's Coming to Marry Me (The Royal ... Hay-Market - recorded in the Morning Post for 20th August 1807) This is enough to establish their profile at the time. The MT article on Porter is numbered 299.
40. The Cambridge reference is found in the Morning Post for 6th March 1801.
41. For the reference to Pomfret, see the Morning Post, 1st May 1800.
42. For the female display, see the Morning Post, 13th October 1806.
43. The Horsham fete is recorded in the Morning Post, 7th December 1805.
44. Mrs. Herbert was active most often in association with the Royalty theatre in 'Wells-street, Goodman's-fields', London and, when that theatre burned down in 1805, with Astley's and the Royal Ampitheatre, Westminster - not, then, the 'legitimate' theatre as a rule. 'FANCY'S FESTIVAL' is recorded in the Morning Post for 3rd November 1801. Other references in text to Mrs. Herbert and Crazy Jane are found in the Morning Post for 15th February 1802 and 4th November 1802.The Goodman's Fields mixture (fairy grove) is found advertised in the Morning Post for 26th December 1803. The Sadler's Wells and Astley's references are found in the Morning Post for 25th June 1804. The other references to mixed presentations are found in the Morning Post for 3rd October 1804, the Morning Chronicle for 22nd October 1804 and in the Morning Post for 26th November 1804. It appears that Mrs. Herbert was a member of the Crow Street (Dublin) ensemble during the winter season beginning in November 1802.There are a few dozen references to her in newspapers between 1798 and 1820, taking in the period of Crazy Jane's greatest exposure as a song but, so far, it has not been possible to find her life-dates. Her husband was James Dowling Herbert (1762/3-1837), a prominent Irish artist who tried his luck, indifferently, on the London stage.
45. Details for von Nolcken are found in Franz Potter: Writing for the Spectre of Poverty ... 2003 - an on-line article; and von Nolcken's setting of Crazy Jane was registered at Stationers Hall on 22nd May 1799. Latour appears as composer elsewhere as 'T. Latour' in an online Library of Congress catalogue of Annotated Music with a published version of 'Ah! Nanny: a celebrated ballad song', performed in London 'at the Queen's concerts by Mrs. Billington and Madame Mara': words by a T. Pechy: dated to 1800. 'Billington' is mentioned elsewhere in these notes. Further still, the same Library of Congress catalogue includes 'The favourite hornpipe danced by Madame del Caro at the King's Theatre Hay Market in the cantata of La Vittora with variations for the pianoforte, violin and flute'; attributed to Latour (he used the initial 'T' on occasion) and dated to 1802 (George Kauntze - below - also claims such a piece). Latour is further credited with a setting of Nobody's Coming to Woo Me, published by Bland and Weller c.1800-1806, thus adding to the intrigue surrounding this piece as discussed in MT article 299 on Porter.
46. George Henry Kauntze was born around 1776 and composed a substantial number of music-pieces for a variety of instrumental ensembles.
47. The references in text to Kauntze and Williams are from an American online page; and I have been unable to verify or expand details relevant to the life of the latter composer though he is noted elsewhere online as musician and composer. The reference to Williams is clear - found on an Amazon advertisement - but no clarifying detail has yet emerged.
48. See the Morning Post for 1st May 1807.
49. Within a mile of Edinburgh Town exists in two forms: as a written piece from Thomas D'Urfey that can also be found on broadsides and was set to music by Hook; and as a strathspey which appeared, as instance, in The Scots Musical Museum, vol.1, Song 408 ... (published between 1787 and 1803). Dale's contribution is found in a Library of Congress online catalogue of annotated music as 'the favorite (sic) Scotch air with variations for solo piano' (the catalogue is mentioned elsewhere in this article). The Evans Julia's Lamentation is found in the Bodleian archive as Harding B 17(152b). 'Stevenson' was Sir John, a composer with some credit but never amongst the most prominent.
50. The publication of Cramer's variations was advertised in the Morning Post for 5th November 1801. Benjamin Flight was the son of another Benjamin, organ-builder, who had himself set up a firm of organ-builders with one Kelly. Flight junior's partnership with Joseph Robson was dissolved in 1832. The references to premises can be found in the Morning Post for 18th December 1818 ('rooms') and 20th August 1818 ('warerooms').
51. The Stewart-Wainright reference can be found in the same newspaper for 17th July 1823. Harriet Wainwright (1780-1840) composed songs, choruses, duets and trios and was also known for producing dramatic poems, mainly in London between 1803 and 1836. She composed a well-thought-of opera Comala before her marriage and there are various comments in magazines - Belle Assemblée in 1823 (p. 133), The Harmonicon, 1828 (p; 165) where her song The White Maid of Avenel is noted. And New Monthly Belle Assemblée, vol.4 1836 (p. 323) where her reputation as singer is mentioned and where it is remarked that it was a pity that she had lived so long in retirement.
52. References to Miss Paton (Mary Ann, Mary Anne and sometimes Marianne) can be found in the Morning Post for 8th and 15th May 1823. The Caledonian Mercury for 3rd July 1824 also noted an appearance in Edinburgh. She married and divorced Lord William Pitt Lennox; and married again to Joseph Woods, tenor singer, with whom she travelled to America in 1840. She died in 1864. The George Barnwell reference may be found in the Morning Post for 25th February 1818.
53. The Dibdin concerned was not Charles - who did create The British Fleet of 1342; but Thomas J., the son; with music composed by John Braham. The English Fleet appeared in February 1803 and during its first outings featured Braham, Incledon and Nancy Storace (who conducted a long liasion with John Braham). The performance discussed above was noticed in the Morning Post for May 26th 1823: scheduled for June 2nd at a Braham benefit. Catherine Stephens made 'her first appearance' as Catherine in The English Fleet, described as a comic opera, opposite Braham's Valentine and it was on this occasion that she sang Crazy Jane. There are paragraphs in William Thomas Parke's Musical Memoirs (1830, p.324 - online) discussing the first performance in December 1803. Characteristically, Parke let slip a few humorous few morsels, none seriously affecting the profile of the piece although he did note that the opera was not, at first, well received.
54. The piece is not registered at Stationers Hall although several other Bolton pieces are. The reference here can be found, without specifics, as an online Amazon advertisement; but confirmation of a kind is also found in Jonathan Andrews: The (un)dress of the mad poor in England, c.1650-1850 (the piece is online, dated 2007 and attributed to Andrews at the university of Newcastle ...).
55. Spofforth and Hail Smiling Morn are both cited in Ian Russell's invaluable documentation, specifically at Hathersage and Worrall, through cassettes and booklets of carols material gathered from the pubs around Sheffield during the 1990s.
56. The faint praise for Fox is found in The Monthly Magazine, Or, British Register, Volume 7, 1799, p.228. Further in connection with Fox, the Stationers Hall register carries an entry as follows: 'G. Fox The Parachute, or All the World Balloon Mad. A much admired comic song. Written by Mr. [G] Fox.'and dated '4/10/1802' and adds that it was 'Ludicrously descriptive of five aerial excursions in England made by Mr [André Jacques] Gamerin'.
57. William Howgill succeeded his father as organist in Whitehaven (his sister also played the organ professionally) and put out several secular songs as well as piano sonatas, organ voluntaries and anthems. Music for a Burns text is one of those noted in The Monthly Magazine, vol.XX, 1805, p.169. This was 'Anna, thou my firft and only chofen' - and was sung by a Mrs. Watler, 'at feveral private conferts'. A British Library catalogue of printed books (available online) indicates that Crazy Jane's Epitaph was published by one Preston 'for the author'. The BL also records that Howgill issued some works for organ or 'Piano-Forte', again published by Preston with a tentative date of 1800.
58. Sale was a bass singer, composer and teacher, who spent much of his career in church administration. Pye, early on in his adult life, was MP for Berkshire and then a police magistrate. He became Poet Laureate - his poetry was much despised - as well as father-in-law to Samuel Arnold who is mentioned elsewhere in this article and was a prominent figure in connection with the theatre especially at the Lyceum and then in Drury Lane.
59. Registration was made on 11/10/99 (Dale) and 13/1/1800. There are references to the pieces in an an online Amazon advertisement for wares. Apropos Dale, The Stationers Register also records (31/3/1801) 'The favourite Irish air in the performance of Harlequin Amulet, and the dance of Barbara and Allen. Arranged as a rondo for the piano forte by J. Dale'. Dale was born in 1750 and died in 1821 and produced a small but varied output, notably arrangements of country dances and various tunes: for instance, Gary Owen, Go to the Devil , and Moll in the Wad.
60. The review of the piece by Welsh appeared in The Monthly Magazine ... vol.10, 1800, p.458.
61. The setting by Louis Charles (sometimes Ludwig Carl) Janson is dated Ist January 1814. Janson is credited with many songs and settings such as The Moon's on the Lake or The Macgregor Gathering, a poem by Scott, published by Lavenu and Mitchell in 1803. He also published four volumes of national airs - English, Scottish, Irish and French and these included settings of Garry Owen, 'a Favourite Air in Harlequin Amulet' arranged for pianoforte and published in London around 1800, Paddy O'Carrol, 'Irish Air' arranged as a rondo for pianoforte and also published in London, this time around 1810, Robin Adair, as another rondo for pianoforte, published in London in 1813; and here to illustrate a degree of versatility, a Thomas Moore poem, Thy Form in youthful Prime, arranged for piano forte and published in London in 1814. Janson, as noted in text, unfortunately succumbed to the effects of drink, ending up destitute, wandering the streets and dying in a London shelter.
62. Ramsay's 'Gin Ye Meet ...' was thought to have been a Scottish version of the ninth ode of Horace! The first four lines are, however, exempted from direct descent, the implication being that Ramsay had contrived them rather than inheriting them. These connections need not concern us unduly here. However, the tune that Ramsay is said to have used was one entitled Gar rub her ower wi' straw which may be found in the Glen collection of Scottish music in the National Library of Scotland. Hogg's version may be found in The Poetical Works of the Ettrick Shepherd ... vol.5, MDCCCXL, p.25. The overall pedigree of the piece is assured.
63. See the Morning Post, 6th March 1801. Marie-Louise Hilligsberg was particularly popular during the last decade of the eighteenth century and on into the first decade of the nineteenth. She moved to France with her husband in 1802-3. Her popularity was enhanced by her custom of dancing in men's trousers. At a benefit on 26th March 1795 she and her sister had performed a Russian dance in men's trousers. She was not the only one to provoke attention in such a manner. Eliza Vestris was probably the better-known as a cross-dresser (there is a series of references to Vestris in MT article 155 - Besley of Exeter ). In a curious way these instances reflect the adoption of men's trousers per se as discussed in MT article 304 - Hurd of Shaftesbury.
64. Barbara and Allen received its première in London on 17th February 1801 and was published in Dublin and Broderip and Wilkinson in London - a Stationers Hall reference with the mention of 'pas seul' and Parisot is dated 11th March 1801. The music was performed during that year at the King's theatre, Haymarket. James Harvey D'Egville was the 'composer' of the ballet Also worth noting is D'Egville's 'admired Scoth (sic) air in the favourite ballet of Barbara and Allen : arranged as a rondo for the piano-forte', published in Dublin by Messrs. Hine in 1801. As well as the Parisot reference in the Stationers Hall Register notice of her appearance was given in the Morning Chronicle for 28th May and (retrospectively) 31st May 1805. Parisot's life- dates are uncertain (c.1775- after 1837) and so is her Christian name - possibly 'Rose', possibly 'Céline'. She is recorded as both 'Madamoiselle Parisot' and 'Madame Parisot'. She was noted as a dancer who dressed, like Hilligsberg) in men's trousers and also danced provocatively, bringing down the ire of a bishop or two. The Morning Chronicle indicated that Parisot 'will introduce her celebrated Shawl Pas Seul' (5th February 1806) - another dance in her repertoire to go with the Barbara and Allen 'hornpipe', her pas de trois and her plain (?) pas seul. She retired from the stage in 1807 and married a 'Mr. Hughes'.
65. The clutch of D'Egville references are as follows: to Il Ratto in the Morning Chronicle for 23rd March 1805; to La Clemenza in the Morning Chronicle for 6th April 1805; to the Monthly Mirror, vol.19, 19th June 1805; and to Lavenu in the Morning Post for 6th June 1805.
66. The reference to 'Billington' and 'Grassini' must be to the period 1803-1805 when they appeared in Il Ratto as rivals (not pre-planned). Elizabeth Billington (c.1768-1876) was the daughter of a German immigrant (Weichshel) who passed through a number of marriages, first to Billington until she left for the continent in 1794, returning to England in 1801. She was eventually re-united with her first husband and retired from the stage in 1811. Guiseppina Grassini (1773-1850) was an Italian contralto and singing teacher who, after a successful continental career, appeared in London in 1804-1805. She retired in 1823 and perhaps her greatest profile (again, off-centre in relation to her singing) was as a serial lover, taking unto herself both Napoleon and Wellington.
67. The publication of Lavenu's Fiorillo was advertised in the Morning Post for June 6th 1805. In England, Fiorillo's performances and compositions were much admired, especially his trios, which were thought little inferior to those of Boccherini'. His most enduring work was a set of thirty-six Caprices or Etudes. This was his normal music world and a far cry from the kinds of theatre presentations being discussed here - but since the names of Haydn and Beethoven (and others such as Schumann) can also be linked with songs - and 'folk' tunes - Fiorillo can be seen to have been in good company.
68. Parke's Musical Memoirs are available online and quotations here are taken from p.59 ff.
69. The Stationers Hall registration of Télémaque was dated 26th April 1799 - the publication by Broderip and Wilkinson being a first edition (and there is another edition dated 1805 - just in time for the performances noted here). Soirées Amusantes was registered on 12th November 1805. On the same day, Stationers Hall registered Woelfl's 'Three sonatas for piano forte, in which are introduced the favourite Scotch airs of O Nanny wilt thou gang with me, and Roy's Wife' (presumably the principal in Roy's Wife of Aldivalloch - a piece that appeared as broadside copy from printers - for example, Kendrew, Croshaw, Armstrong, Pratt and Harkness).
70. 'D'Egville's Night ...' was advertised in the Morning Post for 5th and 10th May 1806. The King's performance was recorded in the Morning Post for 12th May 1806. The appearances of Madame Laborie are scattered throughout the years turning on the end of the eighteenth century and through until at least 1814 but, as indicated above in notes, life details are hard to come by. The Rauzzini references are to be found in the Morning Post for 6th and 9th March 1801; to the Messiah and Elisha in the Morning Post for 12th March1801; and, just to see how the phenomenon persisted, for the Messiah again in the Leeds Mercury for 29th April 1814.
71. The sequence is as follows: in the Morning Chronicle for 18th June 1827 - a 'Melo-drama' ; in the Morning Chronicle for 23rd June 1827- a 'National Melo-Drama'; in The Examiner for 15th July 1827 - Crazy Jane (no name attached); and in the Morning Post for 30th Jul 1827, Crazy Jane played by Miss Montgomery. Little else appears to be known about Miss Montgomery. Colburn's New Monthly Magazine (part three) for 1st January 1827 had recorded an appearance as Juliet at the Surrey theatre ( p.334). That seems to be all. It might just be added that the Morning Chronicle for 20th July 1827 advertised a performance of Rough and Smooth 'by the author of Crazy Jane'
72. Philip Astley (1742-1814) was an outstanding figure in matters of entertainment, known as the father of he modern circus. His passion was horses and he established his Ampitheatre in humble circumstances in 1768 as a horse-riding show, expanding the fare with clowns and then other 'acts'. He was able to canvas the continent, especially useful when the London season closed - until he had some nineteen 'circuses'. Theatre was subject to the 1737 licensing act which allowed but two London theatres, in Drury Lane and at Covent Garden, to put on plays as 'legitimate' theatre. All else was subject to a variety of developments, such as have been discussed in text.
73. The two references may be found in the Morning Chronicle for 20th July 1827 and the Liverpool Mercury for 2nd May 1828. Rough and Smooth was noted in the Morning Chronicle for 20th July 1827 and Somerset's name in the Liverpool Mercury for 2nd May 1828. In respect of Somerset's career, The Hull Packet for 20th September 1831 gave the information that at 'HOLLOWAY'S SANS PAREIL' theatre, Liverpool, there was a presentation of THE STATUE LOVER, 'The whole to conclude with an entirely new Polish Melo-Dramatic Spectacle of intense interest and peculiar effect, written by c.A. Somerset, Esq. Author of Shakespeare's Early Days, Crazy Jane, etc,& entitled THE TWINS OF WARSAW'.
74. Charles Somerset was described as 'an indefatigable labourer in the dramatic field - but he has not received the encouragement that is due to his industry'. These were remarks (online) made in an introduction to his play Shakespeare's Early Days, presented in October 1829 with a cast including Kemble, John Russell, Diddear and Blanchard, all theatre personnel featuring throughout the period one or two discussed or to be discussed elsewhere. Somerset's drama included the ringing lines:
75. The 'Queen Elizabeth' note is found in the Liverpool Mercury for 11th December 1829. Mrs. Christian's name, like so many others, can be found included in several 'legitimate' presentations during this period in time. She was born Francis Anne Walton in 1792 and married twice, the first time to Robert William Hall in 1813 and then to Thomas Berry Christian, a Leicester bookseller, in 1827 (she is referred to as 'Mrs. T. Christian' in the Leicester Chronicle for 19th November 1831). No date of death has yet been found but Mrs. Christian was certainly alive as a pensioner, along with her husband, at the Royal Dramatic College in 1870. Reference to I Took A Wife is in the Leicester Chronicle for 3rd November 1832 and to Crazy Jane in the Leicester Chronicle for 3rdNovember 1832.
76. The publishing history of Wilkinson's Jane Arnold is still slightly complicated. There is no clear date for issue as a chapbook but there is one definite date of publication in conventional book form in 1813, from W. Davidson in Alnwick. There were subsequent editions of the book during the nineteenth century. It should be added that neither the Morren nor Angus printings feature in Roud. Anne Lemoine (1786-1820) was a significant figure, the first woman to enter the publishing business. She also operated as a bookseller. She specialised in 'Gothic Blue Books', innovating marketing and distributing for the tales. Her husband, Henry was an author and a bookseller of chapbooks. In 1794 he was imprisoned for bankruptcy, a fairly common ailment in the print trade, and it was at this point, in 1795, that Anne Lemoine began a career on her own. In fact, the couple separated. Between that date and 1820 Anne Lemoine issued some four hundred chapbooks and tales.
77. See Ipswich Journal for 20th February 1819. The Carr court case is noted in The Standard for 10th April 1829.
78. Dadds' Sketch appeared in 1855. Mad Margery ... seems to be a product somewhat out of character for Hill who painted in conventional ways, mostly portaits and landscapes. Even Mad Margery ... has a softness of appeal in keeping with convention.
79. Copy exists in VWML.
80. The appearance of horses named Crazy Jane can be found liberally cast through newspapers - for example, as what might be termed a first flush, in the Ipswich Journal for 6th July 1805; the Bury and Norwich Post for 10th July 1805; the York Herald for 13th July 1805; the Ipswich Journal for 10th September 1805; the Morning Post for 16th August 1805; the Ipswich Journal for 6th July 1806, 10th August 1806 and 17th September 1807. Later, the name of the horse features in, say, the Bristol Mercury for 11th April, 1825, Berrow's Worcester Journal for 14th April 1825, Jackson's Oxford Journal for 22nd March 1828 and frequently throughout this period and beyond in the York Herald, the latter an indication of a concentrated interest in horse-racing at what was, presumably, a notable venue.
81. W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) - Words for Music perhaps (1933).
82. For Henry Burstow's songs, see Reminscences of Horsham (1911), p.116, Nos. 61, 62 and 63. There is copy of the book available on line. The Peacock version of Crazy Jane, from Edward Taylor, Joe Batt's Arm, July 1952, can be found in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, vol.2 (National Museum of Canada, 1965), pp.436-7.
Roly Brown - 16.3.17
Oradour sur Vayres, France