Mudcat Café message #3272023 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25627   Message #3272023
Posted By: GUEST,Dennis W
11-Dec-11 - 10:38 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Soldier's Joy
Subject: RE: Origins: Soldier's Joy
The tune is older than it's present song presentation. We have several posters here who have found Scottish and English forms of the tune with other names. How it got the name "Soldiers Joy" might tell us a lot about the tune's history. But for this concern about the reference to morphine I have a few comments.

I doubt lyrics that refer to morphine date much earlier than the 1890's as that is when morphine was synthesized from opium. In the early 1800s men would drink laudanum which was a mixture of alcohol and tincture of opium. Apparently Edgar Allen Poe was addicted to this drink and he lived in the 1830s.

It is possible tincture of opium was used as a pain reliever during the Civil War with and combined with alcohol. The term morphenine refers to it's synthetic form, so I believe these lyrics making this reference cannot go back as far as the Civil War.

Morphine was used extensively in World War I and some of these lyrics might go back this far. My personal belief, not substaniated by much fact, is these lyrics about morphine were popularized and might even have been written by musicians of the 1970's. The so-called Hippy influence on old time music.

I am curious as I know the Cabell ancestral home in Nelson County Virginia is named "Soldiers Joy". It was built about 1785 by a revolutionary war veteran. I also have a copy of the tune printed at about the same time.

Perhaps the song then was about joy in returning home after the rigors of war. In that version it might be about the joys of hearth and home and it's dance qualities adaptable to these themes. Anyone here run into a connection between these events?