This rare song has only been found twice and never in complete form. It is not to be confused with another better-known song called “The White Cockade”. Apart from Mrs Williams’ fragment, a similar fragment was collected by Alfred Williams from Jonathon Cole in Wiltshire. A song “Mother dear” collected in Hampshire recently from the gypsy singer Freda Black starts with the same line, but then the story diverges, so this may be another song altogether, and there the trail runs cold.
However, there is another mystery. Sharp noted only one verse but 4 different variants of the tune. Does this mean that the singer did in fact sing the complete song but Sharp failed to note the words or did she sing the same verse over several times with variants? We will never know.