The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35197   Message #1253794
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
22-Aug-04 - 06:09 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Lady All Skin and Bone
Subject: Lyr Add: THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN (from Belden)
Belden gave three versons from Missouri (one via Virginia). One is different from those previously posted.

THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN

There was an old woman lived all alone,
Umph-humph, umph-humph!*
She was nothing in the world but skin and bone.
Umph-Humph, umph-humph!*

One day the old woman went to church
To hear the parson pray and preach.

When she got to the stile she stopped to rest a little while; **
When she got to the door she stopped to rest a little more.**

When she opened the door she saw a corpse upon the floor.**
She asked the preacher if she would look like that.

He told her yes and scared her to death!

* "Regarding the refrain, which follows each line but the last. Mrs. A. (Ames) notes that the syllables 'are nasal sounds made with the mouth closed. They are the expressions that Missourians use colloquially to denote assent.'" Printed here only for the first couplet.
** "Each of these lines is probably a couplet in itself. Of the conclusion Mrs A. says that it is delivered as an exclamation instead of being sung. Very exciting to young children."

H. M. Belden, "Ballads and Songs" Collected by the Missouri Folk Lore Society, Univ. Missouri Studies Volume 15, No. 1, 1940, 1955, 1973. Pp. 502-503, no music. Mrs. L. D. Ames, Columbia, MO, 1917.