The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94925   Message #1841493
Posted By: GUEST,Ian Pittaway
23-Sep-06 - 10:54 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: A was an archer
Subject: Lyr Req: A was an archer
In his book, 'Green Print for Song', Sydney Carter wrote: "It was at a Quaker meeting house in Sunderland, where I was being entertained by local Friends in 1943 or 1944, that I encountered a perfect survival of the medieval carol: of a ring dance accompanied by a song. It was called 'A was an archer'. Dancers held hands in a ring, every man between two women, and circled (walking) while a singer standing in the middle of the circle sang. He started thus: "A was an archer / An archer, an archer O / He arched, I arched / We both arched together O / He worked hard / And gave me all his money O / He took me in his arms / And he called me his honey O". After the first line, everyone would sing; and at the words, "He took me in his arms", each man did that to the woman on his right and spun her round so that she was on his left, and so round the circle, verse by verse. There were 26 verses, working through the alphabet: B was a baker, C (I think) was a carter, X was an Xmas, Z was a zulu, Q was a Quaker." Sydney Carter then gives the tune, which is very charming, dotted rhythms based around an arpeggio, much like a polka. Please tell me someone has all or some of the words to this. The only thing I can find on the net is a nursery rhyme that starts the same way but is not this song.