The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6967   Message #2456114
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
03-Oct-08 - 12:33 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Mower
Subject: RE: Tune Req: The Mower/Ile (Isle) de France^^
Nic got the song from Sharp's 'English County Songs'. The tune and main text was noted by W Percy Merrick from Henry Hills at Shepperton in March 1900, and was first printed in the Journal of the Folk-Song Society, I (3) 1901, 123. Mr Hills (who had probably learned the song in his youth in Sussex) had 5 verses, some a bit muddled, so additional material was interpolated from 'another traditional Sussex version'; the source wasn't identified, and I don't know of any other versions found in Sussex in those days, nor does Roud list any (Henry Burstow knew it, of course, but I don't think his set was ever noted by any of the collectors who visited him). Sharp got several versions in Somerset, and most of the major collectors of the day came across it.

Nic changed the words hardly at all, and the tune very little.

The Australian text (the singer remembered only the tune and one verse) is mostly the expanded form of Mr Hills' version as published by Sharp. Not from Nic, but from the same printed source.