The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #131251   Message #2959330
Posted By: Matthew Edwards
06-Aug-10 - 06:20 AM
Thread Name: Shepherd of the Downs (Copper Family)
Subject: RE: Shepherd of the Downs
Scowie, my apologies for not mentioning your Folk Leads article - I have got a copy, but I couldn't track it down earlier.

Scowie's article quotes from a letter written to him in 1999 by Bob Copper in which Bob recalled that his own great, great Grandfather George, born in Rottingdean in 1784, had sung this song.

There are 21 examples of the song in Roud's Folk Song Index, where the song is Roud number 1215. Almost all the of the examples from tradition come from the Copper family, apart from one intriguing entry in a 19th century Irish manuscript song book. The example collected from Jim Copper in 1949 by Francis Collinson can be found online in the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) Take Six resource by searching for '1215' under 'Roud number'. Jim Copper's version has the slightly different line

"He knew not what hailed him but thought it was love..."

I wonder if Jim simply and quite naturally aspirated the word "ailed", and pronounced in with an aitch.