The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #138380   Message #3163354
Posted By: Azizi
31-May-11 - 05:54 PM
Thread Name: ADD: Songs from Trinidad
Subject: Lyr Add: GYPSY IN THE MOONLIGHT (Trinidad)
Q, you're probably already familiar with the Trinidadian song "Gypsy In The Moonlight".

It may be that "Dulcie In The Moonlight" that Edric Connor included in his 1958 book is a version of the "Gypsy in the Moonlight" song that Alan Lomax collected from Trinidad in the 1990s. Or it could be that "Gypsy" was originally "Dulcie"*. But I wouldn't at all be surprised if both of those songs had a British source.

Sung by children at the San Juan Girls' Government School, San Juan Trinidad

In ring play formation, "Gypsy" dances outside the circle in verse one, inside during verse two, chooses a partner in verse three, and they dance together through the "tra la la" verse, when the first "Gypsy" leaves, and the new one takes over.

Group: Gypsy in the moonlight,
Gypsy in the dew.
Gypsy never come back,
Until the clock strike two.

Walk in, gypsy, walk in,
Walk right in, I say.
Walk into my parlor
To hear the banjo play.

Gypsy: I don't love nobody,
And nobody loves me.
All I want is Sarah [Harold; Marva etc]
To come dance with me.

Group: Tra la la la la la. (Etc)
-Alan Lomax, J.D. Elder; Bess Lomax Hawes: Brown Girl In The Ring,Caribbean Voyage (New York, Pantheon Press, 1997)

* It's possible that the name "Dulcie" in Connor's version might be the nickname of the girl whose turn it was to be the Gypsy in the singing game version of this song. The "walk with me" lines certainly strongly suggests that this is a dance song, and many singing games (and later, jump rope rhymes) came from social dance songs.


The second verse (the Gypsy verse given above ) reminds me of a very similar verse from the jump rope (skipping) rhyme which is now mostly a hand clap rhyme (in the USA) is "I Like Coffee I Like Tea" (also given as "I Love Coffee I Love Tea")

Ilove coffee I love tea
I want [person's name] to come jump with me.


A version of "I Like (Love) Coffee" has been documented in the USA as early as 1869.

"29 June 1869, Port Jervis (NY) Evening Gazette, pg. 2, col. 3:
The following amatory epistle from a little eight-year-old girl to her "bow" was picked up in one of the schools of Oswego, a few days ago. (...) I love coffee I love tea I love you if you love me."

Click for that and other examples.


A mp3 for the song "Gypsy In The Moonlight" is found at

A video of some British? school boys singing "Gypsy In The Moonlight" is found at

The boys sing "I want __ to come sing with me".

The tune sounds like very much like "I Like (Love) Coffee I Love Tea".