The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #37992   Message #532477
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
21-Aug-01 - 11:24 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Strawberry Fair
I see that my carefully-prepared parallel text has been pre-empted, so instead I'll restrict myself to quoting the re-write in order to complete the picture.


(Noted by H. Fleetwood Sheppard from James Masters of Broadstone, Devon, in 1891; text as re-written by Baring Gould and Fleetwood Sheppard).

As I was going to Strawberry Fair,
Singing, singing, Butter-cups and Daisies
I met a maiden taking her ware,
Her eyes were blue and golden her hair,
As she went on to Strawberry Fair,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-li-do,
Ri-fol, Ri-fol, Tol-de-riddle-dee.

"Kind Sir, pray pick of my basket!" she said,
Singing, &c.
"My cherries ripe, or my roses red,
My strawberries sweet, I can of them spare,
As I go on to Strawberry Fair."
Ri-fol &c.

I want to purchase a generous heart,
Singing, &c.
A tongue that neither is nimble or tart.
An honest mind, but such trifles are rare
I doubt if they're found at Strawberry Fair.
Ri-fol &c.

The price I offer, my sweet pretty maid
Singing, &c.
A ring of gold on your finger displayed,
So come- make over to me your ware,
In church today at Strawberry Fair.
Ri-fol &c.

From Songs of the West (Sabine Baring Gould and H. Fleetwood Sheppard, 1905).  

Roy Palmer published the song as originally noted in Everyman's Book of English Country Songs (1979), the text having been taken from the Baring Gould MSS held at Plymouth Central Library.   It's worth mentioning that Palmer has locksmith rather than blacksmith as given above by Masato (verse 5).  There is of course an additional refrain line at the end of each verse, Ri tol, ri tol, riddle tol de dee, which perhaps Reeves did not quote.

Although the tune is horribly familiar to most people who attended school in the UK during the 20th century, I shall post a midi for the sake of completeness, and for those in other parts of the world to whom it might actually be new.   As usual, it can be heard via the  South Riding Folk Network  site until it gets to  The Mudcat Midi Pages:

Strawberry Fair