The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #40638   Message #585186
Posted By: masato sakurai
02-Nov-01 - 11:53 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Lay the Lily Low / Jack Munro
Subject: Lyr Add: LILY MUNROE
Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer say "The tune [of "Which Side Are You On?"] is usually said to be an old Baptist hymn, 'Lay the Lily Low,' but the British folklorist, A.L. Lloyd, points out its similarity to that of the British ballad, 'Jack Munro,' which usus 'Lay the Lily Low' as refrain." (Songs of Work and Protest, Dover, 1973, p. 55). Or a version of "Jack Munroe" or "Lily Munroe" may have been used as a hymn tune still unknown to me, from which "Which Side" derives.

"Lily Munroe" is a "Cruel War"-type ballad (see verse 5 especially). The tune of this version has some similarities.


1. There was a waelthy merchant
In London's town did dwell;
He had an only daughter,
The truth to you I'll tell.

Lay the lily O, O lay the lily o!

2. Her sweetheart went a-sailin'
With trouble on his mind,
A-leavin' of his country
And his darlin' love behind. (CHO.)

3. His sweetheart dressed herself all up
In a man's array,
And to the war department
She then did march away. (CHO.)

4. 'Before you come on board, sir,
Your name we'd like to know!'
A smile played over her countenance,
'They call me Lily Munroe.' (CHO.)

5. 'Your waist is slim and slender,
Your fingers they are small,
Your cheeks too red and rosey
To face a cannon ball.' (CHO.)

6. 'My waist, I know, is slender,
My fingers they are small,
But it would not make me tremble
To see ten thousand fall.' (CHO.)

7. The drum began to beat,
The file began to play,
Straightwy to the field of battle
They all did march away. (CHO.)

8. And when the war was ended,
This girl, she searched the ground,
Among the dead and wounded,
Untill her love she found. (CHO.)

9. This couple they got married,
So well they did agree;
This couple they got married,
And why no you and me? (CHO.)

SOURCE: Allan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America (Doubleday, 1960, pp. 164-165)

The entry in The Traditional Ballad Index is as follows:

Jack Monroe (Jackie Frazer; The Wars of Germany) [Laws N7]

DESCRIPTION: A rich girl loves a soldier/sailor; her father does not, and has the boy pressed to Germany. She disguises herself and enlists under the name (Jackie Monroe). When her lover is wounded, she nurses him. She reveals her identity; they are married
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1818 (Garret, _Merrie Book of Garlands_)
KEYWORDS: love cross-dressing disguise injury medicine marriage
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,SE,So) Britain(Scotland) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (28 citations):
Laws N7, "Jack Monroe (Jackie Frazer; The Wars of Germany)"
Greig #45, pp. 1-2, "Jack Munro" (1 text)
GreigDuncan1 171, "Jack Munro" (8 texts, 6 tunes); GreigDuncan1 172, "Jackie Went A-Sailing" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Belden, pp. 171-177, "Jack Munro" (5 texts)
Randolph 42, "Men's Clothes I Will Put On" (Of Randolph's six texts, only two -- "C", with melody, and "F" -- belong with this piece; "A" and probably "D" are variants of "The Banks of the Nile"; "B" and "E" may be "Banks of the Nile" or "William and Nancy I")
Eddy 35, "Jack Went A-Sailing" (2 texts plus fragments, 3 tunes)
Gardner/Chickering 59, "The Wealthy Merchant" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-Maritime, p. 139, "Jack Munro" (1 text, 1 tune); p. 143, "Johnny's Gone A-Sailing" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 99, "Jack Monro" (2 texts plus 1 fragment and 1 excerpt)
BrownSchinhanIV 88, "Jack Munro" (4 excerpts, 4 tunes)
Chappell-FSRA 59, "Jacke Went A-Sailing" (1 text)
Hudson 34, pp. 147-148, "The Wars of Germany" (1 text)
Moore-Southwest 82, "Jackie Frazier" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. "203-210, The Silk Merchant's Daughter" (4 texts, which despite Scarborough's title are all this song; local titles are "Jackaroe," "Jacky Freasher," "Jackie Frazier," "Jackie Frazier"; 1 tune on p. 410)
Brewster 37, "Jackie Fraisure" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Peters, p. 152, "Sing Lay the Lily Low" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wyman-Brockway I, p. 38, "Jackaro" (1 text, 1 tune)
SharpAp 65, "Jack Went A-Sailing" (20 texts, 20 tunes)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 32, "Jack Went a-Sailing" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version)
Korson-PennLegends, pp. 53-54, "Jackie Frazier" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-Singing, pp. 170-172, "Lily Munro" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 82, "Lily Munroe" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 98, "Jackie Fraisure" (3 texts)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 30-31, "Across the Rocky Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune -- a rewritten and expanded version by Roscoe Holcomb)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 82-83, "Jackie's Gone A-Sailing" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 121-123, "Jack Monroe" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 23, #2 (1974), p, 16, "Lilly Munroe" (1 text, 1 tune, the Uncle Eck Dunford version)

Roud #268
Pearl Jacobus Borusky, "Sing Lay, Sing Lay the Lily Low" (AFS 4172 B, 1940; in AMMEM)
George Davis, "Love of Polly and Jack Monroe" (on GeorgeDavis01)
Sarah Hawkes, "Ho Lilly Ho" (on Persis1)
Roscoe Holcomb, "Across the Rocky Mountain" (on MMOK, MMOKCD)
Doug Wallin, "Jackaro" (on Wallins1)

Bodleian, Harding B 28(152), "Jack Munro," W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824; also Harding B 25(934), Harding B 11(392), Johnson Ballads 2086, Harding B 11(1835), "Jack Munro"
cf. "The Jolly Plowboy (Little Plowing Boy; The Simple Plowboy)" [Laws M24]
cf. "Disguised Sailor (The Sailor's Misfortune and Happy Marriage; The Old Miser)" [Laws N6]
cf. "William and Nancy (I) (Lisbon; Men's Clothing I'll Put On I)" [Laws N8]
cf. "The Banks of the Nile (Men's Clothing I'll Put On II)" [Laws N9]
cf. "High Germany ()"
cf. "The Girl Volunteer (The Cruel War Is Raging)" [Laws O33]
cf. "The London Heiress (The Brisk and Lively Lad)"
cf. "The Bonnie Lass o' Benachie" (plot)
cf. "The Chatham Merchant" (theme)
The Bold Munro
Pretty Polly
NOTES: The Cohen/Seeger/Wood version, from Kentuckian Roscoe Holcomb, shares some words with "The Girl I Left Behind." - PJS
The version in Fife and Fife, "Roving Cowboy," at first glance bears no relationship with this piece, since it lacks the ending about the girl rescuing the young man. However, the earlier verses are clearly "Across the Rocky Mountains," which is evidently a version of this song. "Roving Cowboy" has simply lost the ending. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.3
File: LN07

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