The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50640   Message #772234
Posted By: John Minear
27-Aug-02 - 07:42 AM
Thread Name: Wild Boar: History, Lyrics & Discussion-Child #18
Subject: Lyr Add: BOLD SIR RYLAS
Jon, thanks for the background on Bob Webb. It's so easy to separate the songs from the singers and lose at least half of what is important. If the tradition is alive, it's got feet somewhere. And it seems to me that that is especially the case with this song.

open mike, I'd like to see what Robin and Linda Williams do. I used to live near Boulder, CO, and they had something like what you describe with regard to the Kinetic Sculpture Race.

In his liner notes for Buna Hicks' version of "Sir Lionel", which is in the DT as Rena Hicks' version, Sandy Paton compares Buna Hicks' song with one collected by Alfred Williams on the Upper Thames, and then compares these to the Bromsgrove version (Child C). I'd like to share Sandy's discussion, but first I'll post Williams' version. I went to the library yesterday and found his book, as well as Robert Bell's EARLY BALLADS, which contains the Brosmsgrove version. Here is "Bold Sir Rylas", pages 118-119, in FOLK-SONGS OF THE UPPER THAMES, collected and edited by Alfred Williams, and published in London by Duckworth & Co. It was published in 1923, but the songs had been collected between 1914 and 1916, the War having interrupted the publication process. No tune is given.


Bold Sir Rylas a-hunting went
I an dan dilly dan,
Bold Sir Rylas a-hunting went
Killy koko an,
Bold Sir Rylas a-hunting went,
To kill some game was his intent
I an dan dilly dan killy koko an.

He saw a wild woman sat in a tree:
Good lord, what brings thee here? said she.
I an dan dilly dan killy koko an.

There is a wild boar all in this wood,
He'll eat thy flesh and drink thy blood,
As thee beest a jovial hunter.

What shall I do this wild boar to see?
Why! Wind thy horn and he'll come to thee,
As thee beest a jovial hunter.

He put his horn unto his mouth,
And blew it east, north, west, and south
I an dan dilly dan killy doko an.

The wild boar heard him to his den,
And out came with young ones nine or ten
I an dan dilly dan killy koko an.

Then bold Sir Rylas this wild boar fell on
He fought him three hours by the day,
Till the wild boar fain would have run away
I an dan dilly dan killy koko an.

Now, since thou hast killed my spotted pig
There are three things I will have of thee:
That's thy horse, thy hounds, and thy fair lady,
As thee beest a jovial hunter.

Now, since I have killed thy spotted pig
There's nothing thou shalt have of me,
Neither my horse, hounds, nor fair lady,
As I am a jovial hunter.

Then bold Sir Rylas this wild woman fell on
He split her head down to her chin,
You ought to have seen her kick and grin
I an dan dilly dan killy koko an.

Mr. Williams says that this is "A very old song, formerly popular in North Wilts, especially around Bradon, where it is still sung by the local traveller and dealer, Daniel Morgan. Morgan's great-grandfather was a squire, and he disinherited his son and also attempted to shoot him, lying in wait for him for three days and nights with a loaded gun, because he courted a pretty gipsy girl. In spite of the squire's opposition, however, his son married the gipsy lass and left home to travel with his wife's kindred and earn his living by dealing, and attending the markets and fairs. Daniel Morgan, of whom I obtained Sir Rylas, is a witty and vivacious man. He lives amid the woods of Bradon, the relic of the once large forest of that name, in which the famous Fulke Fitzwarrene is said to have defied the King at the time of the Barons' War. I have spent pleasant hours in the cottage, during the dark winter evenings, listening to the old man's songs, which he sang sitting on a low stool cutting out clothes-pegs from green withy, while his wife sat opposite making potato nets. The "I an dan dilly," etc., is meant to interpret the sound of the bugle horn." (page 118)

While this song was published in 1923 and Sam Harmon was recorded by Herbert Halpert in 1939, it is clear that Sam didn't learn his version from Mr. Morgan, but that they are two shoots off of an older stem, both probably coming from the 19th century. Sam Harmon's family left the Beech Mountain area of North Carolina in 1880, and probably carried the song from there, since a version of it remained behind and was later recorded from Buna Hicks by Sandy Paton. Nathan Hicks, who was Rena's husband, also knew a version.