The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54434   Message #842569
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
06-Dec-02 - 03:58 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Seven Joys
Subject: RE: Origins: The Seven Joys
Roud no.278. Found throughout England and occasionally in Ireland. Also quite widespread in the USA and Canada.

In notes accompanying three traditional versions of the carol (Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. V, issue 18, 1914), Anne Gilchrist refers to "a 14th century version", but gives no particulars. Sets appear to have been sung to a number of different tunes; Gilchrist also refers to one printed in Bramley and Stainer, Christmas Carols, New and Old (1871), taken from an unidentified traditional source; and perhaps the oldest tune we have for it. This is reproduced in The Oxford Book of Carols, where the editors refer to the annual reprinting of the song on broadsides throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Roy Palmer (Bushes and Briars, 1999) refers to a "five joys" text included by the London grocer Richard Hill in his commonplace book, compiled during the early part of the 16th century (it also included a text of the Corpus Christi Carol).

There are two examples in the DT:

THE SEVEN JOYS OF MARY This was taken from A. L. Lloyd's Folksong in England, but no traditional source is mentioned. To be precise, the tune was noted by Anne G. Gilchrist from the singing of "W. Wickham (who learnt it from Tinker children called Wright, in Ashdown Forest), Blackham, Sussex, May 1907." It was printed in the Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. V, issue 18, 1914, with the text of one verse only. Lloyd has added a set of fairly standard verses from somewhere or other, altering them a little to bring them into line with the (authentic) first verse.

THE SEVEN JOYS OF MARY (2) An American set, apparently; taken from the Burl Ives Song Book. No traditional source mentioned.

I'm fairly sure that there has been previous discussion here in the Forum, but the Search engine is up the spout today, so we'll have to wait for links to those.