The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60591   Message #969928
Posted By: GUEST,Q
20-Jun-03 - 06:02 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Orphan Girl (from Buell Kazee)
Subject: Lyr Add: The ORPHAN GIRL (from Vance Randolph)

No home, no home, pled a little girl
At the door of a princely hall,
As she trembling stood on the marble step
And leaned on the polished wall.

My father, alas, I never knew,
And the tears dimmed her eyes so bright,
My mother sleeps in a new-made grave,
'Tis an orphan begs tonight.

It was cold and dark and the snow fell fast,
But the rich man closed his door,
With his proud lips curled with scorn he said,
No home nor bread for the poor.

I must freeze, she said, as she sank on the step
And strove to wrap her feet,
With her tattered dress all covered with snow,
Yes, covered with snow and sleet.

The rich man slept on his velvet bed
And dreamed of his silver and gold,
While the orphan lay on the bed of snow
And murmured so cold, so cold.

The hours passed on and the midnight stars
Rolled out like a funeral knell,
The earth seemed wrapped in its winding sheet
And the drifting snow still fell.

The morning dawned and the orphan girl
Still lay at the rich man's door,
But her soul had gone to a home above,
Where there's room and bread for the poor.

Sung by Mrs. Laura Watson, Elm Springs, Arkansas, 1942. From Vance Randolph, 1980, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 4, pp. 195-196.

Knell in this version as well.
There are several versions of this one and many other songs about orphans. Randolph quotes Sandburg (1927) who says "it traces to a broadside or a popular ballad in England and Scotland." This version seems to be taken from the Kazee recording posted by Graywolf1980. Both remind me of the Victorian children's sob story, "The Little Match Girl."

Lyr. Add: The Orphan Child

Her clothes was thin and her feet were bare
And the snow had covered her head,
O it's give me a home and something to ware,
A home and a piece of bred.

My father also I never knew
And the tears dimmed her eyes so brite,
While mother sleeps in her new made grave,
I's an orphan girl that begs tonight.

The night was dark and the snow fell fast,
And the rich man shut his door,
With a frown on his brow he scornful sed
No home, no bred for the pore.

I must freeze, she said, on this here step,
As she strove to cover her feet
With her old tatter dress all covered with snow
Yes, covred with snow and sleet.

The rich man slept on his velvet couch
And dreamed of his silver and gold,
While the pore little girl still lie in the snow,
And murmur so cold, so cold.

When morning was dawn, the pore little girl
Still laid at the rich man's door,
But her soul had fled to that land above,
Where there's room enough for the pore.

Also from Vance Randolph, "taken literatim from an old manuscript belonging to Mrs. Emma Johnson, Noel, MO. The tune (sheet music provided) is from the singing of Mrs. William E. Peregoy, Pineville, MO, Apr. 16, 1927.

Brown, North Carolina Folklore, has a version from 1914, and Cox, Folk Songs of the South, 1925, recorded another version.