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Lyr Add: On Sedgemoor (The Marsh Fever)

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On Sedgemoor (The Marsh Fever) ( From Ruth L. Tongue's book, The Chime Child)

Malcolm Douglas 14 Jul 01 - 11:08 PM
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Subject: On Sedgemoor (The Marsh Fever) ^^
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Jul 01 - 11:08 PM


(Sung to Ruth L. Tongue by Richard Garland, near Birmingham; Autumn, 1917.)

When the mist be all about,
Then let no man venture out.
It will grip you, hale or stout,
Without doubt.
For death he is a-walking, a-walking, a-walking,
For to find his dead,
And the marish ground do shiver to his tread.
Lie safe a-bed!

When the mist lies low before,
You may set your cottage door,
You may labour on the moor
Safe and sure.
For Death is gone a-walking, a-walking, a-walking,
For to find his dead,
And the marish ground do shiver to his tread,
But the sun be overhead.

Another curious song from Ruth L. Tongue's book, The Chime Child, or, Somerset Singers (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968).  This one she says she learned in 1917 from Richard Garland, a soldier originally from Sedgemoor, who was killed in action soon after; the book is dedicated to him.  Doubts about the authenticity of the songs in this book are on record elsewhere, and I give it here for its own sake, with no guarantees that Miss Tongue didn't make it up herself.  She notes:

"It is believed on Sedgemoor that the mist kills any man who tries to work on it unless it is only knee high."

and, oddly,

"This was one of Isaiah Sully's tantalizing fragments but I got the whole song from one of my sexton clan from near Wedmore.  He said it was sung near Othery in his youth."

For more on the pseudonymous Isaiah Sully, see the link below to The Green Lady.  I've made a midi of the tune, which will go to the  Mudcat Midi Pages;  until then, as a temporary measure, it may be heard via the  South Riding Folk Network  site:

On Sedgemoor (The Marsh Fever)

There are four other songs from Ruth L. Tongue in the Forum:

The Broomsquire's Bird Song  -With tune; from The Chime Child.
The Quaker's Wife  -With tune from another source.  Text from The Quaker's Wife and other Somerset Folk Songs, Ruth Tongue and Felton Rapley (Chappell & Co., 1965).
The Green Lady  -With tune; from The Chime Child.
Three Danish Galleys  -With tune; from The Chime Child.


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