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Lyr Add: Wandering Mary (Commons Enclosure)

Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Dec 08 - 08:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM
semi-submersible 19 Dec 08 - 07:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 08 - 08:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Dec 08 - 08:33 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Wandering Mary (Commons Enclosure)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 08:45 PM

(Alexander Balfour 1803)

Chill blows the storm upon the breast
Whose guest is life-consuming sorrow;
O take me to some place of rest;
Where I may slumber till tomorrow.
You view my face- it once was fair-
At least so said my charming Harry;
But he is gone- and black despair
Is all that's left to Wandering Mary.
Bright shone our blythsome bridal hour,
Love shook his wings with pleasure beaming;
But soon he left our little bower,
While I of bliss was fondly dreaming.
A soldier's coat allured my love,
I wept- I kneeled- he would not tarry-
I prayed him by the powers above
Not to desert his faithful Mary.
Alas! how shall I speak the rest,
The grief that's in my bosom burning?
The cold clay clothes his bloody breast!
And can you blame his Mary's mourning?
No house nor home nor friends have I,
Except the babe, my pledge of Harry;
And famine dims his infant eyes,
That used to gladden the mournful Mary.
No thief am I, as some allege,
Though sore hath cold and hunger pressed me:
I pluck the berry from the hedge,
When human aid is oft denied me.
But hush my babe! though large the load
Of woes that we are doomed to carry,
Within some grave's bleak abode,
You'll sweetly sleep with wandering Mary.

This song appears in several publications, mostly unattributed, with only a word changed here and there. In some, 'berry' becomes 'haw-berry', and the first word is 'chill' rather than 'bleak'.
The poem was published by Balfour in a collection of his poems, "Contemplation, with other Poems," Edinburgh, 1820; called a 'Scots Poem'. Also in "Northumbrian Minstrel: a Choice Selection of Songs," 1811, printed by W. Davison, Alnick. I don't know the original place of publication.

It appeared in a song sheet (American Memory) printed in Boston, MA, by L. Deming, along with "The Happy Farmer" and "Young Harry."

Songs about the land enclosures carried out near the end of the 18th c. were written both by schooled poets and as ballads by unknown writers. The commons and open lands, long a feature of rural life by common right, were used for grazing, collection of firewood, growing of food and a source of wild fruits and small game. Their closure by land holders and some urban councils caused much hardship to the common folk.

Another of these songs was the subject of thread 5658: In My Old Hat
A longer version, published in "Luckidad's Garland" and later in "Scottish Ballads and Songs," I will post later to that thread.

Ballads and poems condemning the enclosure of common lands are the subject of a paper by R. Ganev, 2008, University of Regina, Canada, and presented at a meeting in the UK, "Ballads and Poems' Condemnation of Enclosure in Eighteenth Century Britain."

I will add a few of these that are not yet in Mudcat.

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Subject: Lyr. Add: The Orphan Child (of Wandering Mary)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:23 PM

Tune: Young Henry of the Raging Main

The night was dark, as I did ramble,
I heard a voice in sorrow pine,
O'er a mountain came a damsel,
As the abbey clock struck nine.
She was weeping, slowly creeping,
Down the valley that's so wild,
Wandering Mary, wet and weary,
In her arms an Orphan Child.
Along the road she slowly trod,
O hush, dear baby, she did say
This lonely road is our abode,
To wander until break of day.
Your father he is in the sea,
A prey unto the fishes wild,
Your mother's gone, for her I'll mourn,
And ne'er forsake her Orphan Child.
By chance a good old English farmer,
Overheard what she did say;
He declared that none should harm her,
To meet her he did go straightway.
Tears fell from his eyes in showers,
His honest heart with pity smiled,
Crying, come my dear you're welcome here
Likewise, your little Orphan Child.
'Twas then beneath the farmer's dwelling,
Conversation still went on,
Her hardships to them she was telling,
While this maid they gazed upon.
They listened to her with attention,
In each bosom pity boil'd,
Said they, beneath our happy mansion,
Welcome with your Orphan Child.
Time pass'd away from day to day,
Until the child became a man,
Then pity was his bosom's sway,
And honesty his nobler plan.
He pities those in tatter'd clothing,
And gives advice to those beguiled,
He sends relief to sooth the grief,
Of every wandering Orphan Child.

In "Wandering Mary," she has a child; in "The Orphan Child," the babe is not hers.

Several broadsides in the Bodleian Collection, used here are Harding B16(191d), J. Pitts London and Harding B16(995), J. Catnach, London; 1819-1844 and 1813-1838, resp. The song seems to have been popular; it was published over a period of time.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wandering Mary (Commons Enclosure)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 05:51 PM

The tune for "Wandering Mary" is cited as "Woodland Mary."

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wandering Mary (Commons Enclosure)
From: semi-submersible
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 07:08 PM

Both tunes unknown? A search for "Mary" in the DT gives the following titles with two-syllable adjectives preceding Mary:

Black-Eyed Mary
Devilish Mary (2 versions)
Highland Mary
Midnight Mary

None of them scan with the Wandering Mary lyrics, except Red-Haired Mary or Red Haired Mary (same song, but slightly different file names and tune file names).

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wandering Mary (Commons Enclosure)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:11 PM

None is correct- unrelated songs. Need tunes for "Woodland Mary" (used for several late 18th-early 19th c. songs); "Young Henry of the Raging Main" for the other. Will have to search old Scots tunes. I have several, and a couple are on line. May take a while to find them.

"Woodland Mary" sheet music at Boston Public Library. "The Drummer Boy at Waterloo" uses the same tune- which I think I have in a book. I'll see if I can talk someone into doing a midi.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wandering Mary (Commons Enclosure)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 08:33 PM

A midi for Young Edward (Drummer Boy of W.) at
Haven't checked it yet.
Look at the music at;ttYOUNGED.html
The midi there is poor.
Music also in Owens, Texas Folk Songs; seems to fit.

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