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Lyr Req: Banks of Sweet Primroses - additional

DigiTrad:
BANKS OF THE ROSES
BANKS OF THE SWEET PRIMROSES


Related threads:
Lyr/Tune Add: Banks of Sweet Primroses (5)
Chord Req: Banks of the Sweet Primroses (4)
Lyr Req: Banks of Primroses? (Not sweet) (21)


GUEST,quantock 24 Jan 09 - 04:05 PM
quantock 24 Jan 09 - 04:11 PM
quantock 26 Jan 09 - 12:09 AM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jan 09 - 04:19 AM
Fred McCormick 26 Jan 09 - 06:06 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Jan 09 - 06:13 AM
Fred McCormick 26 Jan 09 - 07:46 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM
Artful Codger 26 Jan 09 - 11:24 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Jan 09 - 04:30 AM
Fred McCormick 27 Jan 09 - 08:57 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Jan 09 - 04:29 PM
McGrath of Harlow 27 Jan 09 - 05:24 PM
Artful Codger 30 Jan 09 - 06:14 AM
quantock 12 Feb 09 - 10:12 PM
JeffB 15 Jun 09 - 10:18 AM
GUEST 08 Sep 09 - 01:34 PM
Artful Codger 07 May 10 - 02:17 AM
GUEST,the song Banks of sweet primroses 13 Nov 14 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Squeezer 13 Nov 14 - 03:21 PM
Richard Mellish 13 Nov 14 - 03:26 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Additional verses for Banks of the Sweet
From: GUEST,quantock
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 04:05 PM

I was web surfing a few months ago, and I came across a site which contained someone's thoughts on the song "Banks of the Sweet Primroses".
The writer noted that the story seemed incomplete, and he proposed adding one or two additional verses before the last verse, and he took these from another song.

I was thinking I would like to revisit this site and take another look at the extra verses. Unfortunately, on my original visit, I forgot to bookmark it, and now I am unable to find it again.

Can anyone offer any suggestions as to which web site I might have been looking at?

Thanks,
Rob Williams


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Additional verses for Banks of the Swee
From: quantock
Date: 24 Jan 09 - 04:11 PM

BTW... I am a Mudcat member. Just forgot to login before I posted my query.
Rob.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: quantock
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 12:09 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 04:19 AM

You may be thinking of Chris 'Yorkie' Bartram's page in the Singers' Songbook section of Musical Traditions:

The Banks of the Sweet Primroses

The two extra verses there Chris made up himself, though they're composed mostly of elements from other songs re-combined. Whether they really add much is hard to say; they seem rather odd and uncomfortable to me, but they might be helpful for listeners who aren't very familiar with the traditional form of the song. It's worth mentioning that, though it's often been observed that the narrative seems incomplete, it appeared in that form on broadsides too and was immensely popular in its day, so clearly our 19th century ancestors had no trouble with it as it stood.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 06:06 AM

Malcolm,

I agree. Not one of Chris's best efforts IMHO. For a better impression of his song re-writing talents, take a listen to what he's done with Butter and Cheese and All.

Also IMHO, I don't agree that this is a hole-in-the-ballad broken token song. IMHO yet again, I've always thought of it as someone who's tried to chat up a bird without realising it's the girl he's just jilted, and walks away feeling decidedly deflated. I also think the last two lines have been inverted somewhere aalong the line and should/originally have read.

There's many a bright and a summer's morning
Turns out to be a dark and stormy day.

Against that, I quite accept this is merely my interpretation, that it's far too easy to get far too hung up on looking for the original meanings of songs, and that if the folk read anything different into it, that's entirely up to them.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 06:13 AM

For a better impression of his song re-writing talents, take a listen to what he's done with Butter and Cheese and All.

Where would I find that?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE GREASY COOK
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 07:46 AM

Right here.

THE GREASY COOK

How kind of you to call on me and ask for me to sing,
Though I fear my throat is much too dry for to do you any such thing. (hint)
But now you've bought me a pint of ale, I'll see what I can do,
And when I get to the choruses, then you must sing them too.
Oh-oh, [repeat last line]

I fell in love with a greasy cook and I'll tell you the reason why.
The reason that I fell for her is a fact I cannot deny.
It's because she had plenty of mutton pies, plum pudding and roast beef,
And when my belly was empty, she would give to me relief.

She invited me into her master's house, game supper for to take,
And I kindly did accept it all, all for my belly's sake.
And, when the supper was over, then she took the pantry keys,
And she stuffed my back pocket with butter and eggs. The other she stuffed with cheese.

Then we got down by the side o' the fire for a little cuddle, or more,
But then I heard her master coming a-rat-a-tat-tat at the door.
My pockets were stuffed with his butter and eggs. I didn't know where I could hide.
She pushed me into the fireplace and up the chimney I climbed.

Now, I hadn't been up there for very long when the fire was burning my legs.
The heat was melting my butter and cheese and likewise was toasting my eggs.
And, as the butterfat fell on the fire, it forced the flames for to flare.
The old man looked up the chimney and he swore the old devil was there.

So, he quickly went to the rooftop and he pissed down on my head,
And I went tumbling into the fire with my butter, my cheese and my eggs.
My trousers were all soaked with fat and they began to blaze,
So I tore them off and I ran outside and down the street I was chased.

Then children screamed and the dogs did bark and up went the windows all,
And all the old women cried out, "Well done" (or well hung?) as loud as they could call.
Now that's the end of my story and I hope I've not kept you too long.
We'll sing, "Good Luck to the chorus and will someone else sing us a song?"


Tune: The Lincolnshire Poacher


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM

Ah, Banks of Sweet Primroses, the first broadside I ever bought, in London in the 60s, strangely probably a copy of the very first printing by Catnach as well. Although it was widely printed all with the same 6 verses I haven't come across any earlier versions so I'd say it was probably from the pen of one of old Jemmy's hacks, the ubiquitous John Morgan perhaps. It could be as late as about 1830.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Artful Codger
Date: 26 Jan 09 - 11:24 PM

Fred, I agree that the ending verse seems oddly backwards. It's a floating verse that has been tacked onto a number of songs, and it appears in both positive and negative senses: encouraging (sad to happy) and cautionary (happy to sad). I suspect some transcriber was flying on autopilot and accidentally inverted it.

Regardless of whether there's a gap in which the cad sweet-talks himself back into her favor, the encouraging form of the final verse clearly conflicts with the song's opening situation. It reminds me of P.D.Q. Bach's "The Stoned Guest", where all the characters die tragically, then suddenly jump up and sing "Happy ending, happy ending, happy ending for all!"

I think the cautionary form wraps up the song nicely, taking some edge off the woman's precipitate decision to sequester herself just because of one jackass. And since I really like the tune, I welcome an excuse to sing it one more time.

I do wish the song had additional verses, but not if they make her reconcile with him. Rather, I'd like to see her get revenge by having him pressed back into service, or something along those lines.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 04:30 AM

Thanks for that, Fred.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 08:57 AM

Artful Codger. "I suspect some transcriber was flying on autopilot and accidentally inverted it."

Well, some broadside printer more likely. I do like the version E J Moeran collected "I'll go down to some lonely waters". The vale of tears and all that.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 04:29 PM

The late Mike Soar wrote a wonderful parody about getting 'the snip'.
I hope I've got the words written down somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 09 - 05:24 PM

Whether that last line is back to front in the traditional version depends on whether the "I" in that last verse is the man or the woman.

If it's the young woman in question, surely it means that she's rallied her spirits, and now has come to recognise that to lose a false young man like that isn't the end of the world, it's a blessing in disguise.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: Artful Codger
Date: 30 Jan 09 - 06:14 AM

I suppose that depends on which version you're speaking of. The one I'm most familiar with goes:

[previous verse:]
...You are a false, deceitful man, I notice plain,
For it is you that has caused my poor heart to wander
And in your comfort lies no refrain.

So I'll go down to some lonesome valley
Where no man on earth shall there me find,
Where the pretty little small birds do change their voices
And every moment blows blusterous wind.

So come all young men that go a-sailing...


Granted, in this version, the penultimate verse is unclear about who is speaking and what the speaker means exactly. But I don't see how it could be taken as "rallying", regardless of who's speaking. For the final verse to imply a later rallying would be inconsistent with how this floater functions in other songs: to summarize the preceding example in a generalized form, like a moral. The positive variant just doesn't fit.

More evidence that it's a floater is that "sailing" or sailors are nowhere referred to in the previous verses. He might not have recognized her because he'd been away some years at sea, but we have no cause before this point to assume that. The banks of primroses imply an inland stream, not a seaport.

Side note: the lines about the birds and the wind seem rather conflicting, in both tone and metaphor. We'll ignore that pretty little small birds would have a tough time singing when every moment the wind is blustering; they're probably busy just hanging onto the perch, and their feathers. Though the wind would at least explain the change in their voices, should they attempt it.

For what it's worth, I believe it is the woman speaking, given that she is "I" in the previous verse, the mode of expression is a bit florid for a man, and she says "where no man on earth", while "where no one" would be more natural for a man. He also doesn't come off as one who would have difficulty rebounding.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: quantock
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 10:12 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded to this. The link you mentioned, Malcolm, was indeed the one I was looking for.

I also found all the other comments fascinating. If I do sing any extra verses, I will probably rewrite them again, but I am not at all sure that I will now. I'll mull it over for a while.

Thanks again,
Rob.


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Subject: RE: Req:Additional verses for Banks of Sweet Primroses
From: JeffB
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 10:18 AM

I had the opportunity recently to look through Baring Gould's "Songs of the West Country" and found a few verses which are variants of those usually sung.

2   With three long steps I stepp-ed up to her
    not knowing her as she past me by.
    I stepped up to her, I was thinking to woo her,
    and ask the reason why she did cry.

3   "Oh where are you going, my pretty maiden,
    oh where are you going on this lonely way?
    I'll make you as happy as any fine lady
    if you would but answer me with a yea."

The tune was different too, in 6/8 I think.

Like many another, I felt that some verses were missing, so after the "lonesome valley" verse I sing :-

    With flattering words I did persuade her,
    saying "What I spoke was surely meant in jest,
    for there's none but you that I love better
    and because of you my mind can take no rest."

    We both sat down among the flowers
    and I did promise to be kind and true.
    There on the banks of the sweet primroses
    my love did for me all that love can do.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of Sweet Primroses - additional
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Sep 09 - 01:34 PM

The final verse reads:

I'll get me down to some lonesome valley,
No man on earth there shall me find.
Where the pretty small birds do tune their voices,
And never blows the boisterous wind.

This from my school days (1950's) in Bedfordshire.

Our music teacher interpreted the "lonesome valley" as the grave.

The "banks" of the sweet primroses could be the furlong head banks where the plough was turned. These banks are still to be seen in Northamptonshire and Leicestershire where the ridge and furrow was grassed over for sheep walks. In May they would have sported primroses and cowslips. As Milton tells us "...May, who from her green lap throws, the yellow cowslip and the pale primrose."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of Sweet Primroses - additional
From: Artful Codger
Date: 07 May 10 - 02:17 AM

Doing a bit more delving, I see that broadside versions include the final "floater" verse more often than not, but it begins, "Come all maidens who go a-courting". So my blather about sailors and sea banks was a red herring, except as it pertains to Martin Carthy's version.

I also committed a mondegreen: "I notice plain" where it should be "I know 'tis plain" (though I think "notice" is an improvement!)

I'm toying with a penultimate verse to reconcile the story with the final verse in it's dark-to-shiny form; up to now, I've chosen to reverse it. So far (first day) this is my best shot:

In that lone haven she met another
Whose regard was constant and would never yield.
There, like the blossoms of sweet primroses,
Her heart reopened and their love was sealed.

What I like about it:
* It's pithy but complete; the song keeps to a good length.
* It has a happy ending: she ends up with someone loving and trustworthy.
* It's circular: as in JeffB's version, the primroses are reprised and serve a secondary purpose.

Comments?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of Sweet Primroses - additional
From: GUEST,the song Banks of sweet primroses
Date: 13 Nov 14 - 02:44 PM

Can you let me know origin of this song please. Thanks. R


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of Sweet Primroses - additional
From: GUEST,Squeezer
Date: 13 Nov 14 - 03:21 PM

Guest - As with many traditional songs, no-one can say where it came from or who composed it. It was published throughout the 19th century by broadside sellers in both England and Wales but hardly anywhere else. The best-known version (the one mostly talked about here) has been sung by successive generations of the Copper family of Sussex.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of Sweet Primroses - additional
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Nov 14 - 03:26 PM

GUEST asks
> Can you let me know origin of this song please. Thanks. R

Try reading the whole of this thread, and particularly the post from Steve Gardham 26 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM.


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