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Lyr Add: Wandering Boy from Manchester

Richard Spencer 15 Feb 09 - 12:00 PM
Jim Dixon 17 Feb 09 - 12:12 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Wandering Boy from Manchester
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:00 PM

Has anyone come across a full set of words for this song? I got the tune and some words from the Cecil Sharp archives, with the assistance of the ever-helpful librarians at the Vaughan William library. Sharp got it from a Mr K Spence of Chobam, Surrey, but notes "taken down in Lancashire". These are the words as best I can get them from the ms.

I am the wandering boy from Manchester, from ? town I came.
My poverty has brought me here all out now in the rain
My lot is cast, Im forced at last to ask of you to buy(beg?)

Cold winter new approaching, and Ive no rags to pack.
None I've left behind me, they are all on my back.
I'll be bound there are none around can tell where they were made

My coat is cost me sixpence about six years ago.
I bought it out of a clothes (?) shop, the man I did not know.
My waistcoat cost me threepence. Do you think the price too high?
And my shirt I found among the dirt, and hung it out to dry.

My stocking cost me twopence in the year of 92
My hat I'd off a soldier...

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WANDERING BARD (from Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Feb 09 - 12:12 AM

Found at Bodleian Library allegro Catalogue of Ballads, Harding B 11(3049):

Printed and Sold by J. Wrigley, Junr., 3, Rochdale Road, Manchester


[1] I'm the wandering bard of Manchester; from scribbling can't refrain.
It's poverty compels me to come into the rain.
Hard is my fate. I have no estate, and must either sing or cry.
My lot is cast. I am forced at last to ask of you to buy.

[2] Cold winter's now approaching, but I have no clothes to pack.
None have I left behind me, for they are all on my back;
And I'll be bound that none around can tell where they were made,
Nor can he be found upon this ground to name that man of trade.

[3] My coat cost ten-and-sixpence about six years ago.
I bought it of a clothes-man, but his name I did not know.
This hat I had from a soldier, but the lining from it was tore.
An oil-skin has covered it for seven long years or more.

[4] This old handkerchief about my neck, just to ornament the same,
I bought at a gin-shop door, at the corner of Foundry Lane.
My waistcoat cost me three-pence. You may think the price too high.
I found my shirt among some dirt and hung it up to dry.

[5] Now for to beg these breeches, I had very much to do.
My stockings cost me four-pence in the year of ninety-two.
Now these two shoes are fellows. I think it something rare,
For I bought one in St. Giles's and the other at Rag Fair.

[6] If now then I am clothed, friends, you cannot say they're dear.
I've come into this ale-house just to take a cup of beer.
It always makes me cheerful, tho' the times are very hard.
O buy my song, be it right or wrong, it will help the wandering bard.

[The same collection has 6 other versions of the same song. Here are some variants:
Verse 1, line 1: Manchester / Exeter
1, 2: into / out in
2, 4: upon this ground / in this town / all on this ground
3, 1: six years / sixty years
3, 2: did / do
3, 3: lining from it was tore / lining's from it tore
3, 4: An oil-skin / And an old oil-skin
4, 1: same / frame
4, 2: at a gin-shop door / of a whore at a gin-shop door
4, 2: Foundry Lane / Drury Lane
5, 3: Now / If
5, 4: I bought one / One I bought
6, 1: If now then / O now then / So now that
6, 2: I've come / I come / I came
6, 4: O / So / Now
6, 4: it will / to
6, 4: the / a

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Mudcat time: 21 June 4:18 PM EDT

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