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Riddle Songs??

Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Apr 09 - 02:20 AM
Hrothgar 24 Apr 09 - 03:48 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Apr 09 - 04:06 AM
The Doctor 24 Apr 09 - 04:17 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Apr 09 - 04:38 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 24 Apr 09 - 04:46 AM
GUEST,Gerry 24 Apr 09 - 06:23 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 24 Apr 09 - 11:05 AM
Dave Sutherland 24 Apr 09 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,henryp 24 Apr 09 - 03:07 PM
GUEST,henryp 24 Apr 09 - 03:20 PM
Joe_F 24 Apr 09 - 09:10 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 09 - 02:29 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Apr 09 - 04:17 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 09 - 05:57 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Apr 09 - 06:40 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 09 - 08:01 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 25 Apr 09 - 08:19 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Apr 09 - 08:56 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 25 Apr 09 - 11:18 AM
Jack Blandiver 25 Apr 09 - 12:31 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 25 Apr 09 - 01:26 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 09 - 03:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Apr 09 - 05:41 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 26 Apr 09 - 08:43 AM
Jack Blandiver 26 Apr 09 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,Sedayne (Astray) 26 Apr 09 - 12:39 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Apr 09 - 02:37 PM
GUEST,Brian Peters 26 Apr 09 - 02:52 PM
Brian Peters 26 Apr 09 - 03:37 PM
Brian Peters 26 Apr 09 - 03:39 PM
Jack Blandiver 27 Apr 09 - 05:05 AM
Brian Peters 27 Apr 09 - 05:46 AM
Jack Blandiver 27 Apr 09 - 06:04 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Apr 09 - 02:11 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Apr 09 - 05:15 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Apr 09 - 06:04 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Apr 09 - 06:18 AM
Jack Blandiver 28 Apr 09 - 06:52 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Apr 09 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,guest 02 Aug 17 - 01:21 AM
GUEST,guest Larry Poole 02 Aug 17 - 01:23 AM
Jim Carroll 02 Aug 17 - 03:00 AM
Jack Campin 02 Aug 17 - 05:01 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: NOTTAMUN TOWN + SCARBOROUGH FAIR
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 02:20 AM

I'm interested in learning more about 'riddle songs' (I'm not sure if that's what they are generally known as?), meaning those songs which contain impossible tasks and bizarre topsy-turvy situations.
So far I've only crossed paths with a couple, but I'd love to know some more, and of course what they're all about and what (if any) the meaning or purpose behind them is!
I know that these will already both be in the database, but here are the only two I currently know in this vein - by way of illustration:

Nottamun Town

In Nottamun Town, not a soul to be seen
Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down
Not a soul would look up, not a soul would look down
To show me the way to fair Nottamun Town

I bought me a horse 'twas called a grey mare
Grey mane and grey tail and green stripe on her back
Grey mane and grey tail and green stripe on her back
Weren't a hair upon her that was not coal black

She stood so still threw me to the dirt
She tore at my hide, she bruised my shirt
From saddle to stirrup I mounted again
And on my ten toes I rode over the plain

When I got there no one did I see
They all stood around me just looking at me
I called for a cup to drive gladness away
And stifle the dust for it rained the whole day

And the King and the Queen and the company more
Came a riding behind and a walking before
Come a stark naked drummer beating a drum
With his hands in his bosom came marching along

Sat down on a hard hot cold frozen stone
Ten thousand stood round me but I was alone
Took my hat in my hand to keep my head warm
Ten thousand was drowned that never was born

The second that I came upon recently was an Essex *variant* of the immortal Scarborough Fair (found in a Sue Cubbin book) - I don't have the name of this song or its lyrics, but I'd like to know it if anyone can advise me!
In any event here's Scarborough Fairs's riddle me this lyrics that everyone here will of course know, but they are wonderful nonetheless:

SCARBOROUGH FAIR

CHORUS: Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Remember me to one who lives there,
Remember me to one who lives there,
For once she was a true love of mine.

1. Tell her to make me a cambric shirt,
Without any seam or needlework,
Without any seam or needlework,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

2. Tell her to wash it in yonder dry well,
Where water ne'er sprung, nor drop of rain fell,
Where water ne'er sprung, nor drop of rain fell,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

3. Tell her to dry it on yonder thorn,
Which never blew blossom since Adam was born,
Which never blew blossom since Adam was born,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

4. Tell her to find me an acre of land,
Between the salt water and the sea strand,
Between the salt water and the sea strand,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

5. Tell her to plough it with a lamb's horn,
And sow it all over with one peppercorn,
And sow it all over with one peppercorn,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

6. Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather,
And bind it all up with one peacock's feather,
And bind it all up with one peacock's feather,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.

7. Tell her to tie it all up in a sack,
And carry it home on a butterfly's back,
And carry it home on a butterfly's back,
And then she'll be a true love of mine.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Hrothgar
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:48 AM

Child No 1


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 04:06 AM

And similar themes in Child#2

The Elfin Knight


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: The Doctor
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 04:17 AM

Martyn Wyndham-Read recorded one called 'Perry Merry Winkle Domine' on his 'Harry the Hawker is Dead' LP. There is a similar version on Digital Tradition.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 04:38 AM

This sounds like it might be a cousin of the same song:

I Have a Yong Suster

I have a yong suster
Fer biyonde the see;
Manye be the druries
That she sente me.

She sente me the cherye
Withouten any stoon,
And so she dide the dove
Withouten any boon.

She sente me the brere
Withouten any rinde;
She bad me love my lemman
Withoute longinge.

How sholde any cherye
Be withoute stoon?
And how sholde any dove
Be withoute boon?

How sholde any brere
Be withoute rinde?
How sholde I love my lemman
Withoute longinge?

Whan the cherye was a flowr,
Thanne hadde it no stoon;
Whan the dove was an ey,
Thanne hadde it no boon.

Whan the brere was unbred,
Thanne hadde it no rinde;
Whan the maiden hath that she loveth,
She is withoute longinge.

Lyrics from this page


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 04:46 AM

Sung by Willie Clancy (on the Minstrel from Clare. I lifted the words off the net so won't take responsibility for any mistakes.

A gentleman's fair daughter stepped out a narrow lane.
She met with Captain Witherburn, the keeper of the game.
He said unto his servant men, "If it were not for the law,
I'd have that maid in bed with me and she'd lie next the wall."

"Ah, then go away, young man," she said, "and do not bother me.
Before you lie one night with me you must answer me questions three.
Three questions you must answer me whilst I set forth them all,
Ere you and I in one bed lie and I lie next the wall."

"You must get me for my breakfast a cherry without a stone,
You must get me for my dinner a bird without a bone.
For my supper you must get for me a bird without a gall,
Ere you and I in one bed lie or I lie next the wall."

"Now the cherry when in blossom, it surely has no stone,
The chicken when it's in the egg, it surely has no bone.
The dove she is a gentle bird and flies without a gall,
So you and I in one bed lie and you'll lie next the wall."

"Ah, go away, young man," she said, "and do not me perplex.
Before you lie one night with me you must answer me questions six.
Six questions I'll put forth to you whilst you shall answer all,
Ere you and I in one bed lie or I lie next the wall."

"Now what is rounder than a ring? What's higher than a tree?
And what is worse than women's wrath? What's deeper than the sea?
What bird sings best? What tree buds first and on the dew first fall?
Ere you and I in one bed lie or I lie next the wall."

"Now the world is rounder than a ring, heav'n's higher than a tree.
The devil is worse than women's wrath, hell's deeper than the sea,
The lark sings best, the heath buds first and there the dew first fall,
So you and I in one bed lie and you'll lie next the wall."

"You must get for me some winter fruit that in December grew,
You must get for me a mantle that weft nor warp went through,
A sparrow's horn, a priest unborn to wed us both in twa,
Ere you and I in one bed lie or I lie next the wall."

"Now my father has some winter fruit that in December grew,
My mother has a mantle that weft nor warp went through,
A sparrow's horn is easy got: there is one in every claw,
And Melchizedek was a priest unborn -- and you'll lie next the wall."


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 06:23 AM

The lyrics to Tumbalalaika were posted to the thread, "Hebrew/ Yiddish/ Ladino songs," in 1997 (but they have never been harvested into the DT). I once introduced it as a Yiddish riddle song before singing it. In the write-up of the evening's entertainment, that came out as a Yiddish rebel song.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 11:05 AM

Rather odd, but I've found links to Mudcat threads on this topic on other sites - but when I punched in the key words initially here, I found no results.
Anyway a Mudcat thread on the riddle song 'I Gave My Love a Cherry':

thread.CFM?threadID=9589#107652


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 12:33 PM

Stefan Sobell used to do a nice one called "Jennifer Gentle and Rosemary" which asked similar questions to "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship".
Worth also taking a look at the ballad "King John and the Bishop of Canterbury"


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:07 PM

There are several Christmas carols;

The Bitter Withy

5. Our Saviour built a bridge with the beams of the sun,
And over He gone, He gone He;
And after followed the three jolly jerdins,
And drownded they were all three.

The Cherry Tree Carol

6. O then bespoke the baby
Within his mother's womb
'Bow down then the tallest tree
For my mother to have some.'

7. Then bowed down the highest tree,
Unto his mother's hand.
Then she cried, 'See, Joseph,
I have cherries at command.'

The Carnal and The Crane

11. The cock soon freshly feathered was
    By the work of God's own hand
And then three fences1 crowed he
    In the dish where he did stand

16. First, came the lovely lion,
    Which Jesus's grace did spring,
And of the wild beasts in the field
    The lion shall be king.

19. God speed thee, man! said Jesus,
    Go fetch thy ox and wain,
And carry home thy corn again
    Which thou this day hast sown.'

25. Why, the truth it must be spoke,
    And the truth it must be known;
For Jesus passed by this way
    When my seed was sown.

King Pharim/King Pharaoh

5. Oh, it's straight away the cock did fetch,
    And feathered to your own hand,
Three times a roasted cock did crow,
    On the place where they did stand.

8. "Come husbandman!" cried Jesus,
    "From over speed and pride,
And carry home your ripened corn
    That you've been sowing this day.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GOING TO BANBURY
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:20 PM

Going to Banbury

As I was going to Banbury
Ri fol latitee O
As I was going to Banbury
I saw a line coddlin apple tree
With a ri fol latitee O.

And when the coddlins began to fall
I found five hundred men in all

And one of the men saw was dead
So I sent for a hatchet to open his head

And in his head I found a spring
And seven young salmon a learning to sing

And one of the salmon as big as I
Now do you not think I am telling a lie?
And one of the salmon as big as an elf
If you want any more you must sing it yourself


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 09:10 PM

King John and the Bishop (Child 45) is an amusing one.

*

A maraschino cherry, it has no stone.
Chicken a la king, it has no bone.
The story of stupidity, it has no end.
A baby when it's strangled, there's no cryin'.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 02:29 AM

Riddle songs are reckoned by some to be the oldest form of balladry; the function of the riddle having once believed to have been the warding off of evil.
'Riddles Wisely Expounded' was given pride of place by Child as Ballad 1, the 'lay the bent to the bonny broom' refrain which appears in some versions, referring to the magical powers of certain plants.
This is followed by 'The Elfin Knight' (2) (impossible tasks rather than riddles) and no 3, 'The False Knight on The Road' which is given as a contest between the devil and a child over the posession of the child's soul.
The example Peter gave, 'Captain Wedderburn's Courtship', (Child 46) is not so much a magical competition, but one of wit, the prize being the woman's maidenhead. On a similar theme, without the riddles, is 'The Two Magicians' (Child 44), where a woman and a blacksmith (once believed to posess magical powers because of his skill with the use of fire in working metal), fight over her maidenhead in a shape-shifting competition.
We recorded 'King John and The Bishop of Canterbury' from an old County Clare (West of Ireland) fisherman as a joke/tale, the protagonists being a priest and Oliver Cromwell.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 04:17 AM

I'm sure I wrote this yesterday but it's not here. Anyhoo...

I've been singing Child #1 a lot of late - Lay the Bent to the Bonny Broom as it appears in The Northumbrian Minstrelsy - the refrain of which is more by way of enhancing the erotic burlesque of the ballad rather than Jim's somewhat fanciful magical powers of certain plants as he suggests above. I think we're straying into Frazerian territory there, though certain confusion does exist as over the last 30 years or so Lay the Bent has become somewhat confused with Child #10 (via the folkie process which is of a somewhat more serious nature. Also fanciful is the suggestion of riddles somehow warding off evil which is not at all evident in the context of Child #1, where the romance is born from a compatibility of both mind and body, hence Lay the bent to the bonny broom is simply a picturesque euphemism for shagging.

I've been singing Child #2 (The Elfin Knight) for twenty years now to the traditional French melody of La Chanson des Livrees as I didn't have a traditional one when I first came across it (in Roberts' The Legendary Ballads of England & Scotland). I've heard various melodies since, but none quite as compelling as LCDL. Rachel and I are currently working up a version of that which appears in the Max Hunter Collection as sung by Mrs. Allie Long Parker, Eureka Springs, Arkansas on April 14, 1958 (see Here) which is an absolute belter.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 05:57 AM

What on earth are you trying to prove SS - maybe compiling your own folklore as well as re-writing the dictionary?
Jim Carroll


From Bronson, Volume one – note to 'Riddles Wisely Expounded

"Verbally, it derives from the broadside text through tradition, or from the tradition upon which that text was modeled; but substitutes a refrain with a different plant motif. Lucy Broad-wood has argued interestingly that such "plant-burdens" are especially proper to riddling-ballads like the present, where they may be "the survival of an incantation used against the demon-suitor." (Cf. JEFSS, III, p. 14.) The bent and the broom are said to be potent against witchcraft; and juniper, gentle (i.e., hawthorne), and rosemary are similarly endowed with beneficent powers."

And then from Lucy 'the folkie' Broadwood

"In this tune the leading note is absent. See Child's Ballads " Riddles wisely ex¬pounded," and " The Elfin Knight," for exhaustive history and variants of similar ballads. In the last volume of his great work Professor Child mentions a very important copy " from a book acquired by Walter Pollard, of Plymouth, in the 23rd year of Henry VI, 1444-5." The handwriting authorizes the conclusion that the verses were copied into the book not long after. The parties in the dialogue are the fiend and a maid. The fiend asks hard riddles, and says " But thou now, answery me, Thu schalt for sothe my leman be.'r The maiden answers the riddles, and escapes. Early broadsides, {see Pepys and Donee Collections, etc.), some British traditional* versions, and a negro Cante-fable, (see Jamaican Story and Song. Walter Jekyll, Folk Lore Society, 1907), preserve traces of the suitor, often a Knight, being the Devil in disguise. The Jamaican story " The Three Sisters," which deals of a monster outwitted by a maiden, contains the question and answer
" What is roguer than a womankind ? " " The Devil is roguer than a womankind." Compare this with Motherwell's MS. versions, quoted in Child's Ballads, " And what is worse than woman was ? " answered by " And the Devil's worse than e'er woman was."
In ancient Oriental versions of this riddle-story the suitor is, of course, a " rakshas" or demon. There are parallels in Greek tales, and one form of the story is in Gesta Romanorum, but that copy, as it stands, is to be interpreted only by the English ballad, according to Child.
Motherwell's MS. and an American traditional version have the same oddly-corrupted burden as Bridget Geary's song. More often the burden is " Parsley, (or ' Savory ') sage, rosemary and thyme;" " Juniper, rosemary," etc.; " Gennifer, (i.e., ' juniper ') gentle (i.e., hawthorn) and rosemary ; " " Lay the bent (i.e., ' rush') to (or 'with') the bonny broom;" "Sing holly, go whistle, and ivy;" or "Sing ivy O ! " On studying this type of riddle-ballads one cannot fail to be struck by the extraordinary frequency with which "plant-burdens" occur in them. Both abroad and in the British Isles one meets still with so many instances of plants being used as charms against demons, that I venture to suggest that these " plant-burdens," otherwise so nonsensical, are the survival of an incantation* used against the demon-suitor. That he should have disappeared from many versions of the riddle-story (where the dialogue only survives), is most natural, seeing that to mention an evil spirit's name is to summon him, in the opinion of the superstitioust of all countries. Every one of the plants mentioned in the burdens above quoted is, as a matter of fact, known to folk-lorists and students of the mythology of plants, as " magical." That is to say, from earliest times they have been used both as spells by magicians, and as counter-spells against the evil powers who employ them. The following notes are of such interest that I make no apology for inserting them. Those who wish to go more fully into the matter should refer to Flowers and Flower-lore by H. Friend, who has compiled his work from all the most important European books on the subject. It is perhaps hardly neccessary to remind our readers that, from earliest times, the herbs or symbols efficacious against the evil eye, and spirits, are also invariably used on the graves of the dead, or during the lay¬ing of the dead to rest.

PARSLEY.— Was used by the ancient Greeks at funerals, and on graves. It was so much associated with death that a Greek army fled in a panic on meeting asses laden with it. It is used magically in Germany, and is in the British Isles and Europe generally ominous of something bad, especially if transplanted.
SAGE.—Pepys mentions its use on graves near Southampton. It is used in Eng¬land still for magical purposes on Midsummer's Eve, and is used against the evil eye in Spain, Portugal, etc.
ROSEMARY.—Is called in Spain and Portugal " Alicrum " or " Elfin Plant."* It is there worn against the evil eye. It is hung up still, and burnt against witches, in Devonshire.    It is everywhere also associated with funerals and death.
THYME.—Is also magical. It forms, mixed with the " marygold," the chief ingred¬ient in a recipe (circa 1600) for an eye-salve or " unguent " for beholding " without danger the most potent fairy or spirit you may encounter." Wild thyme is con¬sidered in England to bring death into the house with it. Thyme, rosemary and gilliflowers, are the favourite plants on Glamorganshire graves, where only strong-smelling herbs and plants are permitted.
JUNIPER.—Is sacred to the Virgin in Italy, France, etc., and has especial power to put to flight the spirits of evil, and charms of the magician.
THE GENTLE.—(Gentle-thorn or bush) is the name used all over Ireland for the large hawthorns considered so holy. They are sacred to the "gentry"—"gentle people," or fairies who inhabit them.
HOLLY AND IVY.—Have been used magically since the earliest heathen times. Holly is " especially abhorrent to witches" in England and other countries of Europe.
BROOM.—Twelfth-night broom is held on the Continent, and elsewhere, to be most potent against witches and spirits. It is per contra, much used by witches in their charms. In Sussex and other parts it " brings death into a house with it " (as does hawthorn).
THE BENT (or Rush).—Is widely used in charms against the evil eye. Combined with the broom it would be doubly powerful, therefore.
Since forming this theory concerning the plant-burdens I have fortunately met with the following note by Sir Walter Scott, which seems to strengthen it very much. He writes, on the subject of " The Demon Lover " (a ballad absolutely distinct from " The Elfin Knight," of course), in Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border: " I remember to have heard a ballad, in which a fiend is introduced paying his addresses to a " beautiful maiden, but, disconcerted by the holy herbs which she wore in her bosom, " makes the following lines the burden of his courtship :
" Gin ye wish to be leman mine,
" Lay aside the St. John's-wort and the vervain."
" The heroine of the following tale (the " Demon-Lover ") was unfortunately with-" out any similar protection." Both St. John's-wort and vervain* are famous through¬out Europe as magical plants.
Child shows how exceedingly ancient and universal the subject of the " Elfin Knight" ballad is. Kristensen has collected a Danish traditional version. The Danish tune has no likeness to any English air yet noted to the " Elfin Knight" or kindred ballads, as far as I can ascertain ; but it has a most remarkable likeness to the tune of " The Knight's Dream " noted in Scarborough (see Folk Song Journal, Vol. ii, No. 9, p. 273).
In its modern traditional forms it is very popular with country-singers. See " There was a Lady in the West," and " Scarborough Fair," {English County Songs and Traditional Tunes), " Whittingham Fair," {Songs of Northern England) and " An Acre of Land," with many other references appended, in Folk Song Journal, Vol. ii, No. 8, p. 212. See also " The Three Sisters " in Davies Gilbert's Ancient Christmas Carols (Second Edition).
Bridget Geary's tune is a variant of another Co. Waterford tune with the title " Druim-Fhionn Donn Dilis " noted by Mrs. Clandillon, {see the " Introduction " to my Waterford Collection).—L. E. B.

Footnotes
* See " There was a Lady in the West" (Mason's Nursery Rhymes).

* In one form of this riddle-song we get burdens which seem to be a corruption of a Latin exorcism (see " My true love lives far from me " in Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes.) " He sent me a goose, without a bone; Perrie, Merrie, Dixie, Domine; He sent me a cherry, without a stone, Peirum, Partrum, Paradise, Temporie, Perrie, Merrie," etc. For other examples see "I had four brothers over the sea," etc., in various collections of traditional songs.
t Curiously enough, Mr. Michael Geary himself gave me a proof of this, last summer, when discussing the virtues of wormwood smoked in Midsummer Eve fires and hung up in cottages till the next year, as is done still in the neighbourhood of Camphire.

* Interesting, as occurring in the burden of this " Elfin Knight" ballad.

* See also Chambers' Popular Rhymes of Scotland on " The virtues of vervain."
Since the foregoing was written a most interesting and suggestive lecture has been delivered in London by the learned musician and folk-lorist, Monsieur Combarieu, on "La Musique et la Magie." M. Combarieu traced instrumental and vocal music to its most primitive uses, viz., magical, and, later, religious. He gave striking proofs to support his theory, drawn not only from the customs of primitive and savage peoples, but of the civilised, from the earliest times till the present. The study of " burdens," considered as possible "in¬cantations," might prove most valuable.—L. E. B."


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 06:40 AM

What on earth are you trying to prove SS

Nowt much, Jim - simply pointing out that Lay the bent to the bonny broom is, from the context, far more likely to be a euphemism for sexual intercourse rather than anything to do with the magical powers of certain plants. No doubt you're of the opinion that Ring a Roses alludes to the symptoms of The Black Death, or that the Sheela-na-Gig is a pagan fertility figure. Oh the myriad & mired joys of folkloric bullshit! Still, I remain a fan of Grave's The White Goddess though I would never quote it quite as liberally as you do your various sources here, tempting though it might be! Thanks for going to the trouble anyway - a fascinating journey into the folkloric wilderness wherein such charmingly picturesque speculation masquerades as scholarship.

Of far greater interest, I would say, is the occurrence of Yondos town in Mrs. Allie Long Parker's version of Child #2. This is something we can get our teeth into, rather than pondering the continuity of occult symbolic absolutes from Ancient Greece to mid-20th century Arkensas. But of course these lesser mortals, these mere song carriers, these grubby ill-educated rustics, they can't possible understand the true significances of which they sing, can they, Jim?

I might add that when I say Child#1 in my above post I'm referring specifically to 1A which isn't in the least bit supernatural. 1C has a cosy demonic glow to it, but I've never been too convinced by 1E - specially the six / Nick's rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:01 AM

Ah well, we can't get it right all he time - we'll all have to wait till you produce your book on 'The Revised Veiw of World Folksong and Folklore' - too late for'Folkie Lucy' I'm afraid.
In the meantime the rest of us will have to struggle on with the likeof Prof. McKillop's less dogmatic view:
Sheela-na-gig, Sheila-na-gig [Ir. Sile na gCioch, Sheila (Caecilia) of the breasts].
Stone carvings from medieval Ireland and elsewhere depicting a naked woman with her legs apart, revealing her vagina. Although the pose would often be con¬sidered obscene, many surviving examples are found in churches. In the British Isles most are found in Ireland, with smaller numbers in England, Wales, and Scotland; arguably some instances may be found in France. Although their precise origin, date, and significance have never been satisfactorily explained,-speculations have not been wanting. They may be borrowed from French Romanesque depictions of the sin of lust, meant as a warning. They may be fertility figures, used as a cure for barrenness. Recent feminist commentators have suggested they may be reminders of the primal earth mother whose rule over life and death pre-dated Christianity. See H. Hickey, Images of Stone (Belfast, 1976); Jorgen Andersen, The Witch on the Wall (London, 1977); James H. Dunn, 'Síle-na-gCíoch', Eire-Ireland, 12(1) (1977), 68-85; Helen Lanigan Wood, 'Women in Myths and Early Depictions', in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (ed.), Irish Women: Image and Achievement (Dublin, 1985), 12-24; Eamonn Kelly, Sheela-na-gigs: Origin and Functions (Dublin, 1997).
As for 'The Black Death' myth - Alice Gomme pretty much kicked that one into touch back in the 1890s.
Modesty isn't one of your stronger qualities, is it?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:19 AM

I don't know what these little ladies are all about, but they sure look happy with themselves - what a nice smile.... Apart from that I havn't much of anything useful to add to the bickering except this bloody brilliant bit of P.J Harvey to which drunken lurching is obligatory, or so I've heard: Sheila na gig


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 08:56 AM

"add to the bickering "
My apologies, a hangover from another thread - won't happen again.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 11:18 AM

I was only being tongue in cheek there Jim!
As might be evidenced by my own thoroughly irrelevent 'contribution' ;-)

Though back on topic regards some of the theories about the meaning of certain 'riddle songs'. All still very interesting irrespective of how dubious the scholarship might be. But then I too like Graves and indeed Frazer, despite both being deeply flawed.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 12:31 PM

we'll all have to wait till you produce your book on 'The Revised Veiw of World Folksong and Folklore' - too late for'Folkie Lucy' I'm afraid.

Fact is, Jim, any botanist will tell you the taxonomy of flora doesn't extend to their occult / folkloric symbolism, as far as such exists at all, consistent or otherwise. In other words, a plant is just a plant - it doesn't mean anything.

Sheela-na-Gig

Check out The Sheela-na-Gig Project.

As for 'The Black Death' myth - Alice Gomme pretty much kicked that one into touch back in the 1890s.

I understood The Black Death Myth only went back to James Leasor's The Plague & The Fire (1961). Could you elaborate?

I wonder, can the riddle songs carry symbolic weight without having an actual meaning as such? There's certainly a heavy clout of imagery going on here, even in Lay the bent to the bonny broom, the incantatory jouissance of which might just go beyond erotic euphemism, or even understanding, into realms of the surreal. Just a weary thought anyway...

Now I'm going back out to the overflow pipe with the H4 and this time I'm going to get sing the words in the right order to the right melody! Watch this space...


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 25 Apr 09 - 01:26 PM

"I wonder, can the riddle songs carry symbolic weight without having an actual meaning as such? There's certainly a heavy clout of imagery going on here, even in Lay the bent to the bonny broom, the incantatory jouissance of which might just go beyond erotic euphemism, or even understanding, into realms of the surreal. Just a weary thought anyway..."

Trying rather incompletely to follow your thoughts here Sinister, in fact I'd be interested if you could elabortate your thinking some so I could get a better handle on what your aiming at.

But by way of tangential response, I thought that the 'surrealistic' element implied by incantatory style repetition you refer to, is rather interesting, considering how repetition itself thoroughly dismantles our meaningful recognition of familiar words and phrases, thus effectively rendering them complete gibberish. Or perhaps I'm just rephrasing your own words somewhat?


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 03:46 AM

SS
Sorry - you're right - half remembered information.
Here is the ref. I was thinking of from Opie's Dictionary of Rhymes.

Ring-a-ring-o' roses,
A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down.
The words of this little ring-song seem to be becoming standardized though this was not so fifty years ago when Lady Gomme was collecting (ante 1898). Of the twelve versions she gathered only one was similar to the above. Although 'Ring-a-ring o' roses' is now one of the most popular nursery games—the song which instantly rises from the Ups of small children whenever they join hands in a circle—the words were not known to Halliwell, and have not been found in children's literature before 1881. Newell, however, says that,
Ring a ring a rosie, A bottle full of posie, All the girls in our town, Ring for little Josie,
was current to the familiar tune in New Bedford, Massachusetts, about 1790. The 'A-tishoo' is notably absent here, as it is also in other versions he gives, in which the players squat or stoop rather than fall down:
Round the ring of roses,
Pots full of posies,
The one who stoops last Shall tell whom she loves best.
The invariable sneezing and falling down in modern English versions has given would-be origin finders the opportunity to say that the rhyme dates back to the days of the Great Plague. A rosy rash, they allege, was a symptom of the plague, posies of herbs were carried as protection, sneezing was a final fatal symptom, and 'all fall down' was exacdy what happened. It would be more delightful to recall the old belief that gifted children had the power to laugh roses (Grimm's Deutsche Mythohgie). The foreign and nineteenth-century versions seem to show that the fall was originally a curtsy or other gracious bending movement of a dramatic singing-game, and the present writers have on several occasions gathered from oral tradition a sequel rhyme for the players to rise on their feet again,
The cows are in the meadow Lying fast asleep,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all get up again.
Lines similar to these last are also known to the Irish Celts.
Mother Goose, Kate Greenaway, 1881, 'Hush! hush! hush! hush! We're all rumbled down' / Shropshire Folk-Lore, (5. F.Jackson, 1883, 'One for Jack, and one for Jim, and one for little Moses—A-tisha! a-tisha! a-tisha!' also varia ending 'A curchey in, and a curchey out, And a curchey all together' / Newell, 1883, as quotes / Sheffield Glossary, S. O. Addy, 1888, varia / Gomme, 1898, varia including 'Ring a ring o' roses, A pocket-full o' posies; One for me, and one for you. And one for little Moses—Hasher, Hasher, Hasher, all fall down' / Mother Goose, Arthur Rackham, 1913 / What the Children Sing, Alfred Moffat, 1915, 'A ring, a ring o' roses, A pocket full of posies, Ash-a! Ash-a! All stand still. The King has sent his daughter To fetch a pail of water, Ash-a! Ash-a! All bow down. The bird above the steeple Sits high above the people, Ash-a! Ash-a! All kneel down. The wedding bells are ringing, And boys and girls are singing, Ash-a! Ash-a! All fall down' / Oral collection, 1947, as quote.
Cf. Folk-lore, 1882, 'Here we go round by ring, by ring. As ladies do in Yorkshire; A curtsey here, a curtsey there, A curtsey to the ground, sir' / Deutsches Kittderbuch, Karl Simrock, 184S, 'Ringel, Ringel Reihe! Sind der Kinder dreie. Sitzen auf dera Holderbusch, Schreien alle musch musch musch: Sitzt nieder! Sitzt ne Frau im Ringelein, Mit sieben kleinen Kinderlein. Was essens gerne? Fischlein. Was trinkens gerne? Rothen Wein. Sitzt nieder!', also rhyme beginning 'Ringel Ringel Roscnkranz' / Alemannisches Kinderlied, E. L. Rochholz, 1857 / Reime der Kinder in Oesterreich, T, Vernaleben, 1873 / Chants Populate du Languedoc, L. Lambert, 1906, 'Branle, calandre, La Fille d'Alexandre, La peche Men mure, La figue bien mure, Le rosier tout fleuri, Coucou toupi! — En disant "coucou toupi", tous les enfants, qui forment la ronde, s'accroupissent' / American Folk Lore, 1897, Swiss, 'Randin, picotin, La Marie a fait son pain, Pas plus gros que son levain. Pugh! dans l'eau.' Last one down is it j Children's Games throughout the Year, L. Daiken, 1949, from County Donegal, 'Here we go round the Jingo Ring, Jingo Ring, Jingo Ring, Here we go round the Jingo Ring And the last pops down!' Also cf. the Gaelic 'Bulla! Bulla! Baisin, Ta'n bo sa guirdin. Sios libh !Sios libh! Eirigidh anois, Eirigidh! Deanam aris 6. (Clap! Clap! Hands, The cow is in the garden. Down ye go! Down ye go! Get up now, get up! Let's do it again.)'
Parody: The Observer, 9 Jan. 1949, 'Ring-a-ring-o'-geranium, A pocket full of uranium, Hiro, shima, All fall down.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 05:41 AM

Or perhaps I'm just rephrasing your own words somewhat?

I think that pretty much nails it, CS. When I think of Surrealism, I think of The Nature Table - of items removed from their original context & juxtaposed elsewhere by way of symbolic / poetic value, though what that value is remains essentially unsayable as it goes places language doesn't - a liminal & subjective something-or-other which whilst being common to us all is something we experience alone - and, although there is some element of consensus here, it remains abstract, but none the less awesome and, therefore, meaningful.

Here is the ref. I was thinking of from Opie's Dictionary of Rhymes.

Thanks for that, Jim - as invaluable as it is fascinating!

*

Otherwise here I am recording the Great Selkie O' Sule Skerry, singing up the overflow pipe on Fleetwood beach last night. And you can hear the results on my myspace page Here; far from perfect in terms of recording & performance, it is a welcome addition to The Nature Table nevertheless!


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 08:43 AM

Cheers for Silkie up the overflow pipe # 2. The most hypnotic and atmospheric Silkie(s) I've heard by a long mark - and I *really* like what you're demonstrating here in terms of a 'feral folk' praxis. Now my head's all full of buzzy thoughts...


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 10:11 AM

Cheers, CS - in #1 I was beating the grill with a rubber handle of an old golf club which gave a better sound than the singing bowl stick was using in #2. Ross has still got the club handle, so I'll go back one day & do the definitive version - sing a lower mic setting next time!

Looking forward to hearing what realms of Feral Folk Praxis your buzzy thoughts lead you. The Zoom joys of the beckoning wilderness, and springtime of course...


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,Sedayne (Astray)
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 12:39 PM

the 'surrealistic' element implied by incantatory style repetition you refer to, is rather interesting, considering how repetition itself thoroughly dismantles our meaningful recognition of familiar words and phrases

Something like...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZThquH5t0ow


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 02:37 PM


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,Brian Peters
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 02:52 PM

Sinister Supporter wrote:
> I might add that when I say Child#1 in my above post I'm referring specifically to 1A which isn't in the least bit supernatural. 1C has a cosy demonic glow to it, but I've never been too convinced by 1E - specially the six / Nick's rhyme. <

Child's analysis of 'Riddles Wisely Expounded' was not one of his happier efforts. Unaware, at the time he wrote his notes on the ballad, of the existence of 1E - with it's reference to 'Old Nick' - and the Pollard (1445) copy featuring the 'foul fiend' that Jim referred to, he declared that the devilish 'Unco Knight' in 1C was a "departure from the proper story". By the time he'd been made aware of the 1445 lyric (just in time to include it in his final set of 'Additions and Corrections'), he'd revised that earlier opinion and now stated that "the 'good ending' of A and B is manifestily a modern perversion".

After Child's death, Alfred Williams turned up a further Devil version which he published in 'Folk Songs of the Upper Thames', and 'The Devil's Nine Questions' was collected in Virginia in 1922.

I've heard both the 'magical plants' and 'euphemism for sex' explanations for the refrain before, but the unmistakeable shadow of Beelzebub looming over Child 1 does suggest deeper levels of meaning than mere 'shagging'. The broom is also mentioned in alternative refrains collected with this ballad (e.g. 'Lay the bank with the bonny broom'), that don't lend themselves so easily to the carnal act.

For another riddle ballad, look at 'Proud Lady Margaret' (Child 47).


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 03:37 PM

To the above I should add that the 'Lay the Bent' refrain has been discussed at some length here before. Go to http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=56572#885532 and scroll down to (of course) Malcolm Douglas' post, in which there are links to two previous threads. Malcolm seems to have favoured slightly the sexual motif theory, and also reminded us that the association of the refrain with Child 10 (Two Sisters) is down entirely to Pentangle.

As for the 'Juniper (or Jennifer), Gentle and Rosemary' refrain, associated with one version of Child 1, it's also been collected with 'Two Sisters', 'Babylon' (= 'Bonny Banks of Fordie') and 'The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin'. So, one Devil ballad, two murder ballads (one of them supernatural) and one misogynistic comic ballad. Reading anything about the magical power of plants into that refrain, given its disparate associations, would be problematical. Maybe it had no more significance to the people who sang it than 'Fol derol lerol aye day'....


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Brian Peters
Date: 26 Apr 09 - 03:39 PM

Sorry, here's the clicky: previous thread


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 05:05 AM

Funny how these things get embedded. With me it's a case of first impressions lasting, having been singing Lay the Bent as given by Bruce & Stokoe in The Northumbrian Minstrelsy for more years than I care to remember. This is the same as Child #1a and in performance I drop four of the extraneous closing verses*, concluding with Now fair maidens all... and repeat of the first which rounds it off nicely. However, thanks to Brian & Jim, maybe the time has come to take another look...

Thanks for those links too, always a joy to read what Mr Douglas had to say on the matter! By Folkie Process in my post of 25 Apr 09 - 04:17 AM I was referring to the Pentangle Confusion, which persists to the extent that many's the time having sung Lay the Bent only to be told afterwards that I was singing the wrong words. Whilst not all folkies are scholars, most, I fear, are pedants at least to the extent that they believe in an underlying correctness however evident the initial misconception. Ring a Rosies is a classic example of this, the Sheela-na-Gig is another, the Green Man likewise. However, whilst I might indulge in a bit of merry banter on line (with Jim it's purely because I'm still smarting because he dismissed my efforts as a ballad singer as being akin to bad pop music) I'm not in the least bit vigilant in the flesh, allowing that belief is a subjective fluidity that results in the pool of objective consensus which is not without appeal. I believe the term is if can't beat them, join them...

* How so extraneous? Well, nauseating sentiment notwithstanding, the couplets read as if they were written by Walkaboutsverse:

When she these questions answered had,
The knight became exceeding glad.

And having [truly] try'd her wit,
He much commended her for it.

And after, as it is verifi'd,
He made of her his lovely bride.

So now, fair maidens all, adieu,
This song I dedicate to you.

I wish that you may constant prove
Vnto the man that you do love.


But they are there in the 1674-9 broadsheet so maybe I should sing them too...


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Brian Peters
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 05:46 AM

Thanks for the link to the broadside, SS. Those last verses are indeed low doggerel, and of course their presence in a broadside, even a 17th century one, doesn't guarantee their authenticity. In the case of the 1657 broadside that's the earliest known copy of 'James Harris' (aka The Demon Lover), it's been argued pretty convincingly that much of the text (which concludes with a number of moralizing verses even more cringeworthy than the above) is hack scribbling grafted on to an older, traditional version. In describing 1A as "a modern perversion", FJC seems to have taken a similar view about 'Riddles Wisely Expounded'.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 06:04 AM

of course their presence in a broadside, even a 17th century one, doesn't guarantee their authenticity.

But it does give the thing a certain provenance - the sort of thing I'm a bit of a sucker for to be honest, Brian; maybe seeing the low doggerel as being on a similar level with the crudity of the broadsheet as a whole, woodcuts & all, which is so much part of the appeal!

*

Anyway, of greater interest to me this morning (still being full of this unshakeable cold) is the discovery of the original version of Bird's the Word by The Rivingtons:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edYQiZxyw0I

And The Rivington's Papa Omm Mow Mow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD0LcDEPrZE

As many will be no doubt aware, it was these two songs that were combined by The Trashmen in 1963 into the cult Surfin' Bird:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZThquH5t0ow

Though I must urge you watch this singular piece of footage to give the thing some context:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x44xu7_the-trashmen-surfin-bird_music

Quite the most astonishing thing I've seen in a very long time...


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 02:11 AM

You've kinda lost me on that Birdy tangent Sinister. And so for no particular reason.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzqRwijXpU0

Bedlam Boys while not a 'riddle song' as such, nevertheless has some magical topsy-turvy lyrics that suit this thread:

"For to see my Tom of Bedlam, 10,000 miles I'd travel
Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes, to save her shoes from gravel.

    Still I sing bonnie boys, bonnie mad boys,
    Bedlam boys are bonnie
    For they all go bare and they live by the air,
    And they want no drink nor money.

I went down to Satin's kitchen, for to beg me food one morning
There I got souls piping hot, all on the spit a turning.

There I picked up a cauldron, Where boiled 10,000 harlots
Though full of flame I drank the same, to the health of all such varlets.

My staff has murdered giants, my bag a long knife carries
For to cut mince pies from children's thighs, with which to feed the fairies.

Spirits white as lightning, shall on my travels guide me
The moon would quake and the stars would shake, when' ere they espied me.

No gypsy slut nor doxy, shall win my Mad Tom from me
I'll weep all night, the stars I'll fight, the fray will well become me.

It's when next I have murdered, the Man-In-The-Moon to powder
His staff I'll break, his dog I'll bake, they'll howl no demon louder.

So drink to Tom of Bedlam, he'll fill the seas in barrels
I'll drink it all, all brewed with gall, with Mad Maudlin I will travel."


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 05:15 AM

You've kinda lost me on that Birdy tangent Sinister.

Sorry about that, CS - your earlier comment about repetition dismantling meaning coincided with a new episode of Family Guy which reminded me of The Trashmen's 1963 cult classic Surfin' Bird which fit the dismantling of meaning perfectly. Seeking out Surfin' Bird on YouTube led me to The Rivingtons, by way of genuine cultural provenance and some very beautiful music to boot. As a rule I don't listen to folk music for pleasure, but I do have a passion for Doo Wop and Surf Music, the rougher the better, and have often speculated upon a connection between the rhythmic nonsensical vocables of Doo Wop (Papa Oom Mow Mow being a classic example) and those found in the choruses & refrains of traditional songs & ballads.

Otherwise...

Lots of Mudcat discussion on Bedlam Boys over the years which is worth checking out; it seems to enter the Folk Consciousness via Nic Jones, who had a hand in writing the tune we're now familiar with, and which is now believed to be somehow traditional - as a YouTube search will rather depressingly reveal. The original tune given in Pills to Purge Melancholy is much better. Here it is sung by Catharine Bott:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5saIajZ-jg

*

I'm reminded of Purcell's setting of the anonymous Bess of Bedlam, circa 1682, which is maybe worth a look in this context, although Bedlam, I believe, was an all male institution...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3YVaLFVMsw

From silent shades and the Elysian groves
Where sad departed spirits mourn their loves
From crystal streams and from that country where
Jove crowns the fields with flowers all the year,
Poor senseless Bess, cloth'd in her rags and folly,
Is come to cure her lovesick melancholy.

"Bright Cynthia kept her revels late
While Mab, the Fairy Queen, did dance,
And Oberon did sit in state
When Mars at Venus ran his lance.

In yonder cowslip lies my dear,
Entomb'd in liquid gems of dew;
Each day I'll water it with a tear,
Its fading blossom to renew.

For since my love is dead and all my joys are gone,
Poor Bess for his sake
A garland will make,
My music shall be a groan.

I'll lay me down and die within some hollow tree,
The rav'n and cat,
The owl and bat
Shall warble forth my elegy.

Did you not see my love as he pass'd by you?
His two flaming eyes, if he comes nigh you,
They will scorch up your hearts: Ladies beware ye,
Les he should dart a glance that may ensnare ye!

Hark! Hark! I hear old Charon bawl,
His boat he will no longer stay,
And furies lash their whips and call:
Come, come away, come, come away.

Poor Bess will return to the place whence she came,
Since the world is so mad she can hope for no cure.
For love's grown a bubble, a shadow, a name,
Which fools do admire and wise men endure.

Cold and hungry am I grown.
Ambrosia will I feed upon,
Drink Nectar still and sing."
Who is content,
Does all sorrow prevent?
And Bess in her straw,
Whilst free from the law,
In her thoughts is as great, great as a king.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:04 AM

PS - Somewhat refreshingly, the original tune is used in the Digi Trad:

http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=570


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:18 AM

Thanks for Mad Maudlin - I'll certainly make use of the origonal tune. Though translating Purcel's Bedlam Bess for a pub folk setting will take a little more imagination.
Anyone for Dildo and Anus? (sorry, couldn't resist..)


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:52 AM

Janet Baker? Bloody hell - that just goes to show how much things have changed in the last 40 years. That said, my favourite Dido is, coincidentally, Catharine Bott; she can be heard singing the lament from the Academy of Ancient Music's 1994 recording here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6E-v_U7Xx4


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 01:58 PM

Aye, the clip I posted was rather quaint! I kinda expected a panto villian to appear somewhere on stage and everyone to mime shock!
Rather interesting listening to Di(l)do again. A friend of mine who is also an academic specialist in early English music taught me to sing this piece one Summer some years back - he taught me to sing by holding as much of a 'pure' note as possible and thoroughly minimising vibrato (which he maintained was more 'lazy'). Having listened to a few renderings on YouTube as a consequence of this drift, I appreciate his aesthetic purpose rather better now than I did then (I'm no conosoire!). But it is indeed IMO more challenging to sustain certain notes clean and pure, without falling into compensatory vibrato.
And as for fecking 'remember me' - I'd rather not... And nor would my neighbours I'm sure.


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 02 Aug 17 - 01:21 AM

No one mentioned this version of "Scarborough Faire" which I learned from a Mick Hanly album and I believe he got from "More Irish Street Ballads"
I think a its great alternative to the sappy "Partially sage, rosemary etc."
It seems they are all sexual riddles, I wonder are there older versions of this song, was riddling a favorite Anglo-Saxon form of literature?

Rosemary Faire
As sung by Mick Hanly

You may go down to Rosemary Faire
Every rose grows merry and fine
Find for me the finest girl there
And she can be a true lover of mine

Have her make me a cambric shirt
Every rose . . .(refrain)
Without thread or needle work
And she can be. . . (refrain-she)

Have her wash it in yonder well
(ref.)
With water that never was rain that fell
(refrain-she)

Have her hang it on a thorn
(ref.)
That never did bloom since Adam was born
(refrain-she)

Have her bring it to Rosemary Faire
(ref.)
When she arrives there'll be nobody there
(refrain-she)

Since you've been so hard upon me
(ref.)
I will be as hard upon thee
And he can be a true lover of mine (refrain-he)

Have him find me an acre of land
(ref.)
Between the salt sea and the salt sea strand
(refrain-he)

Have him plow it with a horn
(ref.)
And sew it all with a single corn
(refrain-he)

Have him cut it with a feather
(ref.)
And bind it up with stockings of leather
(refrain-he)

Have him cart it on a snail
(ref.)
And thresh it down with a mousie's tail
(refrain-he)

Have him bring it to Rosemary Faire
(ref.)
When he arrives there'll be nobody there
(refrain-he)


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: GUEST,guest Larry Poole
Date: 02 Aug 17 - 01:23 AM

Or why I see it subtitled "Song of Lugnasadh"?


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 02 Aug 17 - 03:00 AM

The Scarborough Fair song that did the rounds after it was included in 'The Graduate' - (Simon and Garfunkle) is derived from Child ballad 2 - 'The Elfin Knight' - not so much 'sexual' as a battle of wits between a man (often a stranger' and woman
The 'Parsley, sage.... plants are good luck charms rather than sexual references.
Usually the prize is marriage (if she can answer his riddles)
In the case of 'Riddles', the competition is one where the woman proves her equality by giving as good as she gets with impossible questions
In the case of 'The False Knight on the Road' (Child 3), the competition is between a schoolboy and a stranger he meets on the road, who turns out to be the Devil - the boy, in the course of the competition, exposes him for who he is and saves his own sould by doing so.
The one to have lasted the longest in the tradition in Ireland is 'Captain Wedderburn's Courtship' (Child 46)
"Song of Lugnasadh"?
Never come across this one - possibly a modern reference.
Lughnasa (the feast of the God Lugh) marks the beginning of Harvest in Ireland
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Riddle Songs??
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Aug 17 - 05:01 AM

was riddling a favorite Anglo-Saxon form of literature?

Yes, and throughout Teutonic Europe.


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Mudcat time: 23 September 2:29 AM EDT

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