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Lyr Add: The Two Sisters of Ilkley Mill

Howard Kaplan 22 Jun 09 - 10:28 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Two Sisters of Ilkley Mill
From: Howard Kaplan
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 10:28 PM

Today (23 June 2009) being the 85th anniversary of the death of Cecil Sharpe, I thought I'd celebrate by posting the lyrics of a ballad variant likely to make him turn over in his grave. I cobbled this together a few years ago. It was originally intended as an F1 hybrid between "The Two Sisters" (Child 10), which contributed about half of the plot, and "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at", which contributed the melody, the structure, and most of the rest of the plot. However, during the process of embryogenesis, additional genetic material from "Barbara Allen" (Child 85) and "Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight" (Child 4) seems to have become incorporated.

The Two Sisters of Ilkley Mill
(to the tune of and in the style of "On Ilkley Moor Baht 'at")
Lyrics ©2004 by Howard L. Kaplan, with minor revisions thereafter
Tune considered traditional but actually "Sherburne" by Daniel Read

Here's the verse structure. The ordinary type represents the leader's part, the italic type represents the chorus part, and the curly braces show where two words are to be sung simultaneously by the leader and the chorus.

Two sisters lived by Ilkley Mill
Ilkley Mill
O-o-oh the wi-ind and the ra-ai-ai-ain

Both of them wanted the same { man
Both } of them wanted the same { man
Both } of them wanted the same man, and so the sisters fought
And so the sisters fought
And so the sisters fought
And so the sisters fought

And here are all of the verses, showing only the leader's part

Two sisters lived by Ilkley Mill.
Both of them wanted the same man, and so the sisters fought.

Though it had been her lover's gift,
The younger sister walked about without her beaver hat.

As they were walking by the stream,
One sister pushed the other in, and so the younger drowned.

As her corpse floated by the mill,
The miller's son was occupied with Moll, the cobbler's wife.

Therefore, the corpse flowed out to sea,
Where it was eaten by a shark who had a tasty meal.

Then, when the cooler weather came,
The shark migrated to the south, just as he always did.

Five men came fishing in a boat.
One man set out a baited hook, and so the shark was caught.

There was too much for them to eat,
And so the whole town had a feast, with shares for everyone.

After a year the mayor died.
And from the grave where he was lain a rose and briar grew.

Birds came to eat the rose hips oop.
One was not watching as he ate. A net fell over him.

He was transported in a cage
North to a town along a stream by which a miller lived.

He tried to teach the bird to speak,
But all the words the parrot heard the bird would not repeat.

All he would say for twenty years
Was that the elder sister pushed her younger sister in.

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