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Origins: The Wish/Poor Timid Hare

Fergie 01 Nov 09 - 04:06 PM
Matthew Edwards 01 Nov 09 - 05:53 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Wish/Poor Timid Hare
From: Fergie
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 04:06 PM

Hi all

Have come across these lyrics in a number of places online including The Bodelian Library

I found a midi here

I am interested in the history of the song and to know if anybody has a recording of the song, or knows where I might get/hear a recording.

Here is a transcript

The Wish/The Poor Timid Hare

When the trees are all bare, not a leaf to be seen
And the meadows their beauty have lost
When Nature disrobed of her mantle green.
And the streams are fast bound with the frost.
Whilst the peasant inactive stands shivering with cold,
As bleak the winds northerly blow,
And the innocent flock runs for ease to the fold,
With their fleeces all covered with snow.

In the yard when the cattle are foddered with straw,
And they send forth their breath like a steam.
And the neat looking dairymaid finds she must thaw
Flakes of ice that she sees in her cream
With the sweet country maiden as fresh as a rose,
As she carelessly slips, often slides,
And the rustic loud laughs, if by falling she shows
All the charms that her modesty hides.

When the birds to the barn door come hovering for food
As in silence they rest on the spray.
And the poor timid hare in vain seeks the woods,
Lest her footsteps her course should betray.
When the lads and the lasses in company joined,
In a crowd round the embers are met.
Talk of fairies and witches that ride in the wind.
And of ghosts till they are in a sweat.

Heaven grant in this season it may be my lot,
With the nymph whom I love and admire
While the icicles hang from the eves of my cot
I may thither in safety retire,
Where in neatness and quiet, and free from surprise
We may live and no hardships endure,
Nor feel any turbulent passions arise
But such as each other can cure.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Wish/Poor Timid Hare
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 01 Nov 09 - 05:53 PM

Hi Fergus,

This is also known as Time To Remember the Poor/A Winter Piece (Roud Index number 1121), and as you say it appeared on a lot of broadsides. Frank Kidson included it in his 'Traditional Tunes', pp.170-171. It was collected for Kidson by Charles Lolley from an unnamed East Riding singer.

Waterson:Carthy sing it on their Topic CD Holy Heathens and the Green Old Man. Reinhard Zierke has transcribed their version on his website here Time to Remember the Poor.

The Mellstock Band with Dave Townsend have also recorded the song on their Wild Goose Records CD 'Tenants of the Earth' but that seems to be no longer available. There is another modern recording on Golden Hind Music on the CD Just Say Nowell.

Baring-Gould collected a version of this song from John Taylor of Postbridge which Martin Graebe has posted online Time to remember the poor. This is also in the DT database. There is a Mudcat thread with some very useful information from the late Malcolm Douglas and Sandy Paton, as well as the very much alive Joe Offer, Nutty, Anglo, Jon Bartlett, Kendall, Bruce Murdoch and Jim Dixon.

Alfred Williams collected it as well in Wiltshire, but unusually for him he didn't make a note of who sang it for him. See That's the time to remember the poor.

Its a really good song that could do with a revival - it seems as if it was very popular at one time, but then it almost completely disappeared.

By the way there are some amazing misprints in the Bodleian version of The Wish, especially "the poor timid heir"!

Matthew Edwards

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