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Lyr Add: The Happy Stranger

Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 13 - 04:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 13 - 04:09 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Happy Stranger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 13 - 04:02 PM

Roud 272, broadsides 1790 and later.

As I was walking one morning in Spring,
To hear the birds whistle and the nightingale sing
I heard a fair maid making a sorrowful moan
Singing I am a poor stranger and far from my home.
I stepped up to her and made a congee
And craved her pardon for making so free
Saying I have taken pity on hearing your moan
For I also am a stranger and far from my home.
Her cheeks blush'd like roses, her eye shed a tear;
She said, sir, I wonder at meeting you here
But I hope you'll not ill use me in this desert alone
As I am a stranger and far from my home.
My dear, to ill use you, indeed I never will,
My heart's blood to save you I'd willingly spill;
I would strive to ease and relieve all your moan
And wish to conduct you safe back to your home.
Therefore, my dear jewel, if you will agree
That if ever you marry, you'll marry to me
I'll be your guardian through the desert unknown
Until with your friends you arrive safely at home.
Sir, where is your country, I wish for to know
And what were the misfortunes you did undergo
That caused you to wander so far from your home
And made us meet, strangers in this desert alone.
He said, my sweet fair one, the truth I will tell,
It was in my country, near Newry I dwell
But unto misfortune, my love, I was prone
Which causes many a one to leave his native home.

Sir, the lads of sweet Newry are all roving blades
And have great pleasure in courting fair maids;
They kiss them and press them and call them their own
And perhaps your darling is mourning at home.
Believe me, my jewel, the case is not so;
So these strangers agreed, as is very well known
And now they are married and no longer roam
And I wish them both happy and safe at home.

Johnson Ballads 365, c. 1790-1813, is the oldest shown in the Bodleian Collection, and little different from this later printing. A copy of the Liptrot printing is in the Vaughan Williams Memorial website.

The similarity in form and meter suggests that this is perhaps the inspiration for the 19th C. cowboy song, "Git Along, Little Dogies."

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Happy Stranger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 13 - 04:09 PM

Congee, or low gee ((some printings), seems to be a type of obeisance or bow to a lady.

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