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Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song

Haruo 09 Oct 00 - 05:17 PM
MartinRyan 09 Oct 00 - 06:18 PM
Abby Sale 09 Oct 00 - 06:41 PM
Abby Sale 09 Oct 00 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Oct 00 - 06:56 PM
Joe Offer 09 Oct 00 - 07:09 PM
Haruo 09 Oct 00 - 07:15 PM
MartinRyan 09 Oct 00 - 07:20 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Oct 00 - 07:20 PM
Susan of DT 09 Oct 00 - 09:57 PM
GUEST 10 Oct 00 - 07:45 AM
GUEST 10 May 10 - 12:21 AM
Jim Dixon 13 May 10 - 04:10 PM
Joe_F 13 May 10 - 05:33 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 May 10 - 05:50 PM
Jim Dixon 13 May 10 - 05:54 PM
Jim Dixon 13 May 10 - 06:29 PM
GUEST 19 Sep 16 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 20 Sep 16 - 06:15 AM
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Subject: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: Haruo
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 05:17 PM

I was just trying to search the Digitrad for this, using "kinsman", and got nowhere because the text in the DT has "pinsman".

My source Kanto de Fraulineto has kinsman; which is more "authentic"? For that matter, what is a pinsman — a hardware merchant to seamsters, or a bowling alley attendant, or what?

Liland


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 06:18 PM

The only Irish version I have to hand says "kinsman".

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: Abby Sale
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 06:41 PM

try "OLD MAID SONG" but the Scottish one is better


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: Abby Sale
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 06:43 PM

The Scots one is OLD MAID IN THE GARRET


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 06:56 PM

Versions going back to 1636 are found under "Old Maid's Complaint" in the Scarce Songs 1 file on my website (www.erols.com/olsonw). In a version of c 1825 it's 'penman'.


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 07:09 PM

Hi, Liland - I checked Folk Song Abecedary, Collected Reprints from sing Out!, Jerry Silverman's Folk Song Encyclopedia, and The Kingston Trio Songbook. All have it as "pinsman" - not that I have any idea what a pinsman is. I would have sworn it was "kinsman," but I guess not.

Now I have a very good solution for a situation like this when there's a word in a song that's disputed and I want to be absolutely sure I sing it the right way - I mumble, so nobody knows for sure what it is I'm singing.

So, what's a pinsman?? One of you old guys like Papa Paton oughta know that.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: Haruo
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 07:15 PM

The Kingston Trio Place website which I was just referred to in another thread has "pins man" (2 words). For what it's worth.

Liland


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: MartinRyan
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 07:20 PM

Looks like pinsman is a corruption of penman? In a way, its the juxtaposition with "landsman" that puzzles.

regards


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 07:20 PM

Presumably, a pinsman is on who makes and/or sells pins---a less-than trivial pursuit prior to the Industrial Revolution. I can't see an Irish spinster seeking the affections of a kinsman.


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: Susan of DT
Date: 09 Oct 00 - 09:57 PM

Would a pinsman be a pedlar? They sold pins.

a search for oldmaid* yields 13 songs, many are variants of this song, some from old bachelors, etc.


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Subject: RE: Lyric Query: Old Maid Song
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 00 - 07:45 AM

The term *Tinman* has been used in the past as a term describing a ship which hauled ore used in the production of tin. Possibly the term could be extended to a sailor who customarily sailed on such a vessel.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 10 - 12:21 AM

I learned this as The Old Maid Song in the 60's when I was working at The ice House in Pasadena, CA.

I learned "come a landsman, a tinsman, a tinker or a tailor
A landsman would be a farmer- a tinsman, a tinsmith who worked the metal that was so common back then. A tinker was a peddler and a tailor was a tailor.
The chorus finished: "A rich man, a poor man, a fool or a witty
Please don't let me die an old maid, but take me out of pity."

The verses were:
" I had a sister Sally who was younger than I am
Had so many sweethearts she had to deny them
But as for my part, I've never had many
If you only knew my heart, I'd be thankful for any
CHORUS
I had a sister Susie who was ugly and ill-shapen'
Before she was sixteen, why she was a-taken'
Before she was eighteen, a son and a daughter
Here am I at six and forty, and never an offer
CHORUS
I never will be scoldin' - I never will be jealous
My husband will have money to go down to the ale house
While he's there a-spendin', I'll be home a-savin'
And I leave it to the world, if I'm not worth havin'
CHORUS


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE OLD MAID'S SONG (trad. Kentucky)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 May 10 - 04:10 PM

From Lonesome Tunes: Folk Songs from the Kentucky Mountains by Loraine Wyman (New York: The H. W. Gray Company, 1916), page 65:

THE OLD MAID'S SONG.
(Pulaski County, Kentucky)

1. I had a sister Sally that was younger than I am.
She had so many sweethearts she was forced to deny them;
But as for my own part, I never had many.
If you all knew my heart, I'd be thankful for any.

CHORUS: Come a landsman, a pinsman, a tinker or a tailor,
A fiddler or a dancer, a ploughboy or a sailor,
A gentleman or a poor man, a fool or a witty,
Don't you let me die an old maid, but take me out of pity.

2. I had a sister Susan that was ugly and ill-shapen.
Before she was sixteen years old, she was taken.
Before she was eighteen, a son and a daughter.
Here I'm six-and-forty and never had an offer.

3. I never will be scolding and I never will be jealous.
My husband shall have money to go to the alehouse,
And while he's there spending, I will be home saving,
And I leave it to the world if I'm not worth the having.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 May 10 - 05:33 PM

The OED has no "pinsman".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 May 10 - 05:50 PM

Misheard tinsman or more likely penman, as posted by Bruce O.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WOOING MAID (from Roxburghe Coll.)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 May 10 - 05:54 PM

From The Roxburghe Ballads, Volume 3, by William Chappell (Hertford: The Ballad Society, 1880), page 52:

THE WOOING MAID.

This is another of Martin Parker's ballads, of which so many are now to be found only in the Roxburghe Collection. No other copy of the following seems to be traceable elsewhere. The facility and the rhythmical flow of Martin Parker's metres made him the most popular ballad-writer of his time, and perhaps of his century.

(Roxb. Coll. I. 452, 453.)

The Wooing Maid;
Or,
A faire maid neglected,
Forlorne and rejected,
That would be respected:
Which to have effected,
This generall summon
She sendeth in common;
Come tinker, come broomman:
She will refuse no man.


TO THE TUNE OF If 'be the dad on't.

[1] I am a faire maid, if my glasse doe not flatter,
Yet, by the effects, I can find no such matter;
For every one else can have suters great plenty;
Most marry at fourteene, but I am past twenty.

[CHORUS]Come gentle, come simple, come foolish, come witty,
Oh! if you lack a maid, take me for pitty.


[2] I see by experience—which makes me to wonder—
That many have sweethearts at fifteene, and under,
And if they passe sixteen, they think their time wasted;
O what shall become of me? I am out-casted:

[3] I use all the motives my sex will permit me,
To put men in mind, that they may not forget me:
Nay, sometimes I set my commission o' th' tenters,
Yet let me doe what I will, never a man venters. [ventures]

[4] When I goe to weddings, or such merry meetings,
I see other maids how they toy with their sweetings,
But I sit alone, like an abject forsaken;
Woe's me! for a husband what course shall be taken?

[5] When others to dancing are courteously chosen,
I am the last taken among the halfe dozen,
And yet among twenty not one can excell me;
What shall I do in this case? some good man tell me.

The second part.
To the same tune.

[6] 'Tis said that one wedding produceth another—
This I have heard told by my father and mother—
Before one shall scape me, Ile goe without bidding;
O that I could find out some fortunate wedding!

[7] Sure I am unfortunate, of all my kindred,
Else could not my happinesse be so long hindred:
My mother at eighteene had two sons and a daughter,
And I'm one and twenty, not worth looking after.

[8] My sister, that's nothing so handsome as I am,
Had sixe or seven suters, and she did deny them;
Yet she before sixteene was luckily marry'd:
O Fates! why are things so unequally carry'd?

[9] My kinswoman Sisly, in all parts mis-shapen,
Yet she on a husband by fortune did happen
Before she was nineteene years old, at the furthest;
Among all my linage am I the unworthiest?

[10] There are almost forty, both poorer and yonger,
Within few yeares marry'd, yet I must stay longer,
Within foure miles compasse—O is't not a wonder?
Scant none above twenty, some sixteene, some under.

[11] I hold my selfe equall with most in the parish
For feature, for parts, and what chiefly doth cherish
The fire of affection, which is store of money;
And yet there is no man will set love upon me.

[12] Who ever he be that will ease my affliction,
And cast upon me an auspicious affection,
Shall find me [so] tractable still to content him,
That he of his bargaine shall never repent him.

[13] Ile neither be given to scold nor be jealous,
He nere shall want money to drink with good fellows:
While he spends abroad, I at home will be saving,
Now judge, am not I a lasse well worth the having?

[14] Let none be offended, nor say I'm uncivill,
For I needs must have one, be he good or evill:
Nay, rather then faile, Ile have a tinker or broomman,
A pedler, an inkman, a matman, or some man.

[CHORUS]Come gentle, come simple, come foolish, come witty,
O let me not die a maid, take me for pitty.


FINIS.

M. P.
Printed at London for Thomas Lambert, at the signe of the Hors-shoo in Smithfield.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 May 10 - 06:29 PM

From Stirring Incidents in the Life of a British Soldier: An Autobiography by Thomas Faughnan (Picton, Ont.: T. Faughnan, 1891, 1879), page 280:
    Barry-down-derry Castle,
    County Clare, Ireland, Nov. 10th, 1854.

    To Timothy Doolan,
    afore Sebastopol.

    Dear Son,—I take up my pin in haste for fear ye'd be kilt or wounded by thim thievin' Rooshans, afore this letther reaches ye.... Seein' that my latther end is drawin' near, I have secured the aforesaid Jim McManus, the best pinsman in the parish, though 'tis I that says it meself, to dhraw out my will afore I depart this mortal life....
In this text I think it is clear that "pin" is a dialectical pronunciation of "pen" and that the "best pinsman in the parish" is the person with the best penmanship.

However, this spelling is very, very rare and perhaps unique to this book.

"Pensman" however is much more common, e.g. in this transcript of testimony from 1877:
    Q. Can you read and write?
    A. I can read my own name, sir.
    Q. Can you write your own name?
    A. Yes, sir.
    Q. Can you write aside from being able to write your own name?
    A. I don't claim myself to be much of a pensman....
    Q. I am not asking you whether you are a good pensman. I am a miserable pensman myself. Can you write anything other than your own name? ....
So it is clear that both literate and illiterate people knew the word.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 16 - 05:44 PM

The way I learned the song is that it is a Tinsman, not a pinsman. A Tinsman is a person who works with tin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Maid Song / Old Maid's Song
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 20 Sep 16 - 06:15 AM

I am a great believer in the assertion that people who are singing ordinarily know what they are saying. (The exceptions are few and notable.)

A pinsman, in the OED or not, I think we may take as a seller or maker of pins. Pins used to be very scarce before they were mass-produced, and itinerant salesman of these and other simple goods (needles and thread, for instance) roved the rural landscape, welcomed by housewives who needed such things. Little girls (and boys?) also sold cards of pins on the streets in cities.

Needles and pins, needles and pins ...

I think "pinsman" is literally correct.

Bob


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