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Origins: Serving Girl's Holiday

LaMarca 25 Aug 97 - 09:59 AM
LaMarca 10 Sep 97 - 06:41 PM
Bruce 10 Sep 97 - 07:18 PM
Bruce 11 Sep 97 - 12:30 PM
Bert. 11 Sep 97 - 01:35 PM
Bruce 11 Sep 97 - 03:29 PM
Bruce 11 Sep 97 - 05:41 PM
LaMarca 12 Sep 97 - 10:19 AM
MMario 06 Feb 01 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 17 Apr 01 - 11:28 PM
GUEST,Sarahbyrdd 18 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM
Noreen 02 Jul 14 - 08:33 PM
Noreen 02 Jul 14 - 08:51 PM
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Subject: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: LaMarca
Date: 25 Aug 97 - 09:59 AM

I'm looking for a written source or background info for "Serving Girl's Holiday".. I learned the song from a Maddy Prior and Tim Hart record, but they had no liner notes about the songs and where they came from. The first verse goes:

I've waited longing for this day,
Spindle, bobbin and spool, away,
memory lapse here,
For it is our holiday

    Spindle, bobbin and spool, away
    What joy that it's our holiday!


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Subject: Lyr Add: SERVING GIRL'S HOLIDAY
From: LaMarca
Date: 10 Sep 97 - 06:41 PM

Oh, good - since I see that Bruce, the possessor and reference librarian of all obscure folk reference works in our area is now a regular, I will re-post this to the top and hope that maybe he (or someone else new) has the info I'm looking for. The words I have for this song are:

SERVING GIRL'S HOLIDAY

I've waited longing for today,
Spindle, bobbin and spool away,
In joy and bliss I'm off to play
On this high holiday

Chorus:

    Spindle, bobbin and spool away
    What joy that it's a holiday!

The dirt upon the floor's unswept,
The fireplace isn't cleaned or kept,
I haven't cut the rushes, yet
Upon this high holiday.Chorus

The milk into the pails must go,
I ought to spread this bowl of dough
, It clogs my nails and fingers so
As I knead (need?...) this high holiday!Chorus

The cooking (pans? hams?) must be brought in
I'll tie my kerchief under my chin;
Darling Jack, lend me a pin
To fix me well this holiday.Chorus

And when we stop along the track
At the inn, this Sunday, Jack,
We'll whet my whistle and pay my whack
As on every holiday.Chorus

Repeat first verse and chorus

Transcribed from "Summer Solstice", Maddy Prior and Tim Hart


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: Bruce
Date: 10 Sep 97 - 07:18 PM

Sorry Mary, but I've never seen it before. Nice though.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SERVING MAID'S HOLIDAY
From: Bruce
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 12:30 PM

Looks like a reworking of the following. The earlier serving-maid had a more adventurous holiday.

Rossell Hope Robins, Secular Lyrics of the 14th and 15th Century
[thorns expanded to 'th' and yogh to 'gh' or 'z']

29.  The Serving Maid's Holiday
   Caius Coll. Cambridge MS. 383

[Chorus] Wybbe ne rele ne sypyyn yc ne may
     ffor ioyze that it is holyday

Al this day ic han sought,
  spyndul ne werue ne wond y nought;
To myche blisse ic am brout
  azen this holyday.
        Wybbe &c.

All vnswope ys owre vleth,
& owre fyre ys vnleth,
Oure ruschen ben vnrepe zeth,
  azen this hy halyday.

ye moste feschun worton In;
thredele my kerchef vndur my khyn;
leue iakke, lend me a pyn
  To thredele me this holiday.

Now yt draweth to the none
& al my cherrus ben vndone;
y moste a lyte solas mye schone
  to make hem dowge this holyday.

y most mylkin in his payl;
Outh me bred al this schayl,
zut is the dow vndur myy nayl
  as ic knad this holyday.

Iakke wol brynge me onward in my wey,
Wyth me desyre for te pleyze;
Of my dame stant me non eyze
  an neuer a god haliday

Iacke wol pay for my scoth
a sonday atte the ale-schoth;
iacke wol sowse wel my troth
  eury god haliday.

sone he wolle take me be the hand,
& he wolle legge me on the lond,
that al my buttockus ben of sond,
opon this hye holyday.

In he pult & out he drow,
& euer yc lay on hym y-low;
'by godus deth, thou dest me wow
vpon this hey holyday!'

sone my wombe began to swelle
as greth as a belle;
durst y nat my dame telle
  Wat me betydde this holyday.


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: Bert.
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 01:35 PM

You're giving away your age there Bruce.


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: Bruce
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 03:29 PM

This is difficult enough without my misspelling, let's try again.

Rossell Hope Robbins, Secular Lyrics of the 14th and 15th Century

[thorns given as cap. P, and yoghs as cap. Z]

29. The Serving Maid's Holiday
Caius Coll. Cambridge MS. 383

[Chorus] Wybbe ne rele ne spynne yc ne may.
ffor ioyZe Pat it is holyday.

Al Pis day ic han souZt,
spyndul ne werue ne wond y nouZt;
To myche blisse ic am brout
aZen this holyday.
Wybbe &c.

All vnswope ys owre vleth,
& owre fyre ys vnleth,
Oure ruschen ben vnrepe Zeth,
azen Pis hy halyday.

yc moste feschun worton In;
Predele my kerchef vndur my khyn;
leue iakke, lend me a pyn
To Predele me Pis holiday.

Now yt draweP to Pe none
& al my cherrus ben vndone;
y moste a lyte solas mye schone
to make hem dowge Pis holyday.

y moste mylkyn in Pis payl;
Outh me bred al Pis schayl
Zut is Pe dow vndur my nayl
as ic knad Pis holyday.

Iakke wol brynge me onward in my wey,
WyP me desyre for te pleyZe;
Of my dame stant me non eyZe

an neuer a god haliday.

Iacke wol pay for my scoth
a sonday atte Pe ale-schoth;

iacke wol sowse wel my Proth

euery god haliday.

sone he wolle take me be Pe hand,
& he wolle legge me on Pe lond,
Pat al my buttockus ben of sond,
opon Pis hye holyday.

In he pult & out he drow,
& euer yc lay on hym y-low;
'by godus deth, Pou dest me wow
vpon Pis hey holyday!'

sone my wombe began to swelle
as greth as a belle;
durst y nat my dame telle
Wat me betydde Pis holyday.

[Note: Robbins corrected some words spelled incorrectly in the MS. In his notes Robbins translates 'Outh me bred al Pis schayl' as 'I ought to spread out all this bowl [full of dough].']


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: Bruce
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 05:41 PM

Bert, the trouble with getting old is you can't remember half the words and can't spell the other half, and you're too old to learn how to do html right.


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: LaMarca
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 10:19 AM

Thank you, Bruce! Any Old or Middle English scholars out there who could attempt a translation for me? I particularly like the line that seems to say:

"By God's Death, thou didst me WOW!"

Some holiday, eh?


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: MMario
Date: 06 Feb 01 - 04:27 PM

while searching for this I found out that it is sung to the tune of "orientus partibus"


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Subject: RE: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 17 Apr 01 - 11:28 PM

refresh for women's bawdy songs, Apr 17, 2001


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Subject: RE: Origins: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: GUEST,Sarahbyrdd
Date: 18 Jan 12 - 04:36 PM

Is there any evidence for the middle English version using the "Orientis Partibus" melody like the modern English version does?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: Noreen
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 08:33 PM

Unlikely, Sarahbuyrdd (if you're still around, 2 years later!)

Maddy Prior is quoted as saying:
I found this poem in a book that I suspect had a translation from Middle English of The Serving Maid's Holiday from Rossell Hope Robbins, Secular Lyrics of the 14th and 15th Century. I set it to the tune of Orientus Partibus which I heard on a David Munroe album.
(Liner notes for 2012 CD "3 for Joy" Maddy Prior with Hannah James and Giles Lewin.)


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Subject: LYR ADD: Serving Girl's Holiday
From: Noreen
Date: 02 Jul 14 - 08:51 PM

SERVING GIRL'S HOLIDAY

I've waited longing for today:
Spindle, bobbin, and spool, away!
In joy and bliss I'm off to play
Upon this high holiday.

Spindle, bobbin, and spool, away,
For joy that it's a holiday!

The dirt upon the floor's unswept,
The fireplace isn't cleaned and kept,
I haven't cut the rushes yet
Upon this high holiday.

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

The cooking herbs I must fetch in,
And fix my kerchief under my chin.
Darling Jack, lend me a pin
To fix me well this holiday!

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

Now midday has almost come,
And all my chores are still not done
I'll clean my shoes till they become
Bright for a high holiday.

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

In pails the milk has got to go;
I ought to spread this bowl of dough -
It clogs my nails and fingers so
As I knead this holiday!

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

Jack will take me on my way,
And with me he will want to play:
I needn't fear my lady's nay
On such a high holiday!

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

And when we stop beside the track
At the inn this Sunday, Jack
Will wet my whistle and pay my whack
As on every holiday.

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

Then he'll take me by the hand
And lay me down upon the land
And make my buttocks feel like sand
Upon this high holiday.

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

In he'll push and out he'll go,
With me beneath him lying low:
'By God's death, you do me woe
Upon this high holiday.'

Spindle, bobbin, etc.

Soon my belly began to swell
As round and great as any bell;
And to my dame I dared not tell
What happened to me that holiday.

Spindle, bobbin, and spool, away,
For joy that it's a holiday!

No. 58 in
Medieval English Verse (Penguin) Copyright Brian Stone, 1964, 1971


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Mudcat time: 24 September 11:19 PM EDT

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