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Origin: The Butcher Boy / Butcher's Boy

DigiTrad:
BUTCHER'S BOY
DIED FOR LOVE
THERE IS A TAVERN IN THE TOWN


Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Req: The Butcher Boy - I Dies For Love (17)
Lyr Req: Tarrytown / Wild Goose Grasses (Allison) (16)
Lyr Add: A Soldier Boy (6)
Lyr Req: The Butcher boy (10)
Lyr/Tune Req: Butcher Boy & others (9) (closed)


Linda Cee 29 Sep 97 - 05:44 PM
Shula 29 Sep 97 - 05:47 PM
Shula 29 Sep 97 - 05:57 PM
Joe Offer 29 Sep 97 - 07:07 PM
Frank Phillips 30 Sep 97 - 12:22 AM
Alice 30 Sep 97 - 01:42 AM
Ralph BUtts 30 Sep 97 - 07:48 AM
Martin Ryan 30 Sep 97 - 09:00 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 30 Sep 97 - 07:17 PM
krsassan@unity.ncsu.edu 03 Sep 99 - 12:12 PM
Wolfgang 03 Sep 99 - 12:15 PM
Wolfgang 03 Sep 99 - 12:19 PM
Wolfgang 03 Sep 99 - 12:31 PM
John Hindsill 03 Sep 99 - 12:54 PM
Origin? 03 Sep 99 - 06:30 PM
krsassano@unity.ncsu.edu 03 Sep 99 - 06:33 PM
Hutzul 03 Sep 99 - 07:48 PM
Joe Offer 04 Sep 99 - 03:33 AM
02 Dec 99 - 05:48 AM
George@george.prestel.co.uk 02 Dec 99 - 06:22 AM
InOBU 02 Dec 99 - 09:42 AM
02 Dec 99 - 02:20 PM
GUEST,ginnee 23 Aug 04 - 09:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Aug 04 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Ron W. 24 Nov 05 - 04:10 AM
toadfrog 21 Dec 05 - 02:58 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Dec 05 - 03:58 AM
toadfrog 21 Dec 05 - 11:21 PM
GUEST 14 Feb 11 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,mg 14 Feb 11 - 10:08 PM
GUEST,mg 14 Feb 11 - 10:54 PM
Tradsinger 15 Feb 11 - 05:49 AM
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Subject: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Linda Cee
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 05:44 PM

Heard from Joe Offer that Alice of Montana had previously provided info about this lovely folk song. I am most interested in knowing its origin; I heard it in Newfoundland in the '70's but I don't know if is Newfoundland or Irish.


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Shula
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 05:47 PM

Dear Linda,
Look in the thread with the title, "Woman's Song Circle," and click on the first entry under the name, Alice. Hope this helps.
Shula

Thread #2801   Message #13356
Posted By: Alice
27-Sep-97 - 09:01 PM
Thread Name: Women's Song Circle
Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUTCHER BOY

I thought this would be in the DT, but I just looked under courting and suicide as well as other searches and didn't find it. Here you are:

THE BUTCHER BOY

In London City, where I did dwell,
A butcher boy I loved right well.
He courted me my life away,
And now with me he will not stay.

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain,
I wish I was a maid again.
A maid again, I'll never be,
Til cherries grow on an ivy tree.

I wish my baby it was born,
And smiling on his daddy's knee,
And me, poor girl, to be dead and gone,
With the long, green grass growin' over me.

She went upstairs to go to bed,
And calling down to her mother said,
"Give me a chair til I sit down,
And a pen and ink til I write down."

At every word she dropped a tear,
And every line cried, " Willie, dear,
Oh, what a foolish girl was I,
To be led astray by a butcher boy."

He went upstairs and broke the door,
And found her hanging from a rope.
He took his knife and he cut her down,
And in her pocket these words he found.

"Oh, make my grave large, wide, and deep.
Put a marble stone at my head and feet.
And in the middle, a turtledove,
That the world my know I died of [for] love.

Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Shula
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 05:57 PM

Dear Linda Cee,

Think I see your problem. Check same thread, entry by "Alice" on Sept. 27, 9:01 P.M. It is her most recent entry to date.

Shula


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Sep 97 - 07:07 PM

Shula - I got the lyrics to Linda by e-mail since they had already been posted. She's looking for history and background of the song, I think. I haven't been able to find that, but I did find a long list of recordings of "Butcher Boy." Linda, check at this URL:
http://milton.mse.jhu.edu:8001/research/folkindex/ I don't know which of these recordings are still available, but I do know that you can still get any album ever issued on the Folkways label from Smithsonian Folkways - and now you can get it in CD format for twenty bucks a crack.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Frank Phillips
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 12:22 AM

The Clancy Brother's Irish songbook says it is "a variant of the widely known Gosport Tragedy." There is a reference to the Gosport Tragedy in the DT entry for Ship's Carpenter which says it was a garland(?) published in London ca. 1750.

One of the many printings of Soodlums Irish ballads claims it is "a simple ballad of English origin".

I don't have a detailed enough map of the British Isles to locate Gosport.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Alice
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 01:42 AM

Linda, I made several posts on the Women's Song Circle referring to The Butcher Boy, starting on Sept.27, and including one I just posted tonight. Alice in Montana


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Ralph BUtts
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 07:48 AM

Frank....Gosport is on the English Channel, just east of Southampton, directly opposite the Isle of Wight....Tiger


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 09:00 AM

Frank

"garland" in this context is a set of ballad sheets published together.

(There - that's set it up nicely for someone to give a more exact answer!)

regards


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Subject: RE: Butcher Boy - Irish song
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 30 Sep 97 - 07:17 PM

A close relation is The Railroad Boy, which I am listening to as I type this. Joan Baez, Ballad Book Vol. 2.


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Subject: Butcher('s) Boy
From: krsassan@unity.ncsu.edu
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:12 PM

I am looking for the lyrics of the Butcher('s) Boy. It is folk song done in the 50s or 60s. I'm not sure who sings it, although I did get partial lyrics for what may be it by Ben Rice. I'm not sure if it is played in the movie with the same title or not. They do play a song in the beginning (the mother plays it on the record player), which may be it. Any info would be greatly appreciated. A midi or wav file would be awesome. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:15 PM

this perhaps?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:19 PM

Joe , you're still the champ. This three minute barrier will stand until I happen to have on the other window exactly what someone is asking for, a most unlikely occurence.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:31 PM

Well, I see now, I could have sent you someplace nearer, to the digitrad database: BUTCHER'S BOY. This great folksong collection has also the tune of this song.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: John Hindsill
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 12:54 PM

Americanized versions of this song:

"Wild Goose Grasses" - The Weavers, on various of their records and re-releases.
"Tarrytown" - Pete Seeger, on his Carnegie Hall Concert album.

Neither of these songs are as long and rich as the version linked above, but fun. The Kingston Trio used the basic tune for "When I Was Young," a sappy, not so tragic story.

Also, Tommy Makem has a wonderful version of "The Butcher Boy" on his album, 'The Bard of Armagh.'---John


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: Origin?
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 06:30 PM

Does anyone know the song's origin, country of origin, or anything else about it. Is it public domain? I searched the Library of Congress and it seems to be attributed to Ben Rice.


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: krsassano@unity.ncsu.edu
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 06:33 PM

I wanted the info on the Buthcher's Boy origin.


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: Hutzul
Date: 03 Sep 99 - 07:48 PM

There was a rendition on an Irish Rovers album sung to the tune I know as Butchers Boy. But it's called "My Boy Willie" Tells the tale of a young man who goes to sea wearing a special coat. After a time, his girlfriend goes to look for him Oh Father Dear, build me a boat "That on the ocean, I might float" She asks after him on every ship she passes, and is finally told a guy with that coat drown (of course)

This was a "party piece" for one of the Ir. Rovers, meaning at a family gathering, no one else would have the poor manners to sing it before your turn. Anyone want all the lyrics? I have them somewhere


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Subject: RE: Butcher('s) Boy
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Sep 99 - 03:33 AM

Here's what I found in Folk Songs of Old New England (Eloise Hubbard Linscott, 1939):
the song is widely current in many forms in the United States and Britain. It is said to have originated in Essex County, England. In its earlier form, it goes back to the seventeenth century, when the heartaches of milkmen and similar humble characters enjoyed more than a passing vogue. The original hero was probably a sailor instead of a butcher boy.
The song that we know as "There Is a Tavern in the Town" is derived from it, for although the melody only faintly resembles this English tune, the theme of the ballad has remained the same.
Other sources I checked said more-or-less the same thing, and noted that there are many variations and settings and titles for the song.
Click for a previous thread on this song.
You'll also find some interesting information by searching the Traditional Ballad Index (click) for Butcher Boy. -Joe Offer-

Butcher Boy, The [Laws P24]

DESCRIPTION: The butcher boy has "courted [the girl's] life away," but now has left her (for a richer girl?). She writes a letter expressing her grief, then hangs herself. Her father finds her body and the note asking that her grave show that she died for love
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1865 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 18(72))
KEYWORDS: seduction suicide pregnancy betrayal abandonment
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Australia
REFERENCES (42 citations):
Laws P24, "The Butcher Boy"
Belden, pp. 201-207, "The Butcher Boy" (3 texts plus excerpts from 2 more and references to 3 more, 3 tunes); see also pp. 478-480, "The Blue-Eyed Boy" (4 texts, though "D" is a fragment, probably of "Tavern in the Town" or "The Butcher Boy" or some such)
Randolph 45, "The Butcher Boy" (4 texts plus 4 excerpts, 2 tunes)
Eddy 41, "The Butcher Boy" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Gardner/Chickering 37, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text plus 2 excerpts and mention of 4 more, 2 tunes); also 25, "The Sailor Boy" (1 short text; the first 6 lines are "The Sailor Boy" [Laws K12]; the last twelve are perhaps "The Butcher Boy")
Peters, p. 204, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Stout 26, pp. 37-41, "The Butcher Boy" (4 texts pus 5 fragments)
Neely, pp. 145-149, "The Butcher Boy" (4 texts, 1 tune)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 115-116, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Linscott, pp. 179-181, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach, pp. 737-738, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text)
BrownII 81, "The Butcher Boy" (6 texts plus 5 excerpts and mention of 3 others)
BrownSchinhanIV 81, "The Butcher Boy" (3 excerpts, 3 tunes)
BrownIII 254, "Little Sparrow" (4 texts plus 1 excerpt and 1 fragment; the "F" text, however, is primarily "The Butcher Boy" or an "I Wish I Wish" piece of some sort)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 282-288, "The Butcher Boy" (8 texts, with local titles "The Butcher Boy" (a single stanza), "Butcher Boy," "The Butcher Boy," "Jersey City," (E has no title and is a single-sentence fragment about Polly Perkins), "In Johnson City" (this short might be "Tavern in the Town" or similar), "Butcher's Boy," "The Girl Who Died For Love" (this version too might be a simple "Died for Love" piece); 3 tunes on pp. 431-433)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 173-174, "I Am A Rambling Rowdy Boy" (1 text, which opens with a stanza from some sort of rambling man song but then becomes a standard, if short, "Butcher Boy" version)
Brewster 34, "The Butcher's Boy" (3 texts plus mention of 6 more)
SharpAp 101, "The Brisk Young Lover" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Friedman, p. 110, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text)
Hudson 45, pp. 160-161, "The Butcher's Boy" (1 text plus mention of 11 more)
Boswell/Wolfe 21, pp. 40-42, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner 86, "A Rude and Rambling Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Shellans, p. 28, "The Farmer's Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 267-268, "The Maiden's Prayer" (1 text, 1 tune, with an unusual introduction in which the false lover is a soldier)
Sandburg, p. 324, "Go Bring Me Back My Blue-Eyed Boy" and "London City" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 230-231, "In Sheffield Park" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 339, "In Sheffield Park" (1 text)
Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 28 "The Butcher's Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 160, "In Sheffield Park" (1 text plus a second in the notes, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 60-62, "Snow Dove" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-WeepMore, pp. 128-129, "In Jersey City" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHJohnson, p. 77, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text)
LPound-ABS, 24, pp.60-62, "The Butcher's Boy" (1 text; the "B" text is "Tavern in the Town")
JHCox 145, "The Butcher Boy" (2 texts plus mention of 1 more, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 73, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 707-708, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-NovaScotia 16, "Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Mackenzie 59, "The Butcher Boy" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 139-140, "The Butcher Boy" (1 text); also pp. 141-142, "Morning Fair" (a complex text, with all sorts of floating elements, but with the final stanzas of this song)
Silber-FSWB, p. 178, "The Butcher's Boy" (1 text)
DT 320, BUTCHBOY*
ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II (1931), p. 207, "(The Butcher's Boy)" (1 fragment)

Roud #409
RECORDINGS:
Blue Sky Boys, "The Butcher's Boy" (Montgomery Ward 8668, c. 1937)
Vernon Dalhart, "The Butcher's Boy" (Perfect 12330, 1927)
Kelly Harrell, "Butcher's Boy" (Victor 19563, 1925; on KHarrell01) (Victor 20242, 1926; on KHarrell01)
Buell Kazee, "The Butcher's Boy" (Brunswick 213A, 1928; Brunswick 437, 1930; on AAFM1, KMM); "Butcher Boy" (on Kazee01)
Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson, "Go Dig My Grave (Railroad Boy)" (on RitchieWatson1, RitchieWatsonCD1)
Henry Whitter, "The Butcher Boy" (OKeh 40375, 1925)
Ephraim Woodie & the Henpecked Husbands, "The Fatal Courtship" [uses tune of "Banks of the Ohio"] (Columbia 15564-D, 1930; rec. 1929; on LostProv1)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 18(72), "The Butcher Boy" ("In Jersey city where I did dwell"), H. De Marsan (New York), 1861-1864; also Harding B 18(71), "The Butcher Boy"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "My Blue-Eyed Boy" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "Must I Go Bound" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "The Sailor Boy (I)" [Laws K12] (lyrics)
cf. "Died for Love (I)"
cf. "Tavern in the Town"
cf. "Love Has Brought Me to Despair" [Laws P25] (lyrics)
cf. "Waly Waly (The Water is Wide)"
cf. "Careless Love" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Ye Mariners All" (tune)
cf. "Dink's Song" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Every Night When the Sun Goes In" (lyrics, plot)
cf. "Farewell, Sweetheart (The Parting Lovers, The Slighted Sweetheart)" (lyrics)
cf. "Beam of Oak" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Jersey City
The Wild Goose Grasses
NOTES: Most scholars hold that this song is a combination of two others (Randolph follows Cox in claiming *four*). The primary evidence is the shift in narrative style: The first part of the ballad is in first person, the rest (affiliated with "There is an Alehouse in Yonder Town/Tavern in the Town") is in the third person. Leach, on the other hand, considers it to be a single song of American origin. Given the extreme variations in the form of this ballad (e.g. a significant number of versions omit the fact that the butcher boy left to marry a richer girl; some of the most poignant imply that the butcher boy rather than the father found her body) and the amount of floating material it contains, any theories of dependence must be examined carefully.
The two songs, "My Blue-Eyed Boy" and "Must I Go Bound," are clearly related (probably decayed offshoots of this song), now so damaged as to force separate listing. But there are, as so often, intermediate versions; one should check the references for those songs.
"Died for Love (I)" is perhaps a worn-down fragment of this piece, consisting of the lament without the suicide. Similarly the Brown collection's piece "My Little Dear, So Fare You Well."
MacColl and Seeger have classified related texts under fully seven heads:
* "Deep in Love," corresponding roughly to "Must I Go Bound" in the Ballad Index. Generally lyric.
* The Butcher Boy. Characterized by the story of betrayal and eventual suicide (informal translation: If the girl kills herself, file the song here no matter *what* the rest of it looks like. If she dies but doesn't kill herself, it's something else, perhaps "Died for Love (I)"). If there is a core to this family, this is it.
* Love Has Brought Me To Despair. (Laws P25). This shares lyrics with this family, notably those concerning the girl's burial, but has a slighly distinct plot.
* Waly Waly/The Water Is Wide. Related primarily by theme, it seems to me.
* The Tavern in the Town. Shares lyrics, but a distinct song (or at least recension) by our standards.
* Careless Love. Clearly distinct.
* Died for Love (I). This shares the stanzas of lamentation with "The Butcher Boy," but is distinct in that the girl is certainly pregnant (the girl in "The Butcher Boy" may be, but not all versions show this), she laments her folly, but she does *not* kill herself. It's much more lyric than "The Butcher Boy." - RBW
Broadside Bodleian Harding B 18(72): H. De Marsan dating per Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS
Last updated in version 3.2
File: LP24

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Subject: words of butcher boy
From:
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 05:48 AM

I'm looking for the words to Buthcer Boy and, before someone tells me to check forum the Buthcer Boy in that version is to the tune used for Penny Evans, mine goes something like. "A Butcher Boy, I loved right well.......he courted me my life away. and now with me he will not stay So make my grave large wide and deep, lay a marble stone at my head and feet.........The world will know I died for love


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUTCHER BOY
From: George@george.prestel.co.uk
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 06:22 AM

In Moore Street where I did dwell,
A butcher boy I loved right well.
He courted me my life away,
And now with me he will not stay.

I wish my baby he were born
And smilin' on his daddy's knee,
And my puir body to be dead and gone
And the long green grass growin' over me.

I wish, I wish, I wish in vain.
I wish I was a maid again,
But a maid again I ne'er can be
Till apples grow on an orange tree.
(Till cherries grow on an ivy tree) <-- alternate

He went upstairs and the door he broke.
He found her hanging on a rope.
He took a knife and he cut her down,
And in her pocket these words he found:

"O Dig my grave large wide and deep.
Put a marble stone at my head and feet,
And in the middle put a turtle dove,
That the world may know I died for love."

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 3-Jul-02.


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Subject: RE: words of butcher boy
From: InOBU
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 09:42 AM

There is a song, in someway related, false love and hanging, in which the wronged female gets a great old revenge, I sing it when someone sings the Butcher Boy, after she hangs herself, the wee lassie comes back and haunts the fellow, finally dragging him down to hell, it is called the dreadful ghost, and it is on an album calle d Dark Ships in the Forrest, by John Roberts and Tony Barrand...


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Subject: RE: words of butcher boy
From:
Date: 02 Dec 99 - 02:20 PM

Laws P24, in DT. See The Traditional Ballad Index in Mudcat's links for amny other versions.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUTCHER BOY
From: GUEST,ginnee
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 09:42 PM

My mother gave me the song, the Butcher Boy many years ago. My uncle had traced it back to the late 1600's England. This is the version I have.

In London City, where I did dwell,
A butcher boy I loved so well
He courted me my life away
and then with me, he would not stay

There's a house in that same town
Where he goes in and he sits down
He takes his maiden upon his knee
And he tells her things that he once told me

O papa can you tell me why
Is it cause she has more gold than I
Her gold will melt and her silver will fly
and in time of need she'll be poor as I

Must I go down and him go free
Or love a boy that don't love me
Or must I play a childish part
and love a boy that breaks my heart

I went upstairs to make my bed
But nothing to my mother said
My mother came upstairs to me
Saying what is the matter daughter dear

Oh mother mother you do not know
Its grief to me and sorrow, woe
Go get a chair to sit upon
A pen and ink to write it down

With every line she dropped a tear
While calling home her Willie dear
O Willie I beg you to come home
Don't leave me here, I'm all alone


That afternoon when her father came home
He wondered where his daughter had gone
He rushed upstairs and the door he broke
And he found her hanging from a rope

He took his knife and he cut her down
And in her note these words he found
Oh what a foolish maid am I
To kill myself for a butcher boy

So dig my grave both wide and deep
Place a marble stone at my head and feet
And on my breast place a snow white dove
To prove to the world, I died for love


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Subject: RE: lyrics and music - Butcher Boy & others
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Aug 04 - 12:12 PM

See the extended review of this group of songs in the post by Malcolm Douglas, thread 18360, 09 Jul 00, 8:52 pm. The many links give a good picture of the relationships. There are many floating verses.
The Butcher Boy first appeared in print in an American broadside, ca. 1860, and seems to be an American relation of this large group of songs.

Thread 18360 (Penguin I Wish, I Wish): Penguin

Also see the revision of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs by Malcolm, "Classic English Folk Songs," 2003, pub. English Folk Dance & Song Society, notes pp. 93-94.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUTCHER'S BOY (from Freda Reynolds)
From: GUEST,Ron W.
Date: 24 Nov 05 - 04:10 AM

My mother, although unknown, had one of the most beautiful 'A' tenor voices I've heard. Unfortunately, my father would not allow her to pursue a musical career. I was fortunate enough to learn from her some of what she learned from her grandfather. One song I learned was what I know as, 'The Butcher Boy'. She learned by ear and amateur instruction from her family and friends in a hollow called 'Kate's Run' (I believe) somewhere in W. Virginia. I must have heard her version of the song at least a thousand times, of which five hundred were by my request. She has passed away now, but I can still hear her beautiful voice wrapped around this melody and trembling with the pain she must have felt from empathy she had for the subject. The original words long lost and forgotten she did the best she could with the storyline she learned from William Whackart her grandfather. I loved the song so much I revised it to a masculine point of view so I could sing it every chance I got to those who appreciate vintage music. Searching for the original words brought me here. I am pleased that I have found what I was looking for and yet somewhat set back by the diversity of the lines compared to what I learned (and modified). And so I would like to offer my version. It's not very different from what I was taught as a child I'm now 42 and still sing this version every chance I get, although, I can not achieve what I so love to recall of My mothers melodic presence. I wish to thank any and everyone who made this possible.

Thank you and God Bless.

THE BUTCHER'S BOY, as sung by Freda Reynolds, revised

----------------
In London town, where I used to dwell,
Lived a butcher's boy and a lovely girl.
He courted her young life away
But with this girl he would not stay.

One day when her father came home,
He wondered where his daughter had gone.
He rushed upstairs and her door he broke
And found his daughter, hanging from a rope.

He took his knife and he cut her down
And in a note, these words he found:
"Oh what a silly maid am I, you know,
To kill my self for a butcher's boy.

"There is a house in this same town
Where he walks right in and sits right down.
He takes another girl on his knee
And tells her things he won't tell me.

"I pray and grieve, please tell me why.
Is it because she has more gold than I?
Her gold will melt, and her silver fly,
And in time of need, she'll be poor as I.

"Now dig my grave both wide and deep.
Place a marble stone at my head and feet,
And on my grave, a snow white dove,
To prove to the world that I died for love."

-------------
I hope the post isn't too long, and that someone will appreciate what I've done. In future, I will also add what I have discovered here. Many thanks, Ron---Ronorlynn@netins.net


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BUTCHER'S BOY (from Elizabeth Stewart
From: toadfrog
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 02:58 AM

Elizabeth Stewart sings this "Butcher's Boy," and to me it looks like a completely different song from the above. The liner notes would suggest it's all the same, but the theme is different. It also has a different feel--it is blood-chilling rather than mournful. See that penultimate Verse!

THE BUTCHER'S BOY


O my parents they gi'ed to me good learning
Good learning they gi'ed to me
They sent me to a butcher shop
A butcher's boy to be.

I fell in love with a nice young lass
She'd a dark and a roving 'ee
I promised for to marry her
If one night she would lie with me

He courted her for many a month
Six long months and mair
But another ain had ta'en his ee
And he was to despair.

For Mary Ann was wi' bairn to him
O Willie fit will I dee
For my bairn will soon be born,
So Willie marry me!

He went up to her parents' house
Twixt the hours of eight or nine
He asked her for to take a walk
Down by the riverside

They walked east and the walked west
And they walked all around
Till he took a knife from out his breast
And he stabbed her to the ground

She fell upon her bended knee
And for mercy she did cry
O Willie dear don't murder me
And leave me here to die

He took her by her milk white hand
And he dragged her on and on
until he came to a rushing stream,
and he plunged her body in.

O he went on to his mother's house,
'Tween the hours of twelve and one
'Tis little did his mother think
What her only son had done.

Well the answer she did put to him,
Why the bloodstains on your clothes
The answer that he give to her
'Twas from a bleeding nose

He asked her for a candle
For to light him up to bed
And likewise for a handkerchief
For to tie around his head.

No peace nor rest could the young man take
No peace nor rest could he find
For he thought he saw the flames of hell
Approachin' in his mind.

This man he has been taen and tried
And the gallows was his doom,
For the murdering of sweet Mary Ann
Afore that was in bloom.

JWM


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: The Butcher Boy
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 03:58 AM

Yes, it's a quite different song: a form of The Bloody Miller (many other titles, including The Wittam Miller, The Oxford -sometimes Wexford or even Waxweed- Girl, Hangèd I Shall Be, and so on). Quite a number of past discussions here deal with aspects of it, and the date and location of the original murder are known (see in particular the late Bruce Olson's comments).

Roud 263, Laws P35.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Tune Req: The Butcher Boy
From: toadfrog
Date: 21 Dec 05 - 11:21 PM

Why thanks, Malcom! I have not been around for a while, and it is inspiring to see you still hard at work.


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Butcher Boy
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 09:28 PM

its english , and is london town not dublin


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Butcher Boy
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 10:08 PM

You can go to you tube and see a most beautiful version sung by a Russian group of women...someone got the words in Russian from an old woman..it is one of my favorite you tubisms. mg


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Butcher Boy
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 10:54 PM

Anastasia Ploshkina is the director of the show and she describes the song here:
In researching their show based on Russian folk music and dance, Koleso have uncovered an extraordinary ancient and poignant link between the ordinary people of Russia and England.

Deep in the Russian countryside in a very remote village, they found a very old woman called Olga Sergeeva. After her daughter died, tragically, Olga Sergeeva never spoke another word for 10 years and then amazingly she began to sing, and sing ancient Russian songs passed down to her through the generations with a tender mellow timbre that moved any who heard it to tears. Koleso were intrigued by one of her songs, "Skagi-skagi". After much research, they found extraordinarily that this song from the remote heart of Russia was based on the English song In London City which they now include in their show."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oius1eEpghU


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Subject: RE: Origin: The Butcher Boy
From: Tradsinger
Date: 15 Feb 11 - 05:49 AM

You can check out my rendering here.

Enjoy

Tradsinger


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