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Lyr Add: Nicol o' Cod (David Herd's manuscripts)

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Bruce O. 14 Feb 98 - 12:10 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: NICOL O' COD (David Herd's manuscripts)
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Feb 98 - 12:10 PM

I can't find a version of this in DT, but maybe I just didn't guess right on what to look for.

Nicol o' Cod

1. "Whan'll we be marry'd,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"We'll be marry'd o' Monday,
An' is na the reason gude?"
"Will we be marry'd nae sooner,
My own dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"Wad ye be marry'd o' Sunday
I think the auld runt be gane mad."

2. "Whae'll we hae at the wadding,
My own dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"We'll hae father and mother,
An' is na the reason gude?"
"Will we na hae nae mae,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"Wad ye hae a' the hail warld?
I think the auld runt be gane mad."

3. "What'll we hae to the wadding,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"We'll hae cheese and bread,
An' is na the reason gude?"
"Will we na hae na mae,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"Wad ye hae sack and canary?
I think the auld runt be gane mad."

4. "Whan'll we gang to our bed,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"We'll gang whan other folk gang,
An' is na the reason gude?"
"Will we na gang nae sooner,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"Wad ye gang at the sunsetting?
I think the auld runt be gane mad."

5. "What will we do i' our bed,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"We will kiss and clap,
An' is na the reason gude?"
"Will we na do nae mae,
My ain dear Nicol o' Cod?"
"Wad ye do't a' the night o’er?
I think the auld runt be gane mad."

The text above is from Hans Hecht's 'Songs from David Herd's Manuscripts', 1904. The actual manuscripts date about 1776. This version of the song appears to be the earliest extant text of a ballad entered in the Stationers' Register as "Nicoll a Cod" on June 1, 1629. The burden line, "My own sweet Nicol a Cod" was quoted a few times in the 17th century. Martin Parker in 'The Legend of Leonard Lackwit', 1633, listed "Nichole-a-Cod" among those ballads of which he knew not the author. The tune "Nichol o Cod" was called for an a late 17th century broadside ballad, "Joan's Victory Over Her Fellow Servants".

American versions of this song include "The Mountaineer's Courtship/ Buffalo Boy". It is said to have been sung by the Hutchinson Family of singers in the 19th century.

J. O. Halliwell-Phillips in 'The Nursery Rhymes of England', 1846, gives another version, untitled:

When shall we be married,
My dear Nicholas Wood?
We will be married on Monday,
And will not that be very good?
What, shall we be married no sooner?
Why sure the man's gone wood!

What shall we have for our dinner,
My dear Nicholas Wood?
We will have bacon and pudding,
And will not that be very good?
What, shall we have nothing more?
Why sure the man's gone wood!

Who shall we have at our wedding,
My dear Nicholas Wood?
We will have mammy and daddy,
And will that not be very good?
What, whall we have nobody else?
Why sure the man's gone wood!

[Nicol o Cod is here confused with Nicholas Wood, the Great Glutton of Kent. For a ballad on Wood by Richard Climsell, 1630, see 'The Pepys Ballads', I, p.72, 1987, or with notes, H. E. Rollins' 'A Pepysian Garland', p. 342, 1922.]

Additional texts:
My Old Sweet Nicol: 'Journal of the Folksong Society'< #35, p. 257, 1931.
When shall We get Married: A. Williams, 'Folksongs of the Upper Thames', p. 168, 1923.
John and Mary: Roy Palmer, 'Songs of the Midlands', p. 41, 1972. (see recording below)
The Country Courtship: P. Kennedy's 'Folksongs of Britain and Ireland', #127, 1975(GB), 1984(US)
When shall we get Married: J. Reeves, 'The Idiom of the People', #110, 1958. (Nickety Nod or Nickledy Cod) with note of other versions in Cecil Sharp's MSS)
When shall we get married, John: Fred Hamer's 'Garners Gay' p. 30, 1968.

Recordings:
Mountaineer's Courtship: Mr. and Mrs. Ernest V. Stoneman, Folkways FA 2953.
When shall we get married, John: Julie West and Roy Palmer, Topic 12TS210.p>

I'm sure my list of references is nowhere near complete. I heard the song once at a craft festival sung by a teacher (Betty Smith?) who said she learned it from pupils in the school at which she taught.


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