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George Collins - what's it all about?

DigiTrad:
GEORGE COLLINS
GEORGE COLLINS (2)
GEORGE COLLINS (3)


Related threads:
George Collins Is Innocent! (18)
(origins) Origins: George Collins: revisited (86)
Penguin: George Collins (13)
Lyr Req: Tony Rose's George Collins (5)
Lyr Req: Shirley Collins' George Collins (10)
TUNE ADD: George Collins (3) (1)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
George Collins (3)


GUEST,pinkfiddle without a cookie 30 Nov 01 - 07:09 AM
GUEST,Paul 30 Nov 01 - 07:36 AM
GUEST 30 Nov 01 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,pinkfiddle 30 Nov 01 - 09:17 AM
GUEST,Les B 30 Nov 01 - 05:47 PM
GUEST 30 Nov 01 - 06:17 PM
Susan of DT 01 Dec 01 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,pinkfiddle 01 Dec 01 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,alternate more explicit words 14 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,sparrow@monmouth.com 14 Dec 03 - 01:18 PM
GUEST,whip 01 Oct 05 - 12:29 AM
Jenny S 14 Oct 05 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,NeilB 01 Aug 11 - 06:30 AM
RoyH (Burl) 01 Aug 11 - 08:25 AM
Paul Davenport 01 Aug 11 - 01:43 PM
Steve Gardham 01 Aug 11 - 01:55 PM
GUEST 26 Nov 12 - 08:15 PM
GUEST 26 Nov 12 - 08:18 PM
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Subject: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,pinkfiddle without a cookie
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 07:09 AM

Hello

Can anyone explain to me what this song is about? I've got a few ideas about some of it but could do with a bit of help.

GEORGE COLLINS (3)

George Collins walked out one May morning
When May was all in bloom.
There he espied a fair pretty maid
A-washing her marble stone.

She whooped, she holloed, she highered her voice,
She held up her lilywhite hand.
'Come hither to me, George Collins,' she said,
'For your life shall not last you long.'

He put his foot on the broad water side,
And over the lea sprung he.
He embraced her around the middle so small,
And kissed her red rosy

George Collins rode home to his father's own gate.
'Rise, mother, and make my bed,
And I will trouble my dear sister
For a napkin to tie around my head.

'And if I should chance to die this night,
As I suppose I shall,
Bury me under that marble stone
That's against fair Elanor's hall.'

Fair Elanor sat in her room so fine,
Working her silken skein.
She saw the fairest corpse a-coming
That ever the sun shone on.

She said unto her Irish maid:
'Whose corpse is this so fine?'
'This is George Collins' corpse a-coming,
That once was a true lover of thine.'

'Come put him down, my six pretty lads,
And open his coffin so fine,
That I may kiss his lilywhite lips,
For ten thousnad times he has kissed mine.

'You go upstairs and fetch me the sheet
That's wove with the silver twine,
And hang that over George Collins' head.
Tomorrow it shall hang over mine.'

The news was carried to London town,
And wrote on London gate,
That six pretty maids died all of one night,
And all for George Collins' sake.

Thanks

pf


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 07:36 AM

This thread provides some answers...

Paul


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 08:37 AM

Jeez, Louisa,

What with your MA in Folk Music and all, I thought you would have checked the old threads.

Too lazy or too dim?


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,pinkfiddle
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 09:17 AM

Thanks very much Paul.

GUEST - Do you have something against me or what?

I would like to point out that I am not 100% familiar with Mudcat and how it all works. I'm sorry I didn't do a search on old threads. Do you criticise everyone who posts a message on something that has already been discussed? Secondly I don't have an MA in folk music. I've got an MA in European Cultural Policy and Administration from the University of Warwick, England, and I wrote my Major Project on folk music revivals, not on what folk songs mean.

pf


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 05:47 PM

Pinkfiddle - any chance of obtaining a copy of your thesis on folk music revivals, or having it posted online ?


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Nov 01 - 06:17 PM

Les B,

We asked this before, Louisa declined.

My guess is that it isn't very good...


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 08:15 AM

There are 3 versions of George Collins in the DT, Child #85, all under the title GEorge Collins. This one posted is the most complete version, but it probably lost some verses thru the years. The other 2 versions in the DT have lost the prediction part and just have women mourning his death. He must have been popular and had several girlfriends at a time. It is unusual that the name does not change (since I don't have the right volume of Child here, I can't verify that all are named George Collins, but I think so).

Such a Pleasant anonymous guest we have here, don't we.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,pinkfiddle
Date: 01 Dec 01 - 11:19 AM

Thanks Susan

GUEST, maybe you shouldn't go around criticising other people's work that you know nothing about - your guess is wrong. Your unpleasant comments come at a time when I am 10 days away from getting my results for this part of the course.

I never declined to put my MA online - when I was asked it was the day after I had finished and I wasn't ready to have my work read by the world, nor was I in the mood to set up my own website or find another site that I could put it on.

Once I have received my mark for this piece of work I will reconsider putting it online and reinvestigate the various options.

I posted here to get some info about song I want to sing - not to be criticised once again by someone who isn't even willing to reveal to us all who he is.

Louisa


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,alternate more explicit words
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM

As remembered by George Patterson
from an album in the Knoxville public library in the '60's
one of the Childe ballads in the archives of
Folkway Recordings via Jean Ritchie

I heard George sing this (beautifully) many times and love
the song. The typical George Collins tune is very different from
the one he learned and transmitted to me.

----------------- "Young Colin" --------------

Colin came down from his fields one day
Trees and flowers were in bloom-Oh
And there he spied his own fair Ellen
She was washing a white marble stone-Oh

(something is missing here; instead of
stopping near Ellen, Colin goes down to
the sea, where he spies a Selkie or mermaid)

He called, he cried, then he changed his mind.
She called, and waved her hand-Oh
Here, come here, young Colin my dear
Your life is near at hand-Oh

He clasped around her slender waist,
Kissed both cheek and chin
Till the stars from heaven came a-tumblin' down
To the place where young Colin jumped in.

He ran till he came to his father's house,
He knocked on his father's door,
Said "Father, oh father, come let me in,
Come let me in once more."

"If I should die this very night
As I fear in my heart I will,
Bury me under that while marble stone
At the foot of fair Ellen's hill."

Fair Ellen sat in her cottage door
Sewin on silk so fine.
When there she spied his coffin a-comin
As far as her eyes could shine.

She ordered that coffin be opened right there
She gazed on his cold clay form
She took the last kiss from his cold clay lips
So often they'd kissed her before

She ordered her curtains be brought right there
And trimmed them in silk so fine
Said, "Today they'll week on young Colin's grave,
Tomorrow they'll grieve on mine."

And the news went 'round thru Dublin town
Twas printed on Dablin's gate
Six pretty fair maids did die last night
And twas for young Colin's fate.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,sparrow@monmouth.com
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 01:18 PM

Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,alternate more explicit words
Date: 14 Dec 03 - 01:16 PM

------------- I corrected a misspelled word; weep instead of week ---

As remembered by George Patterson
from an album in the Knoxville public library in the '60's
one of the Childe ballads in the archives of
Folkway Recordings via Jean Ritchie

I heard George sing this (beautifully) many times and love
the song. The typical George Collins tune is very different from
the one he learned and transmitted to me.

----------------- "Young Colin" --------------

Colin came down from his fields one day
Trees and flowers were in bloom-Oh
And there he spied his own fair Ellen
She was washing a white marble stone-Oh

(something is missing here; instead of
stopping near Ellen, Colin goes down to
the sea, where he spies a Selkie or mermaid)

He called, he cried, then he changed his mind.
She called, and waved her hand-Oh
Here, come here, young Colin my dear
Your life is near at hand-Oh

He clasped around her slender waist,
Kissed both cheek and chin
Till the stars from heaven came a-tumblin' down
To the place where young Colin jumped in.

He ran till he came to his father's house,
He knocked on his father's door,
Said "Father, oh father, come let me in,
Come let me in once more."

"If I should die this very night
As I fear in my heart I will,
Bury me under that while marble stone
At the foot of fair Ellen's hill."

Fair Ellen sat in her cottage door
Sewin on silk so fine.
When there she spied his coffin a-comin
As far as her eyes could shine.

She ordered that coffin be opened right there
She gazed on his cold clay form
She took the last kiss from his cold clay lips
So often they'd kissed her before

She ordered her curtains be brought right there
And trimmed them in silk so fine
Said, "Today they'll weep on young Colin's grave,
Tomorrow they'll grieve on mine."

And the news went 'round thru Dublin town
Twas printed on Dablin's gate
Six pretty fair maids did die last night
And twas for young Colin's fate.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,whip
Date: 01 Oct 05 - 12:29 AM

i thought it was about necrophelia


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: Jenny S
Date: 14 Oct 05 - 05:50 PM

It seems to me that a "Fair pretty maid" (Fair Eleanor herself?) put a nasty spell on him due to his womanising.

References to stone tend to indicate "magical" or supernatural occurances: She predicts that he won't survive long... then "six pretty maids died all in one night and all for George Collins's sake"

Since "the sun shone on" his corpse it appears that he was not considered blessed ("blessed is the corpse that the rain falls on" etc)


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST,NeilB
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 06:30 AM

I don't know if this is of interest as it's so long since the last comments, but I'm just learning a version myself and though I bow to others who have researched the song deeply, the 'magic' idea seems a little contrived. It's an old song and it occurred to me that it might be simply a warning about being promiscuous in the presence of contageous diseases (plague, STD's maybe). The final verse suggests that he was 'putting it about a bit' and the consequences were pretty dire. Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 08:25 AM

Pinkfiddle, you did not deserve the snide comments posted by the anonymous guest. (I thought that anons were banned on Mudcat these days.)
Thank you for posting an interesting question, I have often thought the same thing about that particular ballad.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 01:43 PM

The 'washer at the ford' is an apparition in Scottish folklore. She usually washes bloody clothes. If one meets her (it always a 'she' (no real pun intended)) then it's a smart move to help her do the washing. If you don't then the bloody clothes will become your own by the end of the day. There's not much in folk belief that tells about what happens if you're daft enough to bed the washer but personally, I can't help but think that it'd end in tears.
Whether this has anything to do with the ballad or not I don't know but it feels like a 'best fit' meaning to me.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 01:55 PM

I wouldn't try to read too much meaning into it. The only versions that survive are most likely 18th century burlesques, either on a lost old ballad, or on this ballad genre generally.

However if you want to delve deeper David Atkinson has written a paper on it which you might be able to find online.

Child thought it was related to Lady Alice (85).


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 08:15 PM

It's been recorded by Sam Lee,who was nominated for mercury prize, Radio 2 folk awards. He reckons it's STDs.


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Subject: RE: George Collins - what's it all about?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 08:18 PM

This is useful:https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/georgecollins.html


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