Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: Lavender's Blue

DigiTrad:
DIDDLE, DIDDLE (Or The Kind Country Lovers)
LAVENDER BLUE


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Angel on My Shoulder + Lavender Blue (22)
Lyr Add: Lavender's Blue / Dilly Dilly (5)
(origins) Lyr Add: Dilly Dilly (11)


Frank McGrath 11 Jun 98 - 05:15 PM
Bruce O. 11 Jun 98 - 05:19 PM
Frank McGrath 11 Jun 98 - 06:13 PM
Bruce O. 11 Jun 98 - 08:36 PM
Frank McGrath 12 Jun 98 - 09:48 PM
Bruce O. 12 Jun 98 - 10:03 PM
Alan of Australia 13 Jun 98 - 10:22 PM
Bill in Alabama 15 Jun 98 - 10:23 AM
Bruce O. 24 Jun 98 - 04:17 PM
Frank McGrath 24 Jun 98 - 05:01 PM
Bruce O. 25 Jun 98 - 12:20 PM
Joe Offer 06 Dec 99 - 05:44 PM
Liz the Squeak 06 Dec 99 - 07:26 PM
The Shambles 26 Oct 00 - 03:11 PM
Joe Offer 02 Sep 01 - 12:15 AM
Metchosin 02 Sep 01 - 02:50 AM
Mr Red 02 Sep 01 - 06:29 PM
toadfrog 15 Nov 02 - 02:15 AM
masato sakurai 15 Nov 02 - 07:41 PM
toadfrog 15 Nov 02 - 08:29 PM
GUEST,Paul Crookall, Homps, Aude, France. 31 Dec 05 - 11:18 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Dec 05 - 01:55 PM
Jim Dixon 21 May 08 - 11:49 PM
GUEST,Q as guest 22 May 08 - 12:24 AM
Martin Graebe 22 May 08 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 May 08 - 05:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 May 08 - 08:27 PM
catspaw49 22 May 08 - 08:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 08 - 04:59 PM
PoppaGator 23 May 08 - 05:32 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 08 - 08:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 08 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 24 May 08 - 10:52 AM
Jim Dixon 28 Mar 09 - 02:15 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Mar 09 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Mar 09 - 11:33 AM
VirginiaTam 19 Nov 09 - 03:14 PM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Nov 09 - 11:30 PM
GUEST 14 Mar 10 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Bob L 14 Mar 10 - 07:40 PM
Tootler 15 Mar 10 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Falkenna 03 Oct 13 - 11:47 AM
GUEST,Eliza 03 Oct 13 - 05:32 PM
VirginiaTam 04 Oct 13 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Oct 13 - 11:51 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 11 Jun 98 - 05:15 PM

Does anyone have the history, origins and story of "Lavender's Blue" ((otherwise known as Dilly, Dilly or as Diddle Diddle as per the DT) and how many variations can you post????

Frank McGrath



Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 11 Jun 98 - 05:19 PM

The earliest known copy, of the 17th century, is in the Scarce Songs file on my website (and the earliest tune for it in ABC)
http://www.erols.com/olsonw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 11 Jun 98 - 06:13 PM

Bruce,

Of course I should have checked your site!!!!
I cannot say how much your work has impressed me.

Thank you most sincerely.

Now has anyone out there got variations???
The song was in print 300 years ago so there must be thousands of variations by now. Give me a few samples please.

Again,
Thank you Bruce>

Frank McGrath


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 11 Jun 98 - 08:36 PM

Steve Roud's folksong index lists a copy in Whitaker's 'North Country Ballads' which I haven't seen for nearly 30 years. For it's scant history see 'The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes'. The version in the movie 'So dear to my heart' spawned 4 hit recordings in 1949, including one by Burl Ives.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 12 Jun 98 - 09:48 PM

Burl Ives;

Now there is a man I have neglected for far too long. Thank you for the info.

Frank McGrath


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 12 Jun 98 - 10:03 PM

Burl Ives verrsion was on DECCA 24547


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 13 Jun 98 - 10:22 PM

And is probably the version I remember hearing a lot on the "wireless" when I was very young.

Cheers,
Alan (still young)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 15 Jun 98 - 10:23 AM

I recently read a novel by Edward Rutherfurd which made reference to this very song, and linked it to an area on the remote outskirts of 17th-century London, where fields of lavender were cultivated extensively for the perfume industry. The title of the novel is LONDON. Rutherfurd is a novelist who is, apparently, a meticulous researcher, and whose historical documentation can be trusted. I left the novel at my pied-a-terre in the country (or I may already have passed it on to my daughter), so that I can't get to it now to check. Bill Foster


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Lavender's Blue ^^
From: Bruce O.
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 04:17 PM

From Eloise Hubbard Linscott's 'Folk Songs of Old New England' (1939) 2nd. edit., 1962. Linscott says that the song was sung by a Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard, but didn't actually say that's where her text came from. She didn't say where the tune (ABC given below) came from either, but it's trivially different from that in Simpson's BBBM except for the key (B273 on my website). Simpson took the tune from E. F. Rimbault's 'Nursery Rhymes', c 1846, where a three verse text was given. Simpson notes the tune was transposed from F to G in Walter Crane's 'The Baby's Opera', c 1877, and that may be the source of the tune here. Edith Fowke gave a version in 'Ring Around the Moon', that I haven't seen. Norman Cazden in 'The Abelard Folk Song Book' gave a very long version (19 verses) combining "The Kind Country Lovers" (Lavender's Green) with "My Dog and I" (also on my website). He didn't say where his text and tune came from. His note ridicules Linscott's statement about the song being connected with 12th Night amusements. (Amen)

Lavender's blue, diddle, diddle,
Lavender's green,
When I am King, diddle, diddle,
You shall be Queen

Call out your men, diddle, diddle,
Set them to work,
Some to make hay, diddle, diddle,
Some on the cart.

Some to the wheel, diddle, diddle,
Some to hoe corn,
While you and I, diddle, diddle,
Keep ourselves warm.

If you should die, diddle, diddle,
As it may hap,
You shall be buried, diddle, diddle,
Under the tap.

Who told you so, diddle, diddle,
Pray tell me why?
That you may drink, diddle, diddle,
When you are dry.^^

X:1
T:Lavender's Blue
S:Linscott, 1962, p. 229
Q:40
L:1/8
M:3/8
K:G
G d d|d c/ B/ A/ G/|G e e|e3|\
G d d|(d/ d/) c/ B/ A/ G/|c B A|G3|]

X:2
T:Lavender's Blue
S:Cazden, Abelard FSB, II, 88
Q:60
L:1/4
M:3/4
K:C
GGA|GF/E/ D/C/|cBA|G3|\
cBA|GF/E/ D/C/|FED|C3|]

^^


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Frank McGrath
Date: 24 Jun 98 - 05:01 PM

More excellent stuff Bruce. Thank you so much again. You have certainly given considerable research time to this subject and provided very interesting variations and sources.

A friend of mine believes that there is a less bawdy version which pre-dates the 17th century version you so kindly provided, however he has no recollection of the source of this information. Again, if anyone has more information it will be very greatfully received.

Very Best Regards
Frank McGrath
Nenagh Singers Circle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Bruce O.
Date: 25 Jun 98 - 12:20 PM

Frank,
I hope your friend's memory improves and he/she remembers where it was. The broadside has a tune citation "Lavender Green, &c.". In the 19th century it was often thought that such tune titles were 'internally inspired' from the broadside itself, but we now know better. This is solid evidence that the broadside version is based on a popular song of the time. Such broadsides were usually expanded versions of the song, but a few borrowed the verse form, tune, and initial setting, but then developed quite differently from the original song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 05:44 PM

Iona & Peter Opie's Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes has the above text, and the text that's in the database (click). This is NOT a G-rated nursery rhyme book....
Here's what the book says about the song:
Once a playful love song, possessing its own tune. It was remembered almost solely in the nursery until 1948-9 when a dance version, popularly called "The Dilly Dilly Song," swept America and Britain. The source, titled "Diddle Diddle Or, The Kind Country Lovers," was printed sometime between 1672 and 1685 on a black-letter broadside. There were ten verses in all. Over a century later, it emerged in abbreviated form in Songs for the Nursery (1805):
Lavender blue and Rosemary green,
When I am king you shall be queen;
Call up my maids at four o'clock,
Some to the wheel and some to the rock;
Some to make hay and some to shear corn,
And you and I will keep the bed warm.
Several similar versions occur in nineteenth-century children's literature with such titles as "The Lady's Song in Leap Year" (1810) and "The Entertainment of My Dog and I" (c. 1820).
For the sake of completeness, here are the 1948/49 lyrics, from a fairly unreliable source. Can't say I ever really liked the song, but the history is interesting. -Joe Offer-

Lavender-Blue (Dilly Dilly)
Words and Music by Larry Morey and Eliot Daniel, 1948
(apparently transcribed from a 1959 Sammy Turner recording. Except for the "Whoa-oh" and some gender changes, it's almost the same as the Dinah Shore recording)
Charted at # 3 in 1959
Previously charted in 1949 by Sammy Kaye (#4), Dinah Shore (#9),
Burl Ives (#16), and Jack Smith (#17)
Sung in the film "So Dear To My Heart" by Dinah Shore

Lavender blue, dilly-dilly
Lavender green
If I were king, dilly-dilly, I'd need a queen

Whoa-oh, who told me so?, dilly-dilly
Who told me so?
I told myself, dilly-dilly
I told me so

If your dilly-dilly heart
Feels a dilly-dilly way
If you'll answer yes
In a pretty little church
On a dilly-dilly day
You'll be wed in a dilly-dilly dress of

Lavender blue, dilly-dilly
Lavender green
Then I'll be king, dilly-dilly
You'll be my queen

Then I'll be king dilly-dilly
You'll be my queen

(Lavender blue, dilly-dilly)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 06 Dec 99 - 07:26 PM

The version I learnt went:

Lavender's green, dilly dilly,
Lavender's blue.
You must love me, dilly dilly,
'Cause I love you...

Hopeful to say the least....

LTS


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Oct 00 - 03:11 PM

Refresh. Because someone asked me about the song today and this thread has now enabled me to sound very knowledgable.

Many thanks to all.

The DT seems a bit short on versions and info, but I usually seem to look in the wrong places?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 12:15 AM

I thought the Traditional Ballad Index had an interesting entry on this song.
-Joe Offer-

Lavender Blue

DESCRIPTION: "Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly..." Singer tells his lady that she must love him because he loves her. He tells of a vale where young man and maid have lain together, and suggests that they might do the same, and that she might love him (and also his dog)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1680 (broadside)
KEYWORDS: courting sex love dog colors
FOUND IN: Britain
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Silber-FSWB, p. 158, "Lavender Blue" (1 text)
DT, LAVNDER2

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Lavender's Blue
Diddle, Diddle (Or The Kind Country Lovers)
Notes: When I was four years old, I thought this song was stupid. Forty-five years later, I see no reason to change my mind. - PJS
Hard to argue that point based on the versions that I've heard, but the broadside version in the Digital Tradition hints that there is at least a little more going on behind the scenes. - RBW
File: FSWB158A

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2000 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Metchosin
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 02:50 AM

Well PJS whoever you are, when I was four I thought this song was stupid too, but when it came out in the late 50's/early 60's again, by Sammy Turner, it turned my crank. Just goes to show what a few hormones coursing through your body can do to you and your taste in music.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Mr Red
Date: 02 Sep 01 - 06:29 PM

Hey folks, where is that political dimension some historians insist on?
Is it in the colours listed? (or the colours in the version lost in the mists of time?)
In the days when speaking-out against a monarch (or pretender) could get you slightly decapitated wouldn't you talk alegorically? Where these lovers politcos getting into bed together in a sarcastic rendition?
Gullivers Travels was equally colour prejudist until Swift's publisher got cold feet & switched the hues to harmless
call me naive but I believed the politcal interpretation, then blue v green, now a (v blueish) red v (v pinko) blue.
Confused? I bet they were then, too!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: toadfrog
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 02:15 AM

refresh


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: masato sakurai
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 07:41 PM

The broadside "DIDDLE, DIDDLE (Or The Kind Country Lovers)" in the DT is in the Bodleian Library collection:

Printers: Coles, F. (London); Vere, T. (London); Wright, J. (London); Clarke, J. (London)
Licenser: L'Estrange, Roger
Date: between 1674 and 1679
Imprint: London, Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright, and J. Clark.
License note: With Allowance, Ro. L'Estrange
Illus. Ballads on sheet: 1
Note: Sheet divided; cropped top edge
Copies: Douce Ballads 1(56a)   
Ballads: 1. Diddle, diddle. Or, The kind country lovers ("Lavenders green, didle, didle ...")
To the tune of: Lavender green, &c.

~Masato


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: toadfrog
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 08:29 PM

There was a young lady named Ransome,
Who was diddled THREE TIMES in a hansome!
When she . . .


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: GUEST,Paul Crookall, Homps, Aude, France.
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 11:18 AM

The green refers to the Green Ribbon Club,the HQ of the Whigs
before,during & after the Succession crisis (1681-85)
and the Glorious Revolution (1688-89),
who defended parliamentarianism against the attempt
of King James II to impose an absolutist régime.

The Whig leaders (Essex, Russell & Sidney)preferred
to chose death rather than deny the principles of freedom.

The blue was (and is) the colour of the Tories,
who sided with the monarchy and its measures
to install a despotism, suppressing free speech,
abolishing local government & coersing religious conscience.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins of: Lavender's Blue. The History???
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 01:55 PM

Inventive mythology for a simple love ditty.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: DIDDLE DIDDLE, OR THE KIND COUNTRY LOVERS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 May 08 - 11:49 PM

Here's my transcription of the broadside—see Masato's link above:

Diddle, Diddle.
Or,
The Kind Country Lovers.

With sly insinuations he perswades her
And by the bands of Love, along he leads her.
Relating pleasant stories for to bind her
And all to make her unto him prove kinder.
And so in Love at last they live together
With pleasant dayes enjoying one another.

Tune of Lavender green, &c.

With Allowance, Ro. L'Estrange.

Lavenders green, didle, didle
  Lavenders blue,
You must love me, diddle, diddle
  cause I love you.
I heard one say, diddle, didle,
  since I came hither
That you & I diddle, diddle.
  must lie together.

My Hostesse maid, diddle, dddle
  her name was Nell,
She was a Lass, diddle diddle
  that I loved well.
But if she dye Diddle, diddle,
  by some mishap,
The she shall lye, Diddle, d[iddle]
  under the Tap.

That she may drink Diddle, diddle,
  when she's a dry,
Because she lov'd Diddle, diddle
  my Dog & I.
Call up your Maids Diddle, diddle
  set them to work,
Some to make Hay, Diddle, diddle
  some to the Rock.

Some to make Hay, Diddle, diddle,
  some to the Corn
Whilst you and I Diddle, diddle,
  keep the bed warm.
Let the birds sing, Diddle, diddle
  and the lambs play,
We shall be safe Diddle, diddle
  out of harms way.

James at the George, Diddle, diddle
  Sue at the Swan,
He loves his maid, Diddle diddle,
  she loves her man.
But if they chance Diddle, diddle
  for to be found,
Catch them i'th Corn Diddle diddle
  put them i'th pound.

I heard a bird Diddle, diddle
  sing in my Ear
Maids will be scarce Diddle, diddle
  the next New year.
For young men are Diddle diddle
  so wanton grown
That they ne'r mind Diddle, didle,
  which is their own.

Down in a Vale Diddle diddle
  where flowers do grow,
And the trees bud Diddle diddle
  all on a row.
A brisk young man Diddle diddle
  met with a Maid,
And laid her down, Diddle diddle
  under the shade.

Where they did play Diddle, diddle
  & kiss & Court,
Like lambs in May Diddle diddle
  making fine sport.
There lives a Lass Diddle diddle
  over the Green,
She sells good Ale Diddle diddle
  think what I mean.

Oft have I been Diddle diddle
  with her i'th dark
And yet I nere Diddle diddle
  shot at the mark.
But now my Dear Diddle diddle
  have at thy burnin[?]
For I do swear Diddle diddle
  now I am come.

I will be kind Diddle diddle
  until I dye,
Then prithee love Diddle didle
  my Dog & I.
For thee & I Diddle diddle
  now are all one,
And we will lye Diddle diddle
  no more alone.

Finis.

London, Printed for F. Coles, T. Vere, J. Wright(?) and J. Clark.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,Q as guest
Date: 22 May 08 - 12:24 AM

Thanks for that. I had scanned the broadside, meaning to compare with the children's versions, but didn't get around to making a print.
Mention of the tune 'Lavender Green,' with the name Ro. L'Estrange suggests that it is a parody. I haven't seen the work by Cazden where it is combined into a longer version with "My Dog and I" (Bruce O., above; "My Dog and I" does not seem to be posted in Mudcat).

A broadside of "my dog and I" with a date of between 1674 and 1679 is also in the Bodleian Collection, also by F. Coles et al., London.
4o Rawl.566(108); Firth c.23(109a), Pepys Ballads IV.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: Martin Graebe
Date: 22 May 08 - 03:12 PM

Shan and I recorded the song on our 2005 CD 'Parallel Strands'. Fragments of it were collected by Baring-Gould from Louisa Williams in the Tamar Valley. See our notes on the song and hear an extract here - Lavender's Green.

It is a mystery how the very unsuitable 'My Dog and I' got mixed up with the innocent 'Lavender's Green'. But one's understanding is enhanced by knowing what 'Dog' was slang for in the C17th.

Martin Graebe


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 May 08 - 05:39 PM

'The green refers to the Green Ribbon Club,the HQ of the Whigs'

That's really a stretch. If you've ever grown any lavender, you will note that the bush has blue flowers and green leaves. Hence, lavender's blue and lavender's green. Simple.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr. Add: Lavender's Green
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 May 08 - 08:27 PM

Fragments sung by Louisa Williams in West Devon, heard by Baring-Gould who completed the ballad from a set in the Roxburghe Collection.
I do not know if this is the same "Lavender green" mentioned as the tune for the late 17th c. "Diddle, Diddle," posted above by Jim Dixon. Baring-Gould's contribution also is uncertain.

Lyr. Add: LAVENDER'S GREEN

1
Lavender's green and lavender's blue
You must love me 'cause I love you
I heard one say since I come hither
That you and I must wed together
My master's maid her name it was Nell
She was a lass that I loved well
And if she die by some mishap
Then she shall lie beneath the tap
Beneath the tap, then she shall lie
Beneath the tap, beneath the tap.

2
That she may drink when she is dry
Because she loved my dog and I
Call up your maids, set them to work
Some to make hay, some to the rock
Some to make hay, some to the corn
Whilst you and I keep the bed warm
Let the birds sing and let the lambs play
We shall be safe, out of harm's way
Out of harm's way, we shall be safe
Out of harm's way, out of harm's way.

3
James at the George, Sue at the Swan
He loves the maid, she loves the man
But if it chance that they be found
Catch 'em in the corn, put 'em in the pound
I heard a bird sing in mine ear
Maids will be scarce the next New Year
For young men are so wanton grown
That they ne'er mind which is their own
Which is their own, that they ne'er mind
Whish is their own, which is their own.

4
Down in a vale where flowers grow
And sweet birds sing all in a row
A brisk young man met with a maid
And sat her down beneath the shade
Where they did play at kiss and court
Like lambs in May and make fine sport
There lives a maiden on the green
That sells good ale, think what I mean
Think what I mean, that sells good ale
Think what I mean, think what I mean.

5
I will be kind until I die
Then prithee love my dog and I
For thee and I know we are one
And we will lie no more alone
Lavender's green and lavender's blue
You must love me 'cause I love you
I heard one say since I came hither
That you and I must wed together
Must wed together, that you and I
Must wed together, must wed together.

Lavender's Green

"Put them in the pound" meant make them wed (as well as to imprison them.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 May 08 - 08:57 PM

Ya' know.............I try to stay out of a lot of these but this one is a prime example of a song passed down through the ages and now lives the holy life of a true folk song and I have to ask.............uh, why?

This is about the silliest, most pathetic piece of drivel imagineable! As a kid my first exposure to it was in school and it gave me a bad taste in my mouth for the English as a country and culture.   Diddlin' dillies and futzin' around with lavender.....this was the most fuckin' dumbshit, candy-ass ditty, I had ever heard. Looking back now I can see that Fabian singing "Turn Me Loose" or Frankie Valli singing "Walk Like A Man" like a woman was easily its equal, but I sincerely hope Fabian isn't heard a couple hundred years from now as this turkey is!

This is a fine example of "THIS IS A FOLKSONG BECAUSE IT HAS WITHSTOOD THE TEST OF TIME." And why is that? Because some damn fools have kept it somehow alive by selling that crap to succeeding generations and the whole mess has snowballed. The same thing could happen to "Turn Me Loose" and then how would you feel?

Sweet Jesus, what shit!!! I got something y'all can dilly right here..........

Spaw {;<))


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 May 08 - 04:59 PM

Folksong? Well, perhaps if you are referring to the little nursery rhyme
Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly,
Lavender's green;
When I am king, dilly, dilly,
You shall be queen.
(and maybe a few more innocuous verses, variously added, and sung to defenseless children by parents and relatives).

The Songs reproduced above have been printed in a few books (Roxburghe, etc.), but are known mostly from old broadsides, the words strung together by some alcoholic versifier trying to get enough jack to buy his next bottle. The writers who wrote the books seldom gave a source (read the posts by Bruce O, above). The one collected by Linscott in New England similarly lacks documentation.

Baring-Gould took a few words sung by some woman and put together a full song, using a book. No telling where the woman had heard, or more likely read, the original.

People (like me) who like old songs- they tell us a lot about what the long dead believed and how they lived- dig them up.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: PoppaGator
Date: 23 May 08 - 05:32 PM

I am familiar only with the 1959 Sammy Turner recording, which I always thought was silly beyond comprehension. Learning that it comes from a long-ago folk tradition may explain why it is so nonsensically obscure, but (like 'spaw) I find it hard to understand how and why such a goofy little ditty survived so long.

I hadn't even been aware of the Sammy Kaye, Dinah Shore, Burl Ives, and Jack Smith renditions, either, nor the British hit version from the war years.

Reading over some of the various sets of lyrics, not all of them seem to fit the melody that I know, that of the more-or-less recent recordings. I wonder how the various different melodies might sound ~ but not enough to actually make an effort to do research! Because I don't really care all that much...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:46 PM

Not in Halliwell, Nursery Rhymes of England, 1846. Not in Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, 1883, 1903. Not in Mother Goose except late revisions.

As I tried to indicate in a previous post, the song did not survive as a folk song. Except for the 17th c. broadsides, a few compilations of old songs in 19th c. books, the rhymes came from Baring-Gould, "Lavender's blue and rosemary's green," a few fragments he got from a woman in Devon but most from an old book (and his own additions). It is in some editions of Mother Goose, printed later than Baring-Gould's publication. These verses are quite different in intent from the old broadsides.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 May 08 - 08:54 PM

The Opies included the nursery song, Baring-Gould version, in "The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book," with the title "Love Song."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 May 08 - 10:52 AM

It helps to know something about the times in which the song was written. The printers who published it and the yuppies who versified it assumed that country people were brutish louts. (They must be; they're poor and have no education.)

The song, with its title 'The Kind Country Lovers,' shows that even simple people can be kind to each other. It also asserts that sex under a bush can be loving.

How many other songs are there where sex is leered at and love is denigrated? Answer: jillions.

The song is also thought-provoking. Most of us could talk for a long time on the danger inherent in the line 'You must love me...cause I love you.'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: THE LADY'S SONG IN LEAP YEAR
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Mar 09 - 02:15 PM

From Gammer Gurton's Garland: or, the Nursery Parnassus by Joseph Ritson (London: Harding and Wright, 1810):


THE LADY'S SONG IN LEAP YEAR.

Roses are red, diddle, diddle,
Lavender's blue:
If you will have me, diddle, diddle,
I will have you.

Lillies are white, diddle, diddle,
Rosemary's green;
When you are king, diddle, diddle,
I will be queen.

Call up your men, diddle, diddle,
Set them to work;
Some to the plough, diddle, diddle,
Some to the cart.

Some to make hay, diddle, diddle,
Some to cut corn;
Whilst you and I, diddle, diddle,
Keep the bed warm,


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Mar 09 - 07:21 PM

It is a simple song with a pretty tune. Might it have been at some point in its evolution a Valentine verse? I know a professional singer who sings it in the folk clubs and I've never heard anyone react to it using some of the invective here. Perhaps it would be more use nowadays in primary school, but some of us think its charm lies in its simplicity. Like many people I often find myself singing it absent-mindedly or humming the tune. Oh, just in case you get the wrong impression here, I'm more used to singing bawdy stuff, sea shanties and industrial songs.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Mar 09 - 11:33 AM

Let me exlain, Steve. Most of the invective came in a post by Catspaw 49, and Spaw is a special case. Actually, he just wrote all the so he could work in this deathless line:

"Looking back now I can see that...Frankie Valli singing "Walk Like A Man" like a woman was easily its equal.."

That had me laughing! Thanks, Spaw.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 03:14 PM

This has been bothering me for several years since my first visit to the Lavenham Guild Hall.

I would love to find some documentation that indicates the original verse/lyric to be Lavenham blue instead of lavender blue.

Lavenham, Suffolk, England was the centre for blue dyed broadcloth, called Lavenham Blue, much sought after throughout medieval Europe. Sadly I can find nothing. But wouldn't it be wonderful?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Nov 09 - 11:30 PM

I'm sorry, Virginia. I just don't think it will ever work. I think the words 'Lavender's blue...lavender's green' refer to the blue flowers and green leaves of the lavender plant.

This song baffled me as a kid because I knew you had to mix blue and pink, not blue and green, to make lavender paint.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 12:11 PM

Left-footers blue, diddle-diddle,
Levellers green;
Now William's king, diddle-diddle,
Mary is queen.

The Whigs are up, diddle-diddle,
Tories are down;
This is the talk, diddle-diddle,
All round the Town.

How did you hear, diddle-diddle,
Who told you so?
A Mudcat thread, diddle-diddle,
That's how I know.

;-)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,Bob L
Date: 14 Mar 10 - 07:40 PM

FWIW, more than one tune is used for the different variants of this song. One was recorded by Burl Ives, another by the City Waites (and presumably also by others in each case, but those are the two I'm familiar with). The City Waites' version is less drivelly, but not quite the sort of thing to present to kiddies at school.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Mar 10 - 06:52 PM

Lucie Skeaping of the City Waits produced a book of 17th. cent. broadside ballads which includes this one. The text is the one that Jim Dixon transcribed from the Bodleian library collection (link to Bodleian library). The song is full of sexual innuendo and most definitely not something to present to young children at school.

The ballad writer/printer has clearly not taken much care to create a coherent song and to make it something that makes more sense you need to rearrange the order of the verses. If you look at there are a few clear themes.

  1. I fancy you so get your servants out of the way so we can go to bed together

  2. After all, everyone else is at it so why not us?

  3. I'm pretty virile - let me tell you about some of my conquests

  4. Oh, by the way, let's get married, then we can sleep together every night.


By rearranging the verses you can create a series of little episodes which add up to a coherent song. I did this and it worked very well. I was complemented on my version.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,Falkenna
Date: 03 Oct 13 - 11:47 AM

I've come to the party late, anyone still there? Reading the comments, thinking about the way people work - some things just don't change - and having a small amount of knowledge of Elizabethan songs, may I suggest this wholly speculative scenario:

The sweetness of melody and most of the lyrics, plus the nonsense "dilly dilly" (cf "hey nonny nonny") are not a million miles away from some Dowland or Campion, though not of the same sophistication. Still, as someone said above, imminently hummable and sort of unforgettable. Probably sing-along-able. It becomes the "Everything I Do (I Do for You)" of its day, being passed from mouth to ear by every singer who opens his or her mouth. I also fancy it would sound lovely on a lute. After a few decades of this (things moved much slower then), and in a darker age of civil war, it starts to look twee, old-fashioned, yokel-ish, and is driving everybody crazy. So the parodies proliferate and, predictably, this especially means that the innocent love lyric is made bawdy in a number of different ways.

Unprovable, but seems to fit some of the conflicting elements of the lyrics and known history. Thoughts?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 03 Oct 13 - 05:32 PM

Falkenna, I think what you suggest may have happened to the song, "Oh dear, what can the matter be, Johnny's so long at the fair." It's a sweet song with a dear little melody, but people eventually found it sickly, and we got the 'Three Old Ladies Locked in the Lavatory' as a parody. Much funnier!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 04 Oct 13 - 04:06 AM

Part of me wants to believe the song was originally Lavenham's Blue because of this bit of history.

"Lavenham prospered from the wool trade in the 15th and 16th century, with the town's blue broadcloth being an export of note. By the late 15th century, the town was amongst the richest in the British Isles, paying more in taxation than considerably larger towns such as York and Lincoln.[4]"

Lavenham - wikipedia

The wool colour was referred to as "Lavenham blue" by the literature and guides when we visited Lavenham Guildhall. Reaching? Of course. But I like to imagine a young Henry VIII wooing his beloved with this song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Lavender's Blue
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Oct 13 - 11:51 AM

Hello, Virginia. It's interesting to hear about Lavenham and its blue cloth. I can see how the phrase 'Lavenham blue' could be folk-processed to 'lavender's blue.' However, a chorus with a plant in it seems more natural to the rural setting of the song than does a chorus with a fabric in it.

Falkenna, I have seen many thread on parodies here in the Mudcat. A song doesn't have to have anything wrong with it for somebody to make up a parody. Mostly what a parodist requires is lyrics that easily seque from one word to a similar-sounding word, preferably an undignified one. I think beer has a lot to do with it.

I've read the versions posted above, and I think they are such a dog's breakfast that it's hard to know what the publishers were trying to accomplish. Parody? Political analogy?

No, wait. Their main goal would have been to fill up the page. Customers would have looked at a concise, elegant song and cried, "Hoy, what's this empty space here? I want my penny's worth!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 13 November 1:50 PM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.