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Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care

DigiTrad:
BEWARE, OH TAKE CARE


denise:^) 08 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Chicken Charlie 08 Nov 02 - 08:22 PM
denise:^) 08 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM
GUEST,Richie 08 Nov 02 - 08:43 PM
Leadfingers 08 Nov 02 - 08:54 PM
denise:^) 08 Nov 02 - 09:23 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 02 - 09:58 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 02 - 11:27 PM
GUEST,Guest- call me No. 2 08 Nov 02 - 11:33 PM
Troll 09 Nov 02 - 12:00 AM
GUEST,No. 2 09 Nov 02 - 12:05 AM
Troll 09 Nov 02 - 02:27 AM
denise:^) 09 Nov 02 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Emily 02 Feb 04 - 10:47 PM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 04 - 02:10 AM
GUEST,Margaret 14 Jan 12 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 14 Jan 12 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 14 Jan 12 - 06:38 PM
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Subject: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: denise:^)
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM

I know that the lyrics to this song are in the database, but I have a question about one of the verses. (BTW, it's credited to "Blind Alfred Blake," but it should be "Blind Alfred Reed." The song was around before Blake, who *did* record it, was born.)

One verse has me a bit baffled:

Around their necks they wear a guard
(Beware, oh, take care)
And in their pocket is a deck of cards.
(Beware, oh, take care)

What does that mean--"Around their necks they wear a guard?" (I think I have the deck of cards part okay...;^)

Just wondering...I was thinking of adding this song to my "Laura Ingalls Wilder" music presentation (she mentions singing it in "By the Shores of Silver Lake," which *also* takes place before Alfred Blake was born, BTW...), and I thought I should know what it meant before presenting it and being asked about it in public!!

Anyone know?

denise:^)

Click for lyrics in the Digital Tradition


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Chicken Charlie
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 08:22 PM

Wild-ass guess #1: the term "Leatherneck," used in US for a Marine, derives from their having worn leather collars in the Good Old Days, point being to ward off sword slashes, bayonet thrusts, and other of the more unpleasant results of being silly enough to join the Marines. Can't say without more lyrics, but is there any military connection?? I doubt if the US Marines were ever the first ones to think of anything.

CC


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: denise:^)
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 08:33 PM

Well, it's supposed to be something that makes them appear virtuous and trustworthy, if you know the song...

denise:^)


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Subject: ADD Version: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Richie
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 08:43 PM

Here is the original text from Longfellow's Hyperion, 1847:

Many were the words of praise, when the young musician ended; and, as he rose to depart, they still entreated for one song more. Whereupon he played a lively prelude; and, looking full into Flemming's face, sang with a pleasant smile, and still in German, this little song.

"I KNOW a maiden fair to see,
Take care!
She can both false and friendly be,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

"She has two eyes, so soft and brown,
Take care!
She gives a side-glance and looks down,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

"And she has hair of a golden hue,
Take care!
And what she says, it is not true,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

"She has a bosom as white as snow,
Take care!
She knows how much it is best to show,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!

"She gives thee a garland woven fair,
Take care!
It is a fool's cap for thee to wear,
Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!"

The last stanza he sung in a laughing, triumphant tone, which resounded above the loud clang of his guitar, like the jeering laugh of Till Eulenspiegel. Then slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he took off his green cap, and made a leg to the ladies, in the style of Gil Blas; waved his hand in the air, and walked quickly down the valley, singing "Adé! Adé! Adé!"

^^
Notes: I've included some of the text so you can get the setting for the song lyrics.

The origin of "guard" seems to be garland.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: Leadfingers
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 08:54 PM

A guard or amulet as a safeguard from evil is how I would interpret
that line.I may be wrong but it seems as good as any other explanation.Shoot me down if you wish.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: denise:^)
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 09:23 PM

Thanks for the input, folks!
The song about a 'maiden fair to see...' is a different song. (It's often said to be the one she sang--it's even included on an album of "Songs from the Little House books," but Laura was singing about deceptive men... ;^)

The "guard" around their neck is something that will make them appear "good" or trustworthy--but I was wondering if anybody knew WHAT?!?

Here are the lyrics--

BEWARE, OH TAKE CARE
(Blind Alfred Reed)

They say young men are bold and free
Beware, Oh take care.
They'll tell you they're friends, but they're false, you see
Beware, Oh take care.

chorus:
Beware, young ladies, they're fooling you,
Trust them not, they're fooling you!
Beware, young ladies, they're fooling you,
Beware, Oh take care.

Around their necks they wear a guard (Beware, oh...)
And in their pocket is a deck of cards. (Beware...)

They smoke, they chew, they wear fine shoes (Beware...)
And in their pocket is a bottle of booze. (Beware...)

They hold their hands up to their hearts
They sigh, Oh they sigh,
They say they love no one but you
They lie, Oh they lie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 09:58 PM

-Denise

The version you posted originated from the Longfellow text and through
oral circulation has changed. Over a period of time the words change.

Leadfingers defintion: "A guard or amulet as a safeguard from evil" is a good guess.

But "garland" would also fit:

Around their necks they wear a garland (Beware, oh...)
And in their pocket is a deck of cards. (Beware...)

It's possible this could be it but so could any number of things. Looking at the original is a good way to guess.

-Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM

I would bet that a word that more or less rhymed with cards was wanted; garland didn't work, the singer didn't care if it meant anything or not.
The Reed version is printed at the site given below (close to the Rambler version in the DT):


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 11:27 PM

Hmmm! Didn't print the site:
Beware


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Guest- call me No. 2
Date: 08 Nov 02 - 11:33 PM

Still OK. Just click on the http etc. website, then go to Sound lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: Troll
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 12:00 AM

A "guard" is a removable stand-up collar of stiffened and starched cloth which buttoned to the shirt. They were sometimes made of celluloid which could be wiped off each night and worn again the next day -this over and over- thus saving on laundry bills.
In the rural South, where Blind Alfred Reed was popular, most men wore a collar only when at church or courting. An exception to this rule would be professionals such as Drs. and Lawyers and the like.
Reed enjoyed great popularity among the members of the Holiness Church because of his highly moralistic lyrics. He also recorded "Why Do You Bob (cut) Your Hair Girls" and "The Dream Of The Miners Child." among others. Some of his songs were funny like the "Black And Blue Blues" and some were social commentary like "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live."

troll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,No. 2
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 12:05 AM

Still have containers for these collars (my grandfather's). Never heard them called guards.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: Troll
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 02:27 AM

Poetic license. Guard rhymes with Cards. Collar does not. I heard my Grandfather refer to the old-fashiones removable collar as a "guard" a time or two when I was a boy.


troll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: denise:^)
Date: 09 Nov 02 - 10:23 AM

Thank you, Troll; that's exactly what I was looking for--a plausible explanation I could give at workshops when someone said, "But what does that mean--"Around their necks they wear a guard?"

Sounds logical to me!!!

denise:^)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Emily
Date: 02 Feb 04 - 10:47 PM

"Guard" represents a religious cross. Religion and gambling didn't go together in those days and people who gambled/played cards (same thing to many people at that time) weren't trust worthy to young innocent girls.


Emily
Tyro@footbag.org


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 04 - 02:10 AM

I see that the Traditional Ballad Index takes note of the DT's mistaken attribution.
-Joe Offer-

Beware, Oh Take Care

DESCRIPTION: The young girls are warned about sporting men, who look handsome and speak well -- but have a deck of cards and a bottle hidden. "Beware, young ladies, they're fooling you; Trust them not, they're fooling you; Beware, young ladies... Beware, oh take care"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1892 (Trifet's Budget of Music)
KEYWORDS: courting cards drink abandonment rake
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Randolph 381, "Beware, Oh Beware" (2 texts plus a quotation from Trifet, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 311-313, "Beware, Oh Beware" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 381B)
BrownSchinhanV 248, "The Inconstant Lover" (4 tunes plus text excerpts; the "B," "C," and "C(1)" tunes presumably belong with "On Top of Old Smokey"; "H" appears to be "Beware, Oh Take Care")
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 70-71, "Beware, Oh Take Care" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 167, "Beware, Oh, Take Care" (1 text)
DT, BEWARYG*

Roud #7619
RECORDINGS:
New Lost City Ramblers, "Beware, Oh Take Care" (on NLCR10); "Beware" (on NLCR12)
Blind Alfred Reed, "Beware" (Victor 23550, 1931; on TimesAint02)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Boys Won't Do to Trust" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Bold and Free
NOTES: Credited in the Digital Tradition to Blind Alfred Blake (which Paul Stamler points out should be "Blind Alfred Reed"), but -- since the piece has been in circulation since at least the 1880s -- it would appear that Reed, at most, retouched it into the "popular" form.
Laura Ingalls Wilder quotes a scrap of the song in By the Shores of Silver Lake (chapter 6). If legitimate, that would push the date back even farther -- to 1879.
Dichter/Shapiro: Harry Dichter and Elliott Shapiro, Early American Sheet Music: Its Lure and Its Lore, 1768-1889, R. R. Bowker, 1941, p. 159, list a piece "Beware! Take Care" with words by "H Longfellow" and music credited to Charles Moulton. This was published in 1865 by G. Schirmer of New York. Longfellow's poem (said to be based on a German original) is clearly related to "Beware, Oh Take Care," but I do not know if this Moulton arrangement is the source for the folk tune. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: R381

Go to the Ballad Search form
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Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Digital Tradition lyrics:

BEWARE, OH TAKE CARE
(Blind Alfred Blake)

They say young men are bold and free
Beware, Oh take care.
They'll tell you they're friends, but they're false, you see
Beware, Oh take care.

cho: Beware, young ladies, they're fooling you,
Trust them not, they're fooling you!
Beware, young ladies, they're fooling you,
Beware, Oh take care.

Around their necks they wear a guard
And in their pocket a deck of cards.

They smoke, they chew, they wear fine shoes
And in their pocket is a bottle of booze.

They hold their hands up to their hearts
They sigh, Oh they sigh,
They say they love no one but you
They lie, Oh they lie.

Recorded by New Lost City Ramblers
@love @courtship
filename[ BEWARYG
TUNE FILE: BEWARYG
CLICK TO PLAY
RG






New Lost City Ramblers Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmyE3Q3M4RQ


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 05:43 PM

The celluloid collar seems plausible, but it's possible that "guard" could refer to the small bag of asafoetida often worn around the neck as an amulet against diseases (Twain makes references to them either in Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer. Or perhaps both. To the extent such amulets were effective, it's because the repulsive odor kept people at a distance.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 06:36 PM

Just to add one more ...

Stationers used to sell a "sleeve guard" that accountants and other ink-stained wretches could use to protect their cuffs from the drying ink used with steel pens in Blind Alfred Reed's day, and quills earlier. Those guards were, at a guess, made of celluloid possibly, or some other impervious material, or even dark-colored stiff linen or other fabric that wouldn't show the stain perhaps.

Those sleeve guards were as much a part of the premodern era white-collar worker's attire as green eyeshades to protect those hard-workin' eyes (12-hour days at the writing-desk) from the glaring light from windows or naked-bulb overhead fixtures.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Beware, Oh, Take Care
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 14 Jan 12 - 06:38 PM

Sorry, just realized my message above makes no sense because the "guard" is worn around the neck of the deceiving lover. Apologies. Bob


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