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Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin

MDCH3@AOL.com 09 Jul 98 - 04:16 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Nov 09 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Nov 09 - 10:32 PM
Richie 05 Nov 09 - 11:48 PM
Desert Dancer 06 Nov 09 - 12:55 AM
Steve Gardham 06 Nov 09 - 10:56 AM
Richie 06 Nov 09 - 11:24 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Nov 09 - 05:36 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Nov 09 - 06:26 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Nov 09 - 07:00 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Nov 09 - 10:46 AM
G-Force 08 Nov 09 - 11:39 AM
Jim Dixon 08 Nov 09 - 05:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 08 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Nov 09 - 09:45 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Nov 09 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Seavey 20 Jun 15 - 05:54 PM
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Subject: Lyrics for
From: MDCH3@AOL.com
Date: 09 Jul 98 - 04:16 PM

Screwed up on last thread - sorry. Have music for dulcimer but would really love to find lyrics. Can anyone help??


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 09:34 PM

I found a brief fragment in a book from The Youth of Jefferson, Or, A Chronicle of College Scrapes at Williamsburg, in Virginia, A.D. 1764 by John Esten Cooke (New York: Redfield, 1854), page 64:

Jacques uttered an expiring assent, and Belle-bouche commenced singing with her laughing voice the then popular ditty, "Pretty Betty Martin, tip-toe fine."

[That's just to establish how old it is.]

*
From American Notes and Queries, Volume 3 (Philadelphia: The Westminster Publishing Co., July 13, 1889) page 132:

The bit of "an old song" quoted on p. 110 would seem to be a corruption. There was a famous Maryland belle and beauty, Elizabeth Martin, familiarly known as "Pretty Betty Martin," in whose honor a song was written, beginning with or having for a refrain, I am not sure which, the lines:

"Pretty Betty Martin
Tip-toe! tip-toe!
Pretty Betty Martin
Tip-toe fine!"

Betty Martin's grandson was William Раса, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Chief Justice of Maryland, and Chief Judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals, besides filling other places of honor, and the ancestral home was on Wye Island, in one of the rivers tributary to the Chesapeake.

*
From Colonial Mansions of Maryland and Delaware by John Martin Hammond (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1914), page 39:

William Paca, builder of the Paca House, and who deserves and has received far more study than this memoir can give, was born in Harford County, Maryland, October 31, 1740. His father was John Paca; his mother, Elizabeth Smith Paca. The name is Italian in origin, family tradition asserts, and there is a touch of the Roman in the features and olive skin of the Signer as they appear in his portraits. Elizabeth Smith, wife of John Paca, father of William, was a daughter of that "pretty Betty Martin" with whose name an old nursery rhyme is so free. It runs as follows:

Pretty Betty Martin,
Tip-toe! Tip-toe!
Pretty Betty Martin,
Tip-toe fine!

Pretty Betty Martin,
Tip-toe! Tip-toe!
Couldn't find a husband
To suit her mind!

The story is that "Pretty Betty Martin" was born in England and when she came to this country, a young woman, had so many suitors on the ship in which she made the voyage that she could not choose among them, so, consequently, rejected all. It has been said that she was a niece of the Duke of Marlborough, but even this reflected effulgence of glory can add little to her fame as the heroine of the jingle just quoted.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 10:32 PM

When I was in school we sang:

Hi, Betty Martin, tiptoe, tiptoe
Hi, Betty Martin, tiptoe fine!
Never found a boy to suit her fancy,
Never found a boy to suit her mind!
tra la la la, la la la la
tra la la la la
tra la la la Betty Martin,
Please be mine!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Richie
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 11:48 PM

Great post Jim,

I have some info on my web-site:

http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/pretty-betty-martin--art-stampler.aspx

What's interesting to me is the tune and rhyme spawned several other fiddle tunes including:

"Johnny Get Your Hair Cut," "Tip Toe Fine," and "Granny Will Your Dog Bite," and "Fire on the Mountain(s)."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 12:55 AM

"Fire on the Mountain" -- seems a different song family, though maybe a related tune?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 10:56 AM

Probably a different Betty Martin, but here in Yorkshire we have a saying 'It's all my eye and Betty Martin'. There was a related broadside ballad 'My eye and Betty Martin' popular in the late 18th century. The ballad used the saying as a refrain so is not in fact about anyone called Betty Martin.

BTW the saying still used today means 'It's all a load of hogwash!'

I have a ference to another ballad 'Betty Martin or the Steam Loom Lass' but no further details.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Richie
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 11:24 AM

Here's a bit from Andrew Kuntz regarding Fire on the Mountain/Pretty Betty Martin:

The tunes are so close as to be almost certainly cognate. Bayard records the tune's earliest American publication date is 1814 or 1815 in Riley's Flute Melodys (where it appears as "Free on the Mountains"), and as "I Betty Martin" in A. Shattuck's Book, a fiddler's manuscript book dating from around 1801. Mike Yates (2002) summarizes that "'Fire on the Mountain(s)' is one of a broad family of early 18th century (or earlier) tunes that shades into one another and are as old as 'Hey Betty Martin, Tip Toe.'"

Basically the cadence (rhythm) of the lyrics is the same.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 05:36 PM

...here in Yorkshire we have a saying 'It's all my eye and Betty Martin'.

Not just in Yorkshire. Except I've known it as "Betsy Martin".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 06:26 PM

This is the oldest example I can find of the expression in boldface:

From The Monthly Mirror: Reflecting Men and Manners, with Strictures on Their Epitome, The Stage by J. Wright (London: printed for the proprietors, 1807), page 441:

It is seven and twenty years since O'Hara altered, for this theatre, Fielding's Tom Thumb, making a burletta, of what was originally a burlesque tragedy. The richest parts in this jeu d'esprit are Queen Dollalolla, and Lord Grizzle, and we question whether they were ever so happily fooled to the top of their bent, as by Mrs. and Mr. Liston. Many have failed in Lord Grizzle, by trying to be too droll. Mr. Listen succeeds by his gravity, and obtains more applause than was bestowed on Shuter. Let us, however, look into this performance, and see how the taste of an enlightened people is to be respected for what they take so much delight in.—In two former numbers, VIII. and IX. N. S. we made very merry with the dramatic taste of the Americans. They cannot make a just retort by referring to O'Hara's Tom Thumb, therefore we shall shew our impartiality by quoting two interpolations of Mr. Liston, than which nothing in his part excites more laughter.

Act i. sc. 3, Grizzle ought to say—
    "Giants!—why madam, 'tis all flummery;"
but he exclaims:
    "Giants!—why madam, 'tis all my eye and Betty Martin!"
and previously, when the Queen cries—
    "Teach me to scold, O Grizzle!"
he should reply,
    "Scold, would my queen?—say, ah! wherefore?"
but he consults the elegant taste of the town, and says:
    "Scold, would my queen? O, blood and guts, wherefore?"
The rapture, with which these new readings are received, would do honour to an audience composed entirely of Yanky Doodles.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 07:00 PM

From Hamlet Travestie: In Three Acts by John Poole (London: J. M. Richardson, 1810):

[page 2:]

Hamlet. Talk not to me of seems—when-husbands die,
'Twere well if some folks seem'd the same as I.
But I have that within, you can't take from me—
As for black clothes,—that's all my eye and Tommy(a).

[Editor's annotations, page 73ff:]

(a) My eye and Tommy.

This is rather an obscure phrase. I suspect the author wrote My own to me, and that the passage originally stood thus:
    But I have that without you can't take from me,
    As my black clothes are all my own to me.
The whole passage, which before was unintelligible, is, by this slight alteration, rendered perfectly clear; and may be thus explained:—You may disapprove of my outward appearance, but you cannot compel me to alter it; for, you have no controul over that which I wear without, as my black clothes are all my own to me.—i. e. my own personal property—not borrowed from the Royal ward-robe, but made expressly for me, and at my own expense.—WARBURTON.

Here is an elaborate display of ingenuity without accuracy. He that will wantonly sacrifice the sense of his author to a supererogatory refinement, may gain the admiration of the unlearned, and excite the wonder of the ignorant; but of obtaining the praise of the illuminated, and the approbation of the erudite, let him despair.

My eye and Tommy (i. e. fudge) is the true reading; and the passage, as it stands, is correct.—JOHNSON.

In the Ryghte Tragycall Hystorie of Master Thomas Thumbe, bl. let. no date, I find, "'Tis all my eye and Betty Martin" used in the same sense. If the substitution of "Tommy" for "Betty Martin" be allowed, Dr. Johnson's explanation is just.—STEEVENS.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 10:46 AM

In precisely the same sense it is more often nowadays expressed 'It's all my/me eye!'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: G-Force
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 11:39 AM

Wasn't 'all my eye and Betty Martin' supposed to be a corruption of a Latin phrase, something like 'alma mihi et beate Martine' ?

As for the song, I knew the last line as 'put on your red dress and say you're mine'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 05:20 PM

This derivation is attested in many volumes. This is the oldest I could find:

From Time's Telescope for 1816; A Complete Guide to the Almanack (London: Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1816), page 313:

[November] 11.—SAINT MARTIN.

He was a native of Hungary, and, for some time, followed the life of a soldier; but, afterwards, took orders, and was made Bishop of Tours, in France, in which see he continued for twenty-six years. Martin died about the year 397, much lamented, and highly esteemed for his virtues....The vulgar phrase, 'O my eye, Betty Martin,' is said to have taken rise from the commencement of the prayer to this saint in Catholic times—'O mihi, beate Martine,' &c.

[And this is the oldest I could find that actually attempts to interpret the modern meaning:]

From A Glossary of Provincial Words Used in Teesdale in the County of Durham by Frederick Dinsdale (London: J. R. Smith, 1849), page 3:

ALL MY EYE AND BETTY MARTIN, A familiar expression used to show that, as regards some particular transaction, there has been some deceit, imposition, or pretence. It is thought to have had its origin in the beginning of the old Romish hymn— "O! mihi, beate Martine!"

[However, I still don't know how a hymn to St. Martin came to be associated with nonsense.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 06:23 PM

"Oh to me Blessed Martin" doesn't sound like a very plausible opening to a hymn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 09:45 PM

Come to think of it, you're right, McGrath. And even if there were such a hymn, why would it come to signify skepticism?

When I was a girl, my mother brought me library book called 'In Calico and Crinoline.' Each chapter told the story of a famous woman. One was devoted to the beautiful Elizabeth Martin. She didn't do anything notable, but she achieved fame.

Then I learned the pretty tune I mentioned above. I suppose it was a 'play party song.'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 03:03 PM

If anybody would like to learn the tune, see a related thread: Tune add: Betty Martin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Betty Martin
From: GUEST,Seavey
Date: 20 Jun 15 - 05:54 PM

I was putting together a Jean Ritchie tribute for song circle tonight and thought I'd contribute the lyrics I copied down from the youtube. The last phrase of the first verse is unclear to me, and the last word sounded more like "crime" but, in the grand folk tradition, I made something up that scanned and made sense (mostly).

D                            A
Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe,
D                            A         D
Pretty Betty Martin tip toe fine
D                            A
Big boys little boys up and down the holler
D                              A                      D
Pretty Betty Martin's got 'em all the time

D                                                                                              C
Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe, Pretty Betty Martin tip toe fine
D                                                                                                A             D
Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe, Put on your red dress and say you're mine

Look out here comes pretty Betty Martin
Pig tail swingin' and dress tail flyin'
Up the middle and down the middle
Lordy she sure can tip toe fine

Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe, Pretty Betty Martin tip toe fine
Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe, Put on your red dress and say you're mine

First time I saw pretty Betty Martin
Thought that gal could tiptoe fine
Last time I saw pretty Betty Martin
Stand back big boys this un's mine

Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe, Pretty Betty Martin tip toe fine
Pretty Betty Martin, tip toe, tip toe, Put on your red dress and say you're mine

Swing your partner up and down the holler
Swing that gal and pat her on the head
Swing 'er up on 'er tippy tippy tiptoes
She don't like biscuits feed her corn bread


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