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Lyr Req: Wanton Wife of Castlegate

ooh-aah 05 Apr 03 - 11:48 PM
masato sakurai 05 Apr 03 - 11:54 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM
Jim Dixon 17 Jun 10 - 12:59 AM
Jim Dixon 18 Jun 10 - 02:50 PM
Steve Gardham 18 Jun 10 - 06:33 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: wanton wife of castlegate
From: ooh-aah
Date: 05 Apr 03 - 11:48 PM

Well, does anyone know the lyrics?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: wanton wife of castlegate
From: masato sakurai
Date: 05 Apr 03 - 11:54 PM

The Watersons' version is HERE.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WANTON WIFE OF CASTLEGATE (Watersons)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Apr 03 - 09:54 AM

Lyrics and commentary copied from

(Trad. arr. Watersons)

Oh, there was a wife in Castlegate but I won't tell of her name,
For she is both brisk and buxom and she likes a fumbling game.
She can nip and she can trip, me boys, as she runs over the plain,
Till she meets with the jolly boating man and she's off with him again.

"Well," he says, "me Molly honey, and could you fancy me?
Come on up to my ship's cabin and contented we will be,
For I have got gold and silver and of you I will take care,
And a whopping great pair of horns, me gal, your husband he shall wear.

"For your husband he's a silly old fool and blind as blind can be,
And so to wear the horns, me gal, contented he must be.
He can wriggle them at his leisure. He can do the best he can
While his wife she takes her pleasure with the jolly boating man.

"Well, at Pomfret clock and tower, me gal, we've silver in great store,
And I wish that I could find it, for then we'd have us a roar,
For we'd supper, wine, and whisky. Keep the beer ale in store.
Here's to you, me lads and lasses, and to tipplers evermore!"

[Sung by The Watersons (Lal, Mike and Norma Waterson and John Harrison) on "A Yorkshire Garland." Like most of the tracks from this LP, it was re-released in 1994 on the CD "Early Days."

[A. L. Lloyd said in the "A Yorkshire Garland" sleeve notes:

[A saucy song, this one, originating in York probably in the early years of the seventeenth century, and published as a broadside by the London printers Milbourn and Thackeray in the 1670s. In the course of time, as commonly happens, generations of singers trimmed off many inessentials and improved the song while slightly roughening it. The come-all-ye style tune probably got attached early in the nineteenth century. It's of a kind hardly known before on this side of the Irish Channel.

[Acknowledgements: Transcribed from the singing of The Watersons by Garry Gillard.]

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From: Jim Dixon
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 12:59 AM

From The Yorkshire Anthology By James O. Halliwell-Phillipps (London: Printed for private circulation only, 1851), page 363:

or, The Boat-Man's Delight
To its own proper new Tune.

1. Farewel both hawk and hound,
Farewel both shaft and bow,
Farewel all merry pastimes,
And pleasures on a row;
Farewel my best beloved,
In whom I put my trust;
For it's neither grief nor sorrow
Shall harbour in my breast.

2. When I was in my prime,
And in my youthful days,
Such mirth and merry pastime,
And pleasure had always;
But now my mind is changed,
And altered very sore,
Because my best beloved
Will fancy me no more.

3. I lov'd her, and I prov'd her,
And I call'd her my dear;
But alas! my beloved
Would not let me come near.
I often would have kist her,
But she always said me nay;
More as ten times have I blest her
Since that she went away.

4. Tinkers they are drunkards,
And masons they are blind,
And boat-men they make cuckolds,
Because they'r used kind.
But if you meet a bonny lass,
With black and rowling eyes,
You must kiss her and embrace her,
You may know the reason why.

5. There lives a wife in Castle-Gate,
But I'l not declare her name,
She is both brisk and bucksome,
And likes a jolly game.
She can knip it, she can trip it,
As she treads along the plain;
Till she meet some jolly boat-man
That will turn her back again.

6. Her husband is a quiet man,
And an honest man is he,
And so to wear the horns, sir,
Contented he must be.
He may wind them at his leisure,
And do the best he can;
For his wife will take her pleasure,
And love a jolly boat-man.

7. At Pomfret clock and tower,
There's gold and silver store;
I hope therefore to find her,
And then, brave boys, we'l roar;
We'l drink sherry and be merry,
We'l have beer and ale good store,
And drink to my lass, and thy lass,
And all good lasses more.

8. My love she is a fair one,
And a bonny one is she,
Most dearly do I love her,
Her name is Mally;
Her cheeks are like the roses
That blossoms fresh in June;
O she's like some new strung instrument
That's newly put in tune.

9. O my Mally, my Honey,
O, can thou fancy me?
Then let us home haste,
Where we will merry be.
For good gold and silver
For thee I'le take care,
And for a large pair of horns
For thy husband to wear.

10. You young men and batchelors,
That hears this pretty jest,
Be not of the opinion
This couple did profess;
But be kind to your wives,
And your sweethearts alway,
And God will protect you
By night and by day!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wanton Wife of Castlegate
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 02:50 PM

The Roxburghe Ballads, Part 21, Vol 7 edited by Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth (Hertford: The Ballad Society, 1891), page 369, has an additional verse that is not in the above version. I fear some bowdlerization has been at work:
    [4b] You must hug her and kiss her, and strive to make her yield;
    For a faint-hearted Soldier did never gain the Field.
    So strive to lay her [Pride] down there, and give the thing you know,
    And when that she receives it, she'l be loath to let you go.
I'm not sure what to make of the word "Pride" in this verse. Was it added by the editor to make the line scan better? Or is it a bowdlerizing substitution for an over-explicit word? I suppose we won't know until we see the original broadside.

Maybe that will be possible someday at the University of California at Santa Barbara's English Ballad Archive, but for the time being, it says "Image coming soon."

It's not at the Bodleian; I've already checked.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Wanton Wife of Castlegate
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 06:33 PM

Just a hunch but if no source for tune or words from tradition are given the strongest likelihood is that the Watersons' pared down version is a Bert special.

What exactly is the image you are waiting for? Apart from odd bits of punctuation Ebsworth was very faithful to the original texts he used as sources For Roxburghe Ballads.

The first 3 stanzas he states are by a different author and are probably from some theatrical piece.

Roxburghe says there is a copy in Euing 372 which I'll check out tomorrow.

Ebsworth also rants at length on Burns appropriating lines 3 & 4 of stanza 9 for his 'My Love is like a red red rose'. He doesn't explain the bits in brackets as far as I can see. I assume they are his interpolations for missing words.

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