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Swallowed a fly

DigiTrad:
SWALLOWED A FLY
THERE WAS A YOUNG WOMAN WHO SWALLOWED A LIE


Related threads:
ADD:Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie (Meredith Tax) (12)
Lyr Req: Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly (28)
Why oh why did she swallow a fly? (32)
Tune Req: Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (13)
Political Song (Innocent Voter Swallowed Lie) (3)


belfast 29 Jun 03 - 12:54 PM
*daylia* 29 Jun 03 - 01:09 PM
delphinium 29 Jun 03 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jun 03 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 29 Jun 03 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Q 29 Jun 03 - 04:09 PM
GUEST,Q 29 Jun 03 - 04:24 PM
jacqui c 29 Jun 03 - 04:29 PM
*daylia* 30 Jun 03 - 09:20 AM
*daylia* 30 Jun 03 - 09:32 AM
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Subject: Swallowed a fly
From: belfast
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 12:54 PM

Ian McEwan's great novel "Atonement" is set in England in the 30's, sometime prior to WW2. A young girl in the novel quotes the line, "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly". Am I right in thinking this is a bit anachronistic? And, if it is, am I being incredibly petty for noticing it?


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: *daylia*
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 01:09 PM

belfast, according to this source, SOCAN copyrighted the song, written by Rose Bonne and Alan Mills, in 1952. If it was written the same year as the copyright, then yes, what you've described is a bit "anachronistic".

"And, if it is, am I being incredibly petty for noticing it?"

I don't think so. Certainly not on a serious folk-musician's site like Mudcat, anyway!

I LOVED that song as kid ... :>)   

daylia


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: delphinium
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 03:04 PM

However (to further the pedantry here), Mills wrote the song based on an already existing poem:

" ... the Burl Ives 1953 hit "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," [was] a children's song created by Canadian Alan Mills on the basis of a poem credited to an Englishwoman named Rose Bonne—Edith Fowke had brought the song to Ives' attention while he was on tour in Canada the year before." (quote from Shelley Posen in Canadian Journal for Traditional Music Vol. 21.)

To know for sure if McEwan goofed here, we'd have to check out the poem - i.e., was it written by the 1930s? And was it popular enough to have been quoted by a young girl then?

But you're probably right belfast - my quick google didn't bring up anything else useful, and I'm not quite pedantic enough to extend the search.


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 03:43 PM

I believe your author could be CORRECT.



All the sources I can locate simply say "TRADITIONAL."   Traditional would fit right in with this listing of pre-1930's songs from a collection by Burl Ives at the Library of Congress:




Type of Material: Music Sound Recording
Main Title: Folk songs [sound recording] : dramatic and humorous.
Published/Created: [New York, N.Y.] : Decca, [1953?]
Related Names: Ives, Burl, 1909- prf
Description: 1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 10 in.
Publisher Number: DL 5467 Decca
Contents: Goober peas -- Git along little dogie ; From here on up, the hills don't get any higher -- The golden vanity -- Hush little baby ; Tibby Dunbar ---I know an old lady ---Old Bangham -- Killigrew's soiree ---I wonder as I wander.
Notes: Program notes on slipcase.
Cast: Sung by Burl Ives.
Subjects: Folk songs, English.
LC Classification: Decca DL 5467
M1628.3 .F6 1953
Language Code: eng
Other System No.: (OCoLC)5297661
Quality Code: lccopycat



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 03:46 PM

Here is a fun variation - uncovered in the search for the Old Lady's roots.
http://soli.inav.net/~penfold/beth/oldlady.html

I Know an Old Lady
(tune: "I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly")
Words by Andy and Beth Wheeler, Nigel Ray
1992

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some gin
                        I don't know why she swallowed the gin
                        I think she'll win

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some scotch
                        She scratched her crotch and downed the scotch
                        She swallowed the scotch to chase the gin
                        But I don't know why she swallowed the gin
                        I think she'll win

                        I know an old lady who shot vermouth
                        How uncouth to shoot vermouth!
                        Etc.

                        I know an old lady who guzzled some cider
                        Which fizzled and wizzled and spizzled insider her

                        I know an old lady who shot tequila
                        She let out a squeal-a and shot the tequila
                        She shot the tequila to kill the cider

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some salt
                        It wasn't her fault she forgot the salt!

                        I know an old lady who drank triple sec
                        She said, "What the heck!" and swallowed the sec

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some rum
                        She started to cum as she swallowed the rum

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some vodka
                        She let out an odd ca' as she swallowed the vodka

                        I know an old lady who drank creme de menthe
                        It was her tenth so she drank creme de menthe

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some brandy
                        She thought it was candy so she swallowed the brandy

                        I know an old lady who drank amaretto
                        No one in the ghetto would drink amaretto
                        
                        I know an old lady who swallowed kahlua
                        What an odd thing to do'a, to swallow kahlua                        

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some beer
                        Oh how queer, to swallow some beer!

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some schnapps
                        She just opened her chops and she swallowed the schnapps

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some wine
                        By then it was fine to swallow the wine

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some whiskey
                        It made her quite frisky to swallow the whiskey

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some ouzo
                        She could still choose zo she swallowed the ouzo

                        I know an old lady who drank Irish cream
                        She let out a scream and down went the cream

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some ale
                        She turned very pale and she swallowed the ale

                        I know an old lady who swallowed some bourbon
                        She put on a turban and swallowed the bourbon

                        I know an old lady who drank everclear
                        She had no fear to drink everclear
                        She drank everclear to chase the bourbon
                        She swallowed the bourbon to chase the ale
                        She swallowed the ale to chase the cream
                        She swallowed the cream to chase the ouzo
                        She swallowed the ouzo to chase the whiskey
                        She swallowed the whiskey to chase the wine
                        She swallowed the wine to chase the schnapps
                        She swallowed the schnapps to chase the beer
                        She swallowed the beer to chase the kahlua
                        She swallowed kahlua to chase amaretto
                        She drank amaretto to chase the brandy
                        She swallowed the brandy to chase creme de menthe
                        She drank creme de menthe to chase the vodka
                        She swallowed the vodka to chase the rum
                        She swallowed the rum to chase triple sec
                        She drank triple sec to chase the salt
                        She swallowed the salt to chase the tequila
                        She swallowed tequila to kill the cider
                        She swallowed the cider to chase the vermouth
                        She shot the vermouth to chase the scotch
                        She swallowed the scotch to chase the gin
                        But I don't know why she swallowed the gin
                        I think she'll win

                        I knew an old lady who drank anisette
                        She's drunk, you bet!



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 04:09 PM

The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly is undoubtedly related to several other old women of the British Isles.

There was an old woman who lived in a lamp.
She hadn't no room to beetle her champ*
So she up with her beetle and broke the lamp
And then she had room to beetle her champ.

There was an old woman who lived in a sink.
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink.
Victuals and drink were the whole of her diet
And this poor old woman could never be quiet.

And related nursery rhymes.
"Sometimes in the spring our potatoes were peeled and this was to make champ. Champ was a child's delight, potatoes lightly mashed (beetled) with hot milk, seasoned with salt and pepper and scallions, served in big soup plates.... One summer I was down at Ballycarry for the haymaking and I was told that one allowed a quarter stone of potatoes for the champ and a pint of buttermilk for each haymaker."
Alice Kane, ed. Edith Fowke, 1983, "Songs and Sayings of an Ulster Childhood," p. 40.

It is likely that the old woman (lady) rhymes were at home in England as well as Ireland, and that they are quite old.

There was an old lady of Rumford
And she was a gay old lass
And many an honest penny got
By selling asperagrass-

Beginning of "Old Woman of Rumford," Bodleian Library, Harding B16 (187a), 1813-1838, J. Catnach. First four lines. This song (and similar) about an old woman and her daughter may be the adult inspiration for the children's rhymes. "There Was an Old Woman and She Was Blind" is another.


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 04:24 PM

There was an old woman lived under the hill
Darrall, Mc. Dill Darrall, da
If she ain't dead, she lives there still.
Darrall, Mc. Dill, Darrall, da.
And other verses including There was an old Darkie...
American Memory, "Mac Dill Darrel No. 3," De Masran, 1860.

There was an old woman who somewhere did dwell,
Who was burnt for a witch as the opera doth tell,
A daughter she had too, a gypsy so bold,
Who went to a house where an infant she stoled.
One of many verses, including one in which her baby is baked.
American Memory, "The Two Lovers," J. Andrews, Nineteenth Century.


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: jacqui c
Date: 29 Jun 03 - 04:29 PM

Hi Gargoyle

I hope you don't mind, but I've printed off your not so little ditty to give to a friend, who may be persuaded to sing it (or some of it)at our local singaround. He's already done Bomb Iraq, which did the rounds recently to the tune of When You're Happy, and a political version of Early One Morning. If he does I'll let you know the reaction.


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Jun 03 - 09:20 AM

Gargoyle, thanks for the lyrics -- gives me a whole new way of thinking about rum.   :>)

And Q, thanks for those interesting correspondences. See, a little pedantry does have it's rewards ...

daylia


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Subject: RE: Swallowed a fly
From: *daylia*
Date: 30 Jun 03 - 09:32 AM

PS -- ah, um, ahem! Any idea what KIND of rum she was drinking?


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