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Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas

DigiTrad:
T STANDS FOR THOMAS
T STANDS FOR THOMAS (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: P Stands for Paddy (7)
Lyr Req: p stands for Paddy (5) (closed)
Lyr Req: P is for Paddy (6)
LYR ADD: P for Paddy (+RA) (2)


GUEST,Peter Allum 21 Oct 03 - 04:39 AM
Les from Hull 21 Oct 03 - 08:45 AM
GUEST,erinmaidin 21 Oct 03 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,erinmaidin 21 Oct 03 - 09:13 AM
Amos 21 Oct 03 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 21 Oct 03 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 21 Oct 03 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,eliza c 21 Oct 03 - 11:34 AM
Dead Horse 21 Oct 03 - 12:42 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Oct 03 - 02:18 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Oct 03 - 02:48 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Aug 09 - 12:24 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Aug 09 - 12:51 PM
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Subject: "Wm" or "W E and N"
From: GUEST,Peter Allum
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 04:39 AM

There is a line in the chorus that reads "W E and N stand for my sweet William". http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/pages/tiTTHOMAS.html

It even sounds like that on the Watersons' record. But it makes no sense; whereas "W wi' an M" would make perfect sense as Wm is a common abbreviation for William.

Can anyone explain how "W E and N" could stand for William?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: Les from Hull
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 08:45 AM

Dislecksia - sorry I couldn't spell it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: GUEST,erinmaidin
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 09:11 AM

The original song I think you're looking for is called "P is for Paddy"
i suppose


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: GUEST,erinmaidin
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 09:13 AM

sorry...actually "P Stands For Paddy"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: Amos
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 09:21 AM

I suspect it is an error in transcription from a sung version.

Unless there is some "clever young man's" mystery to it.


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 10:17 AM

P comes before T - in the alphabet anyway! As for the songs, I wouldn't be so sure....

I've usually heard it as "double-you emm is for my sweet willu-um"!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 10:19 AM

.. willie-um!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 11:34 AM

When I learned it I thought it was "W E and M", but your explanation makes more sense.
Why does it naturally follow that P stands for Paddy would be the original?
cheers,
xe


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: Dead Horse
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 12:42 PM

I am sure it is W, E & M, Stands for my sweet William.
Several old manuscripts I have read have the name William shortened to Wem. Therein lies the answer!! So there! Snurrrrrr.
I dont have the lyrics to hand, but have often heard it sung


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 02:18 PM

The song is found under various names and in many forms, pretty much everywhere English is spoken. It is number 419 in the Roud Folk Song Index. "T stands for Thomas" often occurs in it; "P stands for Paddy" much less frequently, it seems, but that particular form (current in Ulster tradition) has become something of a standard of the folk revival, and has been very widely recorded by revival performers who seem in the main to have learned it from each other rather than from traditional sources, so it's not surprising that some people may assume that it is the older or "proper" form, when it is only one variant of many. Currency in the revival tells us, of itself, nothing about currency in earlier tradition.

As it happens, the two nineteenth century broadside editions of the song that can be seen at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads  mention neither Thomas nor Paddy, though they do have "W stands for sweet William / And J for my love John":

Johnny is a handsome man / Sweet John is the handsomest man


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: T Stands for Thomas
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 02:48 PM

I should also mention that the set recorded by the Watersons was derived "partly from a version collected by Cecil Sharp from a Gloucestershire gipsy, Kathleen Williams" (A.L. Lloyd, sleevenotes, For Pence and Spicy Ale, 1975). Mrs Williams' set was printed in The Journal of the Folk Song Society (vol. VIII, issue 31, 1927: 25), and the verse in question was:

Oh it's T stands for Thomas, as you might suppose,
And it's J.O.N. stands for John,
And W.E.N. stands for Sweet William,
Because he is the cleverest young man.

There are any number of possibilities as to how Mrs Williams arrived at W.E.N., but all involve speculation. It's not unlikely, for instance, that she wasn't very good at spelling. A mis-hearing for "W and M", given the standard abbreviation Wm., seems as likely as anything else.


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Subject: Lyr Add: INDIFFERENT DAMSEL / T STANDS FOR THOMAS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 12:24 PM

From an unsigned article "Irish Harvest Homes and Their Minstrelsy Fifty Years Since" in The Dublin University Magazine, Vol. LXII, July to December, 1863, page 685:

The last melody we shall quote is of English origin. It was sung by a servant at the "big house," a well-looking, ignorant, but susceptible damsel, to whom a few loving words said to her in private by Paddy Meyler, made up the summum bonum of existence, but who would scratch at Paddy's face, or if at table, throw a potato at him, if he attempted to address a word of pleasantry to her. Her voice was marvellously sweet, but she made only poor sense of parts of the ballad, which must here be called—

"THE INDIFFERENT DAMSEL.

" 'Come sit you down, my darling,' he said,
'Upon this meadow so green,
For I think it's seven long years and more
Since together you and I have been.'
'I'll not sit down with you,' she said,
'Now, nor at any other time,
For you've given the rose to strange young girls,
And left me the rue and thyme.

"I'll not believe what an old man says,
For his days they are not long,
And I'll not believe what a young man says,
For he's sworn to many a one.
He's sworn to many a one, my dear,
And many a false story he'll tell;
But when he has gained a young maid's heart,
It's to you, purty girl, farewell.

"T stands for Thomas, as I suppose,
And J for my love John;
W it stands for Sweet William,
But Johnny is a truer one.
And I will climb a higher tree,
And rob a richer nest,
And come down again without a fall,
And wed the man I love best.' "

It may be ill-naturedly remarked that the subject-matter of this ballad is obscure, that there is a want of some connecting stuff evident between the last two verses; furthermore, that the various pieces do not possess merit sufficient to entitle them to preservation. But let our caviller remark that these identical pieces are selected as they were in reality popular at the time and in the place where the action of our sketch occurred. We will not defend the taste of the company. What a number of people disposed to be entertained, required was, that the singer, male or female, should have a sweet voice, and that the air should be good. These conditions granted, they resigned themselves to enjoyment, and forgot to criticize.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWEET JOHN IS THE HANDSOMEST MAN
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 12:51 PM

From the Bodleian Library broadsides collection, Harding B 28(27), Liverpool, "between 1820 and 1824":


SWEET JOHN IS THE HANDSOMEST MAN

As I walked out on a May morning to hear the birds so sweet,
I leaned my back to a cold garden wall to hear true-lovers meet;
To hear true-lovers meet, my dear, and to know what they might say,
That I might know a little more of their mind before I did go away.

"Come sit you down, my dear," he said, "upon this pleasant green,
For it's full three quarters of a year or more since together you and I have been."
"I'll not sit down, young man," she said, "neither now nor any other time.
You're too much engaged with another pretty maid, and your heart's no more on mine.

"For when your heart was mine, my dear, and your hand leaned on my breast,
You made me believe what a false lover said, that the sun did rise in the west.
I'll climb the highest tree, and rob the thrush's nest,
And I will come down without a fall, with the young man I like best.

"W stands for sweet William, and J for my love John,
But let all the world say what they will, sweet John is the handsomest man.

"You need not believe what an old man says. His days they are not long.
Nor you need not believe what a false lover says, for they are sworn to many a one.
They are swore to many a one, my dear. Many false stories do they tell.
Here's adieu, adieu, my pretty fair maids. Adieu, my pretty fair maids, farewell."


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