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Lyr Req: The Cruel Mother (from Paul Clayton)

DigiTrad:
CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER
THE CRUEL MOTHER (4)
THE CRUEL MOTHER 2
WELLA, WELLA


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Roberto 05 Jun 04 - 04:18 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Jan 11 - 02:21 PM
Steve Gardham 07 Jan 11 - 03:35 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CRUEL MOTHER (from Paul Clayton)
From: Roberto
Date: 05 Jun 04 - 04:18 PM

I'd like to complete (and correct) this transcription from Paul Clayton's recording of the ballad THE CRUEL MOTHER (F. J. Child #20), British and American MURDER BALLADS, Washington 727. The main problems are in the 7th and 13th stanzas. Thanks. Roberto

THE CRUEL MOTHER
(from Paul Clayton)

1. There was a lady lived in York
All alone and alonee
Who fell in love with her father's clerk
Down by the greenwood sidey

2. She leaned her back against a tree
All alone and alonee
And there began her misery
Down by the greenwood sidey

3. She placed her foot against a thorn
All alone and alonee
And there she got her three babes born
Down by the greenwood sidey

4. She took a rope so long and neat
All alone and alonee
And tied them down both hands and feet
Down by the greenwood sidey

5. She took her penknife keen and sharp
All alone and alonee
And pierced those little babes to the heart
Down by the greenwood sidey

6. She took the satins was on her head
All alone and alonee
And rolled them in it when they were dead
Down by the greenwood sidey

7. She's ... a hole both deep and wide
All alone and alonee
And there she laid them side by side
Down by the greenwood sidey

8. She buried them under a branch of rue
All alone and alonee
And prayed to the Lord they'd never come to
Down by the greenwood sidey

9. She covered them over with a marble stone
All alone and alonee
And then returned as a maiden home
Down by the greenwood sidey

10. One day as she looked o'er the castle wall
All alone and alonee
She spied three babes a-playing with ball
Down by the greenwood sidey

11. O little babes if you were mine
All alone and alonee
I'd dress you up in satins fine
Down by the greenwood sidey

12. O mother dear when we were thine
All alone and alonee
You did not use us half so kind
Down by the greenwood sidey

13. You neither dress us in satin so good
All alone and alonee
You dressed us ... in our own heart's blood
Down by the greenwood sidey

14. O little babes if you can tell
All alone and alonee
How long on earth am I to dwell?
Down by the greenwood sidey

15. Seven long years on earth to dwell
All alone and alonee
The balance of you time you will spend it in Hell
Down by the greenwood sidey


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Cruel Mother (from Paul Clayton)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 02:21 PM

This might help:

From The Lost Beauties of the English Language by Charles Mackay (New York: J. W. Bouton, 1874), page 90:

Howk, to dig, or scrape up the earth like an animal, or without tools.
He's howket a grave by the light o' the moon.
Cumberland Ballads, The Sun shines fair on Carlisle wa'.

She has howked a hole both deep and wide,
And put them in both, side by side.
The Cruel Mother.
[It doesn't say which version of CRUEL MOTHER he was quoting from, however, and a Google search doesn't turn it up.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Cruel Mother (from Paul Clayton)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 03:35 PM

Interesting! I've checked all the versions in Child and Bronson and none of the longer versions have this 'deep and wide'-'side by side' rhyme. It could well be from one of the many literary rewrites. I quite like it though. It's a common rhyming combination in ballads. I think I'll add it to my version.


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