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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleLord Randal my son Music Note (Music Score Available)
Roud No.10
Collected FromBeasant, Private
LocationWootton Basset
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByPafford, J H P
Alternative TitleChild 012
TunePafford, J H P
Date
Source Primary
Source SecondaryFolklore 63 [1952] p 26 – 29
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Where have you been all day Henry my son?
Where have you been all day my beloved one?
Fields dear mother,
Fields dear mother,
O make my bed for I've pains in my head and I want to lie down.

Verse 2

What did you have to eat Henry my son?
What did you have to eat my beloved one?
Snakes dear mother,
Snakes dear mother,
O make my bed for I've pains in my head and I want to lie down.

Verse 3

What colour where the snakes Henry my son?
What colour where the snakes my beloved one?
Green and yellow,
Green and yellow,
O make my bed for I've pains in my head and I want to lie down.

Verse 4

How shall I make your bed Henry my son?
How shall I make your bed my beloved one?
Long and narrow,
Long and narrow,
O make my bed for I've pains in my head and I want to lie down.

Verse 5

Where shall I make your bed Henry my son?
Where shall I make your bed my beloved one?
In the Church-yard,
In the Church-yard,
O make my bed for I've pains in my head and I want to lie down.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

J H P Pafford - 'It was sung on the march by men of a battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment stationed at and near Devizes in 1941. Enquiry revealed that the ballad had previously been known by only two men who had introduced it in their platoon where it became a popular marching song. One of these men, Private Sellars, lived near Bristol, and the other, Private Beasant, near Wootton Basset; both said that they had learnt it 'from other men' in their home districts, which indicates that the song was current in their communities in the West Country. Sellars' version was taken in 1941, Beasants' in 1951. ... The tune is written in 1951 from memory of the singing ten years earlier. ... With regard to the tune, although this is recorded from memory after a ten year interval, it is believed to be a close approximation to the tune actually sung. It could hardly have been more than this if it had been recorded at the time, for the singing was rough and ready and almost certainly varied among the men. The tune shows little affinity to recorded versions which have been noted: the closest perhaps being with that given by Sharp in English Folk Songs, Selected Edition, Vol. 2, p 2, 3. ... Another version which has close parallels in tune and words with the Wiltshire version is that recorded by Mr F C Collinson.

Note 2

Reproduced from the journal 'Folklore' by kind permission of the Folklore Society.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2008.

Music Score

Score for Lord Randal my son

Print Music Score

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