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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBetsy and Mary
Roud No.1318
Collected FromHarris, Charles
LocationOaksey
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 429
Source SecondaryWilliams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 283, 284
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Till I fell in love I was happy enow,
At threshing or reaping, at harrow or plough;
At sunrise each morn with the lark I was springing,
And just like the lark I was always a-singing.

Verse 2

Oh, Cupid, quite envious of my happy life,
Put it into my head that I wanted a wife;
About love and such like things completely a dunce,
I fell slap in love with two wenches at once.

Verse 3

Oh, Mary's as fair as an angel could be,
Eyes like sweet Betsy I never did see;
I tried all in vain my hot feelings to smother,
By looking first at one and then at the other.

Verse 4

If I went to see Mary to her I was blind,
Betsy directly came into my mind;
If I went to see Betsy it was quite the contrary,
For I was always sure to be thinking of Mary.

Verse 5

When Betsy looked at me, or when Mary smiled,
I felt all my senses completely beguiled;
'Twas all no use to look this way or that way,
Like a donkey betwixt two bundles of hay.

Verse 6

Things went on like for five or six weeks,
And I never could muster up courage to speak;
Till, all of a sudden, they both went to church,
And left me a bachelor quite in the lurch.

Verse 7

Young men, be advised, and get it into your sconce,
And never go courting two wenches at once;
For with one lass you may work your way safe and sound,
But between two stools your rump comes to the ground.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Alfred Williams - 'An old song; words of Charles Harris, Oaksey, Wiltshire'

Note 2

In the manuscript a chorus has been crossed out. It reads:

Fal di lal riddle o! Fal di lal riddle to!
Fal di la right foe the riddle di dee.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2007.

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