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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleArthur O'Bradley o
Roud No.365
Collected FromPoole, Walter James
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 427
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th April, 1916, p 3, Part 27, No. 3
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Twas on the twenty ninth of May,
The pretty maidens they did say
A Maypole they would have,
And one that was fine and brave;
So sallybub they brought up,
That everyone might sup -
"And I'll drink out of my cup,
For my name it is Arthur O'Bradley O."

Verse 2

So Arthur a-courting went
Against his friends' consent,
And a sweetheart he would have,
And one that was fine and brave:
His sweetheart had one eye,
Her nose was all awry,
She'd a mouth from ear to ear,
And teeth as rotten as a pear,
And her name was draggle tailed Dorothy O.

Verse 3

The old woman squeaked and cried,
And called her daughter aside,
Saying - "Daughter, you need not fear;
You are too young in years."
"Peace, mother," said she,
"Don't trouble your head about me,
I'll speak to a young man or two,
Besides my Arthur O'Bradley O."

Verse 4

"Get out, old woman," said he,
"I'll have as good as she.
When Death my father does call,
He straight will leave me all:
Barrels and bucket and broom,
A dozen of old wooden spoons,
Besides a rack and a reel,
And the rim of an old spinning wheel.

Verse 5

A cheese rat and a cheese ladder,
And two jem locks together,
A cart nail and a whimble,
A pack needle and a thimble,
And the last to fall to my lot,
A jolly old mustard pot;
A dozen of brassen buttons
Tied on a leather string,
Two left handed mills,
And a jolly old curtain ring.

Verse 6

Then a wedding we will have,
And one that is fine and brave;
We'll invite our neighbours round,
One out of every town.
There's old Mother Cobb in a cobble,
And old Mother Wobb in a wobble,
And in came neighbour Reef,
And he laid on upon beef;
And in came neighbour Sutton,
And he laid on upon mutton;
In come neighbour Stork,
And he laid on upon pork;
In came Stephen Ball,
With the round of his rump before,
And in came industrious Will,
Ready to eat his fill,
At the wedding of Arthur O'Bradley O.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms: WGS: A few weeks ago we printed a version of the song, Arthur OBradley, and at the same time intimated that there existed, in the neighbourhood, another copy, which I for certainty traced at Bishopstone, Wiltshire. Since then, a correspondent, Mr Fredrick Newman, of Cold Ashton, Bourton on the Water, has kindly written out the copy from memory, as he heard it sung by a neighbouring farmer at Bamton, some years ago. I have also had the good fortune to discover it at Ewen near to the Thameshead. The version is almost identical with that given in Bells Songs of the English peasantry and is undoubtedly of great age, since references are made to the composition by Ben Jonson, Dekker and others of the Elizabethan writers.

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: This famous old piece was popular at Bishopstone and Stratton St Margaret. I also found it at Ewen and Bourton on the Water. There were two versions; the following is the more complete. Words of Mr Newman, Cold Aston, Gloucestershire.

Note 2

Following the fair copy in Williams hand there is another copy perhaps in the hand of Mr Newman.

Note 3

In Verse 5 Line 15 the FSUT text is:

Lampfish, limpets and dabs,

In Verse Six two lines are deleted after Line 8:

But Arthur being first in the throng,
Swore he would suing the first song

In Verse 7, Line 5 the WGS and FSUT text is:

Whilst some only one tooth had gotten,

Note 4

Ben Schwartz, a user from the USA suggests a source for the music to Arthur OBradley O. The music which accompanies this version of the song is taken from, Chappell, W.: Popular music of the olden time, London, 1859, Vol. 2, pp 603, 604.

The difficulty with the tune and the words as collected by Williams is the wide variation in the length of the verses. It will be seen that the text for Verse 1 does not use all the notes transcribed.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2011.



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