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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleMaid's wager
Roud No.34
Collected FromUnknown
LocationLechlade
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleChild No 043
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 210
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 30th October, 1915, p 2, Part 5, No. 3: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 75
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

A wager, a wager I lay unto thee,
Of a hundred bright guineas to ten,
That a maid I will go to the bonny, blooming fields,
And a maid I will return back again.

Verse 2

And when she got to the bonny, blooming fields,
Her true love was there fast asleep,
With his horse and his hounds, and his fine silken gown,
And his sword it lay down by his feet.

Verse 3

Three times she did dance round the crown of his head,
Three times round the soles of his feet,
Three times she did kiss on his cherry, cherry lips,
As he lay on the ground fast asleep.

Verse 4

She took the diamond ring all off her left hand,
And placed it on his right thumb,
Saying - "That's to be a token when he does awake,
That his lady has been here but she's gone."

Verse 5

And when he awoke out of his firm sleep,
Seeing the ring on his right thumb,
Then he stamped and he swore, and his own hair he tore,
Saying - "My lady has been here but she's gone."

Verse 6

"Oh master! Oh Master! You should sleep more by night,
And not so much by the day;
For if you had been waking when your lady had been here,
Perhaps a maid she had never gone away."
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'A very old song, perhaps an abridgement of a longer ballad. A characteristic of the oldest pieces however, was their brevity and apparent incompleteness, by reason of which the reader or singer was left to mentally supply the deficiency. The songs where they actually did not express, suggested the situations and the details of the story. Where the pieces occur at greater length it may usually be taken for granted that the originals have been worked upon, developed, and - weakened. Obtained of Charles Tanner, the old Morris dancer of Bampton. Heard also at Lechlade.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'A very old song, perhaps an abridgement of a longer ballad. A characteristic of the oldest pieces however, was their brevity and apparent incompleteness. The songs, where they actually did not express, suggested the situations and the details of the story. Where the pieces occur at greater length it may usually be taken for granted that the originals have been worked upon, developed, and - weakened. Obtained of Charles Tanner, the old Morris dancer of Bampton. Heard also at Lechlade. The Tanners were a noted family of Morris dancers, and Mr Charles Tanner was one of my best songsters, a naïve and charming old man. He died in 1922, at the age of fourscore years.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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