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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleNeedle cases
Roud No.1300
Collected FromDawes, Eli
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 152
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 22nd January, 1916, p 2, Part 15, No. 13: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 234, 235
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Once I was a farmer and followed my plough,
Don't you think I'm a charmer? Just look at me now!
All tattered in rags from bottom to top
Don't you think I'm a poor wandering rag shop?


Needle cases. Won't you buy one?
You'll buy one I'm sure.
You'll buy a case of needles
Of Jack's that so poor.

Verse 2

Once I had a table lined with good food
Both eating and drinking all that was good.
But now I've no table, no things and all that,
I'm obliged to get a crust with the crown of my hat.


Verse 3

Now since you will not buy one, I find I must leave
To leave you all here it does my heart grieve
It does my heart grieve, but if I should come back,
You'll buy a case of needles of poor Wandering Jack.

Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Alfred Williams - 'Needle cases was popular by reason of its pleasant air as by the words of the song. I have heard it in many villages around Lechlade. The copy I obtained of Mr Eli Dawes, Southrop.'

Note 2

The Ms and WGS versions are identical. The version printed in FSUT includes an additional verse similar to that found in Mi 647 which starts the song:

I'm a poor wandering sailor, my name it is Jack,
My clothes are all tattered, scarce hang to my back,
My belly is empty, my feet they are sore,
Who'll buy a case of needles of Jack's that so poor?

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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