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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleRosy May
Roud No.12890
Collected FromBartlett, Joseph
LocationDown Ampney
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 75
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th July, 1916, p 3, Part 37, No. 7
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Come darkies, listen unto me,
A story I will relate,
It happened in the valley
Of the Carolina State.


O dearest Rosy May,
You're as lovely as the day!
Your eyes are bright, they shine at night,
When the moon is far away.

Verse 2

It was down in the meadows,
Where I used to mow the hay,
And I always worked the harder,
When I thought of Rosy May.


Verse 3

My master gave me a holiday,
He said he'd give me more,
I very kindly thanked him,
As I rowed my boat from shore.


Verse 4

Then down the river I did go,
With my heart so light and gay,
To the cottage of my own true love,
My dearest Rosy May.

Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'I suppose these 'Darkie songs' as they are called, properly belong to America, though I have been led to entertain the idea that they may never have been sung there. They were certainly very popular here. I am sure that 'Rosy May' was sung in the Thames Valley as early as 1840, and it may be older than that. Copy obtained of Joseph Bartlett, Down Ampney.'

Note 2

The manuscript also carries a note in blue crayon, '*'2 "Rosy May" to follow "So early in the morning".' This refers to the order in WGS.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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