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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleSo early in the morning
Roud No.1274
Collected FromPitts, Esther Mrs.
LocationEastleach
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 82
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 15th July, 1916, p 3, Part 37, No. 6: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 178
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

South Caroline is a sultry clime,
Where we used to work in the summer time;
Massa neath the shade would lay,
While we poor niggers toiled all day.

Chorus

So early in the morning,
So early in the morning,
So early in the morning,
Before the break of day.

Verse 2

When I was young, I used to wait
On massa's table, lay the plate,
Pass him bottles when him dry,
Brush away the blue tailed fly.

Chorus

Verse 3

Now massa's dead, an' gone to rest,
Of all the massas he was the best;
I never him like, since I was born,
Miss him now he's dead and gone.

Chorus
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS / FSUT: 'The following, as may be seen, is not exactly an English folk song, though it was popular about the Thames Valley, sixty or seventy years ago, and especially around Sherborne where it was a great favourite with the girls and women at work in the fields. Obtained of Mrs Pitt, Eastleach, Gloucestershire.'

Note 2

Attitudes to language have changed significantly in the years since Williams published the words first in 1916 and then later in 1923. The language in Verse 1 is unacceptable today but I have reproduced it as collected only because to attempt to change it would be at odds with my attempt to transcribe the words as accurately as possible.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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