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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleWill the weaver
Roud No.432
Collected FromMessenger, Charles
LocationCerney Wick
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 1 - Indexes, lecture notes, Berkshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Bk 27
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 17th June, 1916, p 3, Part 33, No. 3: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 106 – 108
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

"Mother, mother, I am married,
I wish I had no longer tarried;
For the women kind, I do declare,
They often will the breeches wear."

Verse 2

"O son, o son, what's the matter?
Does she scold or does she chatter?
Or does she out of reason run?
Is that true, my loving son?

Verse 3

You go home and kindly love her,
Then perhaps she may recover;
Give my daughter what's her due,
And let me hear no more of you.

Verse 4

Give her gold and give her treasure,
Give her all things out of measure;
And if she does again rebel,
Take a stick and bang her well."

Verse 5

"I saw with her Will the weaver,
Very free and close together,
At the threshold of the door;
They went in - I saw no more.

Verse 6

Then I went home in a great wonder,
Rapping at the door like thunder;"
"Who's there? Who's there?" the weaver cried,
"'Tis my husband, and you must hide."

Verse 7

Then up the chimney he did venture,
The while she did her husband enter;
I searched the house and chambers round,
Nowhere in the world could he be found.

Verse 8

There I stood like one amazed,
And straightway up the chimney gazed,
And there I saw that wretched soul,
Sitting on the chimney pole.

Verse 9

"Ay! Ay! My lad! I'm glad I've found thee,
I'll neither hand thee, kill or drown thee,
But I'll stifle thee with smoke."
Thus I thought, but nothing spoke.

Verse 10

Then I made it my endeavour,
For to stifle Will the weaver,
Making up a good, roaring fire,
For to please my heart's desire.

Verse 11

My wife cries out with free good will,
"Loving husband, a man you'll kill.
Since I've been your lawful wife,
Take him down and spare his life."

Verse 12

"Then from the chimney I boldly took him,
And most callously I shook him,
And at the end of every stroke,
"Come here no more to stop my smoke."

Verse 13

I took a stick and well did beat him,
And most cruelly did ill treat him,
And, to his very great surprise,
Sent him home with two black eyes.

Verse 14

The neighbours met him on the green,
Crying, "Wherever hast thou been?"
The weaver answered them in joke,
"Hanging the bacon in the smoke."

Verse 15

Will the weaver, Will the weaver,
None so black as Will the weaver!
Nor a devil of a chimney sweeper,
Half so black as Will the weaver!
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'The two following songs [Butter and cheese and all], it will be seen, though not quite similar in subject, both relate to the adventures of one who was surprised in the house of another, and was forced to seek refuge up the chimney, from which he was driven and expelled with indignity. I had great difficulty in obtaining the complete copies. Will the weaver I traced form Wroughton to Wanborough, thence to Latton, thence to Watchfield, waited some months for a communication from Kent, whither a singer had removed, and finally confirmed the copy recently at Arlington, Bibury. Words chiefly of Alfred Smith, Watchfield, Berkshire; and Charles Messenger, Cerney Wick.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'The two following songs [Butter and cheese and all], it will be seen, though not quite similar in subject, both relate to the adventures of one who was surprised in the house of another, and was forced to seek refuge up the chimney, from which he was driven and expelled with indignity. I had great difficulty in obtaining the complete copies. Will the weaver I traced form Wroughton to Wanborough, thence to Latton, thence to Watchfield, and finally confirmed the copy recently at Arlington, Bibury. Words of Alfred Smith, Watchfield, Berkshire; and Charles Messenger, Cerney Wick.'

Note 2

There are minor punctuation differences between the Ms and the printed versions, usually the use of a hyphen instead of a comma at the end of a line.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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