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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBailiff's daughter of Islington
Roud No.483
Collected FromCollis, Alice Matilda Mrs.
LocationAston
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleChild No 105
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 187
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 1st January, 1916, p 2, Part 12, No. 1: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 174, 175
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

'Twas of a youth, and a well loved youth,
'Twas of a squire's son,
Who courted a bailiff's daughter dear,
And she lived at Islington.

Verse 2

When his parents came for to know
Of his false and foolish mind,
They sent him up to London town,
Seven years to be confined.

Verse 3

When he had served seven long years,
And his lover he never had seen,
But many a tear had he shed for her
When little she thought of him.

Verse 4

I'll pull off my old attire,
Put on my rich attire,
I'll go down to Islington town,
After my true love to inquire.

Verse 5
As he was a-riding along the dusty road,
He met a pretty fair maid;
She stepped up to him, and she said - "Kind sir,
Can you ease me of one pain?"

Verse 6

"Oh, yes, my pretty fair maid." said he,
"Can you tell me where you were born;
And if you know the bailiff's daughter dear
That was courted by a squire if Islington?"

Verse 7

"Oh yes, kind sir," she then did say;
"I knew her long, I know,
But I must tell you, very kind sir,
She has been dead long ago."

Verse 8

"Then I'll pull off my rich attire,
My bridle and my gold also,
And I'll go to some foreign country
Where no one does me know."

Verse 9

"Oh stop! Oh stop! You well loved lord,
She is not dead but alive;
She stands just by your horse's side
Ready to be your bride."

Verse 10

He kissed her and embraced her,
He kissed her o'er and o'er;
To think he should meet with his own true love
Which he thought he would see no more.

Verse 11

The very next town that they came to
He gave her a gold ring;
The very next town that they came to
He gave her a grand wedding.

Verse 12

All you young maids take a warning by me,
And never your love despise,
For if he's gone away he will soon return,
And will make you his lawful bride.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'An old ballad that figures in the collection of Pepys, and has many times been reprinted. Our version differs slightly from that commonly circulated and has two stanzas at the end which I have not seen elsewhere. I think the piece as it appears in Pepys bears the evidence of polish: the irregularity of rhymes in the present version would not have seemed fitting to his ear. It is to be noted however, that the village minstrel cares not so much for accuracy of rhyme as for accuracy of sense: provided the story runs well he will overlook deficiency of versification. I obtained my copy of Mrs Collis, Aston, near Bampton, Oxfordshire. I pointed out to her the differences between her song and that more commonly known, and she said that she was aware of them, but she was entirely convinced that hers was the true and oldest version. Her grandmother sang the song, and she used to say that the version containing the line 'One penny, one penny, kind sir' had been altered from the original. The Islington of the ballad is supposed to be an Islington in Norfolk.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: Copy of Mrs Collis, Aston, near Bampton, Oxfordshire. Her grandmother sang the song, and she used to say that the version containing the line 'One penny, one penny, kind sir' had been altered from the original. The Islington of the ballad is supposed to be an Islington in Norfolk.'

Note 2

The manuscript file contains a note stating that the manuscript is missing. There is another version of the song in the Miscellaneous file Mi 529.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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