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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleOh dear, what can the matter be?
Roud No.1279
Collected FromTanner, Charles
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 213
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 1st April, 1916, p 3, Part 25, No. 12: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 201
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Oh dear what can the matter be?
Three old women tied to an apple tree!
One ran away, the others stopped till Saturday,
Oh dear what can the matter be?

Verse 2

Oh dear what can the matter be?
Johnny's so long at the fair!
He promised to buy me a basket of linen,
A little straw hat and a bunch of blue ribbon,
Before he had spent his very last shilling;
Oh dear! what can the matter be?
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'For the following two fragments I am indebted to my old friend, Charles Tanner, of Bampton. They were probably used by the Morris dancers in conjugation with their music at the Morris games. There is a more modern version of 'Oh dear what can the matter be'. I give the piece exactly as I heard it.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS / FSUT: 'Old Morris fragment.'

Note 2

Both this and "Then my love and I'll be married" Ox 221 appear on the same sheet in the manuscript and follow one another in FSUT, p 200 and 201.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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