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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleOh! Once they said my lip was red
Roud No.1331
Collected FromTanner, Charles
LocationBampton
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleWillow tree
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 3 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 215
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 1st July, 1916, p 3 , Part 35, No. 8: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 302
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

O once they said my lip was red,
But now is the scarlet pale,
And I myself a poor silly girl,
To notice their flattering tale.

Verse 2

But he swore he never would leave me,
And so fondly I believed thee
While the stars and the moon so sweetly
Shone over the willow tree.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms: This is the note to 'When moggy by the fire sat: 'The following three fragments, all quaint, and interesting, were told me by Charles Tanner, the aged morris dancer, of Bampton. They are of great age, as may be readily seen. The last piece was used in the Morris. The eleventh verse of the ballad, 'William and Margaret', by David Mallet, 1727, is similar to ours beginning, 'Once they said' though there can be no doubt that the Bampton lines are the earlier. Mr Tanner never knew the whole songs.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS / FSUT: 'The following two fragments, quaint, and interesting, were told me by Charles Tanner, the aged Morris dancer, of Bampton. They are of great age, as may be readily seen. The second piece was used in the Morris. The eleventh verse of the ballad, 'William and Margaret', by David Mallet, 1727, is similar to ours beginning, 'O once they said' though there can be no doubt that the Bampton lines are the earlier. Mr Tanner never knew the whole songs.'

Note 2

In the Ms the title on the sheet of paper is 'Morris'. The title in WGS and FSUT is Oh once they said my lip was red.

Note 3

The manuscript refers to three fragments, WGS and FSUT to two. The first Morris fragment is When moggy by the fire sat. The third piece cannot be identified with certainty but may well be 'Bonny green garters', Ox 226, a well known set of words to the Bampton tune.

Note 4

In Verse 1, line 2 the original words are:

But now it is scarlet pale

This is then replaced with:

And made the scarlet pale

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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