Author Topic: Add: The Blacksmith

Jon Freeman

Posted - 19 Aug 02 - 11:22 am

I still have to sort my ABC out but thought I'd add another song, one I'm quite fond of, particularly the tune...

The Blacksmith

A blacksmith courted me, nine months and better.
He fairly won my heart, wrote me a letter.
With his hammer in his hand, he looked so clever,
And if I was with my love, I'd live forever.

And where is my love gone, with his cheeks like roses,
And his good black billycock on, decked with primroses?
I'm afraid the scorching sun will shine and burn his beauty,
And if I was with my love, I'd do my duty.

Strange news is come to town, strange news is carried,
Strange news flies up and down that my love is married.
I wish them both much joy, though they don't here me,
And may God reward him well for the slighting of me.

'What did you promise when you sat beside me?
You said you would marry me, and not deny me.'
'If I said I'd marry you, it was only for to try you.
So bring your witness love, and I'll never deny you.'

'Oh, witness have I none save God Almighty.
And He'll reward you well for slighting of me.'
Her lips grew pale and white, it made her poor heart tremble
To think she loved one, and he proved deceitful.

Source: The Penguin Book Of English Folk Songs

Notes: Sung by Mrs Powell, nr Weobly, Herefordshire (RVW 1909)

ABC: to follow.

Edited By Jon Freeman - 8/19/2002 11:22:39 AM


Posted - 19 Aug 02 - 11:25 am


If you've managed to sort your midi to abc conversion problems, I have midis of the whole Penguin book which I'll happily send you.

I sequenced them and posted them to mudcat a couple of years back.


Jon Freeman

Posted - 19 Aug 02 - 11:29 am

Thanks a lot Ed. I'll give you a shout when I get things sorted.


Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 19 Aug 02 - 12:22 pm

Ed, I'm still enjoying all the Penquin songs you posted. I was just reading at Mudcat about all the Blacksmith threads (one of my favorites too, Jon) and I'm currently confused about the tune.

Also, I'm confused about the database here. It seems that the information is just so overwhelming...but one thought I've had...I seem to zero in on Ralph Vaughan Williams songs and tunes. I wonder if anyone has done similar work to Ed's Penquin work with RVW tunes.

Jon Freeman

Posted - 19 Aug 02 - 12:31 pm

Mary, I don't know about the work on RVW tunes but if nothing has been done in that area, it may well be a worthwhile projcet for this place.

Re the database confusion: Please explain further in the thread where we are talking thoughts/feelings etc.


Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 19 Aug 02 - 03:02 pm

A particular strength of the internet is the opportunity it provides to make generally available material which is out-of-print or otherwise hard to obtain. I'm not sure that we should be putting up too much material that comes from books in print, though, as these have to make their publishers and editors at least some money so that further publications are possible. Roy Harris's book Bushes and Briars: Folk Songs Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, for example, is available from Llanerch Press as a revised paperback reprint of the original Everyman edition.

When we put all that "Penguin" material up at the Mudcat, the book had been out of print for years and there seemed no prospect of its re-appearance. That situation has now changed. We now know who owns the rights to original material contained in it, and there is a good chance of a new edition, without "Penguin" in the title, of course. Some of the songs, as it turns out, appeared in heavily-edited forms and would in those forms be in copyright. It is to be hoped that any new edition would identify editorial modifications and collations more precisely than did the original editors, who in some cases were not so frank as they implied, and as I had previously thought.

No harm in putting up some material, of course, but I'd counsel against any wholesale inclusions from it or from books that are in print; one thinks of geese and golden eggs.

Edited By Malcolm Douglas - 8/19/2002 3:02:27 PM

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 20 Aug 02 - 03:35 pm

Roud 816

The editors note "Sung by Mrs. Powell, nr. Weobley, Herefordshire. [Collected by] Ralph Vaughan Williams 1909." They also state that it appeared in The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol.VIII issue 34, 1930 (page 208).

That isn't the whole story, though. As it appeared in the Journal, there was no text attached, for Vaughan Williams had noted the tune only. Where did the words come from, then? Roy Palmer asked Bert Lloyd, who said "The song was contributed by R.V.W., who had a special liking for it. To the best of my recollection the words are as he wanted, but where he got them, I don't know". (Quoted in Bushes and Briars: Folk Songs Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams.) Palmer goes on to speculate that the text may have been adapted from a broadside by Such, a copy of which can be seen at the Bodleian:

The blacksmith (Firth c.18(130)  Printed between 1863 and 1885 by H. Such, Printer and Publisher, 177, Union Street, Borough S.E. Printer's Series: (241).

The adaptation, if such it be, has clearly been made with reference to traditional texts. I shall have to look further into that.

Edited By Malcolm Douglas - 8/19/2002 8:11:09 PM

Edited By Malcolm Douglas - 8/20/2002 3:35:07 PM


Posted - 20 Aug 02 - 10:37 am

Re: RVW texts.

Vaughan Williams was always more interested in the tune than the texts (which he seemed to think should be uniform). He often noted the first verse, just to show how the words fit the tune. Otherwise, he referred to broadside versions in the main ... he appears to have had an encyclopaedic knowledge of these (and his own collection as far as I know).

Chances are, therefore, that the words came from a broadside.



Posted - 22 Aug 02 - 02:16 pm

And here's the tune:

T:The Blacksmith
w:A - black-smith court-ed me, nine months and bet-ter_He - fair-ly won my heart, wrote me a let-ter_With his ham-mer in his hand, he looked so clev-er_And if I was with m-y love, I'd live for ev-er._

Jon Freeman

Posted - 22 Aug 02 - 04:42 pm

Just noting the Song and tune and some notes have been added here. Jon

Mary in Kentucky

Posted - 23 Aug 02 - 03:40 am

OK guys, is this one Dorian?

Thanks for putting the notes (png) Jon.

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z