click to play

Come, and I will sing you.
What will you sing me?
I will sing you One, O!
What is your One, O?
One of them is all alone, and ever will remain so.

Come, and I will sing you.
What will you sing me?
I will sing you Two, O!
What is your Two, O?
Two of them are lily-white babes, and dressed all in green, O.

Come, &c.
I will sing you Three, O!
What is your Three, O?
Three of them are strangers, o'er the wide world they are rangers.

Come &c.
I will sing you Four, O!
What is your Four, O?
Four is the Dilly Hour, when blooms the gilly flower.

Come, &c.
I will sing you Five, O!
What is your Five, O?
Five it is the Dilly Bird, that's never seen, but heard, O!

Come, &c.
I will sing you Six, O!
What is your Six, O?
Six the Ferryman in the boat, that doth on the river float, O!

Come, &c.
I will sing you Seven, O!
What is your Seven, O?
Seven it is the crown of Heaven, the shining stars be seven, O!

Come, &c.
I will sing you Eight, O!
What is your Eight, O?
Eight it is the morning break, when all the world's awake, O!

Come, &c.
I will sing you Nine, O!
What is your Nine, O?
Nine it is the pale moonshine, the pale moonlight is nine, O!

Come, &c.
I will sing you Ten, O!
What is your Ten, O?
Ten forbids all kinds of sin, from ten again begin, O!

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Songs of the West by S. Baring-Gould.

Abridged from S. Baring-Gould's notes.

An almost endless number of versions of this song have been sent to us. It is known throughout Cornwall and is sung in chapels as a hymn.
Some other versions give-

2. God's own son or Christ's Natures, or The lily-white maids.
3. Three is all eternity, Three are the Thrones.
4. The Gospel preachers, The Evangelists.
5. The Ferryman in the Boat, The Nimble Waiters.
6. The Cherubim Watchers, The Crucifix, The Cherrybird waiters.
7. The crown of Heaven, The Seven Stars.
8. The Great Archangel, The Daybreak.
9. The Nine Delights, The Joy of Mary.
10. The Commandments.
11. The Eleven Disciples, They that go to Heaven.

These versions have more of a religious element in them.

In Devon and Cornwall the song goes by the name of 'The Dilly Song,' the meaning of the word 'Dilly' remains uncertain.

Roud: 133 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

Related Songs:  The Dilly Song(2) (thematic)

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