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When Adam was first created
And Lord of the Universe crown'd,
His happiness was not completed
Until that a helpmate was found;
He'd all things in food that were wanting
To keep and support him in life;
He'd horses and foxes for hunting
Which some men love more than a wife.

He'd a garden so planted by nature,
Man cannot produce in his life;
But, yet, the all-wise great Creator
Still saw that he wanted a wife;
Then Adam he lay in a slumber
And there he lost part of his side,
And when he awoke, he with wonder
Saw beside him a beautiful bride.

She wasn't made out of his head, sir,
To triumphant be over man;
And she from his feet was not taken,
To be spurned and be trampled upon;
But out of man's side she was taken,
His companion and equal to be;
But though they in one are united
The man must be stronger than she.

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Traditional Tunes, A collection of Ballad Airs, ISBN 1-86143-081-7

The Copper family song book has another version of the song with extra lyrics, slightly altering the structure of the end of the song as given.
Their additional part-verses are:

In transport he gazed upon her
His happiness was now complete
He praised his beautiful donor
Who had thus bestowed him a mate
(she was not took out of his head, Sir ...)


Man without woman's a beggar
Suppose the whole world he possessed
And the beggar that's got a good woman
With more than the world he is blest.
Then let not the fair be despised
By Man as she's part of himself
For woman by Adam was prized
More than the whole world full of wealth.

Alfred Williams (Folk Songs of the Upper Thames) and Baring-Gould also published sets of this song, which are listed in detail in the discussion thread.
Baring-Gould commented, regarding a version in the discussion thread:

"This old song is a favourite with the peasantry throughout England. The words are printed in Bell's Songs of the English Peasantry, p. 231. He says, "We have had considerable trouble in procuring a copy of the old song, which used, in former days, to be very popular with aged people resident in the North of England. It has been long out of print, and handed down traditionally. By the kindness of Mr. S. Swindells, printer, Manchester, we have been favoured with an ancient printed copy."

"In the original the song consists of ten verses. The earliest copy of it that I know is in The Lady's Evening Book of Pleasure, about 1740. It will be found in a collection of garlands made by Mr. J. Bell about 1812, and called by him The Eleemosynary Emporium. It is in the British Museum. The air is found in Vocal Music, or the Songster's Companion, 2nd ed., 1772, to the song, Farewell You Green Fields and Sweet Groves, p.92. It was taken into The Tragedy of Tragedies, or Tom Thumb, 1734, as the air to In Hurry, Post-haste for a licence, and was attributed to Dr. Arne. In Die Familie Mendelssohn, vol.ii., is a scrap of music written down by Felix Mendelssohn, dated Leipzig, 16th August 1840, which is identical with the first few bars of this melody. But the earliest form of the air is in J.S. Bach's Comic Cantata, where a peasant sings it.

"We took the song down from John Rickards, Lamerton, and again from J. Benney, Menheniot. Mr. Kidson prints a Yorkshire version in his Traditional Tunes, 1891. Miss L. Broadwood has noted it down from the singing of a baker at Cuckfield, Sussex. Dr. Barrett gives our melody to The Gallant Hussar, No. 13 [in S.O.W]. We have also taken it down to this ballad; so has Mr. Sharp in Somerset."

Other versions of this song have been found in various parts of England, often as Old Adam or When Adam Was First Created; under the latter title it remains, as noted above, in the repertoire of the Copper family of Rottingdean, Sussex. There are several examples from Aberdeenshire in the Greig-Duncan collection, and the song was also quite widespread in the USA and Canada.

There are broadside copies under a number of titles at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

When Adam was first created ("Both sexes give here [sic] to my fancy ...") Printed between 1840 and 1866 by J. Harkness, Church-Street, Preston. [Largely illegible] 2806 c.13(192)

Adam & Eve ("Both sexes give ear to my fancy ...") Printed by Wm. Ford, York-st. Sheffield [no date]. Firth b.25(242)

In praise of dear women I sing ("Both sexes give ear to my fancy ...") Printed by Liptrot, St. Helen's [no date]. Harding B 28(19) and Harding B 28(175)

Old Adam ("Both sexes give ear to my song ...") Printed c.1837 by J. Wheeler, Manchester. 2806 c.17(319)

Roud: 728 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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