Henry's Songbook

All original copyrights respected / For private use only

go to  de   Susannes Folksong-Notizen   English Notes  uk

I Wish I Wish (or: the pitman's love song)

  • (Trad)
  • I wish my love she was a cherry
    A-growing on yon cherry tree
    And I myself a bonnie blackbird
    How I would peck that sweet cherry

    I wish my love she was a red rose
    A-growing on yon garden wall
    And I myself a drop of dew
    How on that red rose I would fall

    I wish my love was in a little box
    And I myself to carry the key
    I'd go in to her whenever I'd a mind
    And I'd bear my love good company

    I wish my love she was a grey ewe
    A-grazing by yonder riverside
    And I myself a fine black ram
    Oh on that ewe how I would ride

    My love she's bonnie, my love she's canny
    And she's well favoured for to see
    And the more I think on her my heart is set upon her
    And under her apron I fain would be

    I wish my love she was a bee-skip
    And I myself a bumble-bee
    That I might be a lodger within her
    For she's sweeter than the honey or the honeycomb tea

    (as sung by A. L. Lloyd)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1959:] Most English songs tell a story. However, there are also songs that are merely lyrical expressions of a mood -usually arising from love denied or betrayed. Such songs are not held together by any narrative; instead they employ a number of images and symbols that are combined and recombined in song after song. Thus whole songs may be made up from "floating" verses familiar in other contexts, or attached to other melodies. The verses of I Wish, I Wish are most commonly found either in the song called Waly Waly or in Died For Love. Jazz enthusiasts may be interested in the apron-low, apron-high motif, which re-appears in the Blues called Careless Love. It was also used by John Clare in The Faithless Shepherd, a poem largely made up of traditional 'floaters'". (EFS ?)

    See also


  • [1966:] [Also, The Pitman's Love Song] A lost song re-found. It resides among the manuscript papers of eccentric old John Bell of Newcastle, a great pioneer collector of the folk songs of the English North-east, unjustly neglected. Many of his songs found their way, unacknowledged, into the celebrated 'Northumbrian Minstrelsy', but this one was not among them. The song is something of a masterpiece, but it seems to have dropped right out of tradition after Bell noted it, apparently in the opening years of the nineteenth century. In Bell's manuscript the piece is entitled A Pitman's Love Song. There's nothing in the text of the song that attaches to the miner's calling. Bell gives no tune for it, so I have fitted one. There's another verse to this piece, passionate and scatological. Rather to my own surprise I find myself too prudish to sing it, though I'm impressed by its intensity. (Notes A. L. Lloyd, 'First Person')

  • [1973:] These magic words, taken originally from John Bell's manuscript collection but changed even more than usual in the process of singing by me, have always lacked a tune. I myself set them to a version of Lord Bateman [...]. When A. L. Lloyd recorded them he used another tune. But at last I may have found the clue in some words which Sam Henry found in the notebooks of an Irish choirsinger, William Robb. It seems that some religious folk felt it sacrilegious to sing the sacred words of the psalms on any occasion but the church service, and so at choir practice they would substitute secular words; something similar happened in Scotland. Among the words in Mr. Robb's choirbook were something very like our first verse [see verse 1 above] (though with no specific psalm tune attached) plus paraphrases of verses from the Song of Solomon which, though they lack the erotic similes that also appealed to the compiler of 'Pills to Purge Melancholy', are in a somewhat similar vein. [...] If the whole song is meant to be sung to a psalm tune one's mind nevertheless boggles at the vision of a collier church choir bawling out our seventh verse

    I wish my love was a ripe turd
    And smoking down in yon dykeside
    And I myself was a shitten flea
    I'd suck her up before she dried

    of which the normally unfastidious Lloyd confesses, in the note to his recording, "Rather to my own surprise I find myself too prudish to sing it, though I'm impressed by its intensity." (Dallas, Wars 170f)

Quelle: England

go back de  I-Index uk

 Sammlung : Susanne Kalweit (Kiel)
Layout : Henry Kochlin  (Schwerin)

aktualisiert am 13.07.2000