Mudcat Café message #3367482 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #145512   Message #3367482
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
24-Jun-12 - 02:11 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 3
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 3
Not bearing on the origin, but a different version ("supernatural")that should be in Mudcat.

Lyr. Add: George Collins
Hampshire, England; in Bronson.

George Collins walked out one May morning,
When may was all in bloom,
'Twas then he beheld a fair, pretty maid,
She was washing her marble stone.
She whooped, she holloed, she highered her voice
And she held up her lily-white hand.
"Come hither to me, George Collins," said she,
"For thy life shall not last you long."
George Collins rode home to his father's own gate,
And loudly he did ring.
"Come rise, my dear father, and let me in,
Come rise, my dear mother, and make my bed.
All for to trouble my dear sister
For a napkin to bind round my head.
For, if I chance to die this night,
As I suppose I shall,
Bury me under that marble stone,
That's against fair Helen's hall."
Fair Helen doth sit in her room so fine,
Working her silken skein;
Then she saw the finest corpse a-coming,
As ever the sun shined on.
She said unto her Irish maid:
"Whose corpse is this so fine?"
"This is George Collins' corpse a-coming,
That once was a true lover of thine."
"You go upstairs and fetch me the sheet
That's wove with a silver twine
And hang that over George Collins' head,
Tomorrow it shall hang over mine."
This news was carried to fair London town, And wrote all on fair London gate;
Six pretty maids died all of one night,
And all for George Collins' sake.

Guyer and Gardiner, JFSS, III, No. 13, pp. 299; New Forest, Hampshire, 1906.

A 10-verse version, same source. After verse 2, Phillip Gaylor (the source singer), sang:

He put his foot to the broad water side,
And over the lea sprang he,
He embraced her around her middle so small,
And kissed her red, rosy cheeks.

After verse seven of the above:

"Come put him down, my six pretty lads,
And open his coffin so fine;
That I might kiss his lily-white lips,
For ten thousand times he has kissed mine."

George Collins (Lady Alice), Child No. 85; pp. 229-231; Bertrand H. Bronson, The Singing Tradition of Child's Popular Ballads.

There also is a version "George," a hobo dying in an empty box-car (not seen yet).