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Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home

DigiTrad:
AMBLETOWN (HOME DEARIE HOME)
BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS
HAME, DEARIE, HAME
RASPBERRY LANE
ROSEBERRY LANE
ROSEMARY LANE
SERVANT OF ROSEMARY LANE


Related threads:
Tune Req: Ambletown (Home Dearie Home) (23)
Lyr Req: Home, Dearie, Home & The Wild Lass (14)
Lyr Req: ash / oak/ the button ball tree (7)


GUEST,Robinpg 27 Oct 02 - 10:41 AM
GUEST 27 Oct 02 - 10:50 AM
Susan of DT 27 Oct 02 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,Robinpg (guest) 28 Oct 02 - 11:22 PM
Joe Offer 10 Jan 03 - 01:45 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 03:38 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 03 - 11:02 AM
Winters Wages 10 Jan 03 - 11:59 AM
Winters Wages 10 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 03:42 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Jan 03 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Donald A. Duncan 10 Feb 08 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,Myke in Van 05 Aug 11 - 05:35 PM
Stewart 29 May 17 - 11:48 PM
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Subject: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Robinpg
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 10:41 AM

anyone know more about the origins of "Rosemary Lane" aka "Home Dearie Home"?

thanks
Robinpg@aol.com or reply here.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 10:50 AM

The following taken fromThe Traditional Ballad Index

Rosemary Lane [Laws K43]

DESCRIPTION: A sailor meets a girl at an inn, and induces her to go to bed with him. In the morning he gives her gold and says, "If it's a boy, he will (fight for the king/be a sailor); if a girl, she will wear a gold ring."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (Reeves-Sharp)
KEYWORDS: seduction separation clothes floatingverses
FOUND IN: Australia US(Ap,MA,NE,SE,So,SW) Canada(Queb) Britain(England,Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (26 citations):
Laws K43, "Home, Dearie, Home (Bell-Bottom Trousers)"
Greig #135, pp. 1-2, "Hame, Dearie, Hame" (1 text)
GreigDuncan5 1057, "Hame, Dearie, Hame" (10 texts, 11 tunes)
GreigDuncan7 1429, "When I Was a Servant in Old Aberdeen" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Reeves-Sharp 81, "Rosemary Lane" (3 texts)
Reeves-Circle 112, "Rosemary Lane" (1 text)
Gardham 25, "Bell-Bottom Trousers" (1 tex, 1 tune)
Tawney, pp. 126-127, "Bell-bottom Trousers" (1 text, which may have been deliberately coarsened)
RoudBishop #51, "Rosemary Lane" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph-Legman I, pp. 81-88, "Bell Bottom Trousers" (6 texts, 1 tune)
Cray, pp. 72-75, "Bell Bottom Trousers" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Brophy/Partridge, pp. 68-69, "Never Trust a Sailor" (1 text)
Hopkins, p. 138, "Bell-Bottom Trousers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Chappell-FSRA 34, "The Boy Child" (1 short text, which Laws calls a "ribald fragment." Fragment it is, with only two of the regular verses, including "If it be a girl...." But I suspect the other two verses are a mixture from another, heavily bawdy, song, which we might title something like "eleven inches in")
Ohrlin-HBT 72, "Button Willow Tree" (1 text, 1 tune, with a cowpuncher as the visiting man!)
Gardner/Chickering ,165 "Jack, the Sailor Boy" (1 text)
Beck-Maine, pp. 183-184, "Home, Dearie, Home" (1 tet, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 43, "Rosemary Lane" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 166, "Bell-Bottomed Trousers" (1 text)
Colcord, pp. 167-168, "Home, Dearie, Home" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, p. 498, "Home, Dearie, Home" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbEd, p. 366]
Shay-SeaSongs, pp. 146, "Bell-Bottom Trousers" (1 text; this follows a text and tune of "Home, Dearie, Home," i.e. "Ambletown," plus a stanza of Henley's adaption and an alternate chorus)
Palmer-Sea 83, "The Servant of Rosemary Lane" (1 text, 1 tune)
Niles/Moore, pp. 144-146, "The Waitress and the Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune, which seems to have been updated for the twentieth century but is still clearly this song)
Fuld-WFM, p. 139, "Bell Bottom Trousers"
DT 319, BELLBTTM* HOMEBOYS* RASPLANE RASPLAN2* ROSELANE*

Roud #269
RECORDINGS:
Anne Briggs, "Rosemary Lane" (on Briggs1, Briggs3)
Liam Clancy, "Home Boys Home" (on IRLClancy01)
Jerry Colonna, "Bell Bottom Trousers" (Capitol 204, 1945)
Chris Willett, "Once I Was a Servant" (on Voice11)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Johnson Ballads 624, "The Servant of Rosemary Lane" ("When I was a servant in Rosemary-lane"), J. Jennings (London), 1790-1840; also Harding B 15(279a), Harding B 11(4221), "The Servant of Rosemary Lane"; Bodleian, Harding B 17(130a), "Home, Dear Home" (with the "Home, Dear Home" chorus, several verses of this, and perhaps a rewritten ending)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "When I Was Young (Don't Never Trust a Sailor)" (plot, floating lyrics)
cf. "Ambletown" (floating lyrics, theme)
cf. "Pretty Little Miss" [Laws P18] (theme)
cf. "A North Country Maid"
cf. "Hame, Hame, Hame" (structure and some lines)
cf. "Fat'll Mak a Bonny Lassie Blythe an' Glad" (tune, per GreigDuncan5) and references there
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Oak and the Ash, The
Drury Lane
Raspberry Lane
Once When I Was a Servant
Old Aberdeen
NOTES [853 words]: The history of this song is extremely complex and obscure. The extended family is listed in the Index under three titles: "Rosemary Lane," "Ambletown," and "When I Was Young (Don't Never Trust a Sailor)." However, these may represent as many as five songs, or perhaps only a single one.
The three basic plots are as follows:
* "Rosemary Lane" (a title selected because, unlike Laws's title "Home, Dearie, Home," it is unique to this version) is a British ballad of a servant who is seduced and then abandoned by a sailor. It exists under many titles, e.g. "Bell-Bottomed Trousers."
* "When I Was Young" has the same plot but in a very reduced form; what matters is not the method of the seduction but simply that it happens. This song frequently has a bawdier feel. It ends with a warning, "Don't ever trust (a sailor) an inch above the knee."
* "Ambletown" (another title chosen because it is unambiguous) involves a sailor who learns from a letter that he is a father, and desperately wants to return home to see the child.
The greatest difficulty concerns the relationship between "Rosemary Lane" and "Ambletown." In plot, they are quite distinct. A comparison of the lyrics, however, shows that as much as half the material in "Ambletown" occurs also in "Rosemary Lane" (which is longer, seemingly older, and much more common). As many as three stanzas regularly "cross": "If it be a boy, he will fight for the king"; "And it's home, dearie, home"; and "The oak and the ash and the bonnie birchen tree." (The latter two may be derived from yet another song, "A North Country Maid" ).
It should also be noted that "Ambletown" could function as an ending to "Rosemary Lane," particularly if the warning about not trusting a sailor is not the original ending. This has not, however, been observed in tradition.
Extensive examination of the texts of the songs could not finally resolve the question. The Ballad Index Board is tentatively of the opinion that "Rosemary Lane" and "Ambletown" now are separate songs, which have cross-fertilized heavily but remain distinct. It is quite possible, however, that one (probably "Ambletown") is an offshoot of the other, with a new (clean) plot built around the same verses.
In addition, "Rosemary Lane" has undergone extensive evolution *after* the cross-fertilization stage. Our guess is that it began with a relatively "clean" broadside of seduction (now seemingly lost). This likely contained the "If it be a boy" stanza, but probably not the others. Tradition then mixes in the other common stanzas, and set to work on the song, producing both clean and bawdy versions. - RBW, DGE, PJS
An addendum: Don Duncan brings to my attention the poem "O Falmouth Is a Fine Town," by William E. Henley (1878), which has the following first verse:
O Falmouth is a fine town with ships in the bay,
And I wish from my heart it's there I was to-day;
I wish from my heart I was far away from here,
Sitting in my parlor and talking to my dear.
For it's home, dearie home--it's home I want to be.
Our topsails are hoisted, and we'll away to sea.
O the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree,
They're all growing green in the old countrie.
Henley admitted that part of the song, including the chorus, was old. Duncan speculates that "Falmouth..." is the rewrite of "Rosemary Lane" we postulated above. This seems quite possible -- but if so, then Henley's poem has gone into oral tradition itself, and experienced a great deal of folk processing. Thus, the essential outline we described above seems to be accurate.
Just in case that weren't complicated enough, Allan Cunningham produced a poem, "Hame, Hame, Hame," which once again used some of the same lyrics: "Hame, hame, hame, hame, fain wad I be, O hame, hame, hame, to my ain countrie!" The rest, though, seems simply a hymn to home, "When the flower is in the bud, and the lead is on the tree, The lark shall sing me hame to my ain countrie...." For this text, see, the entry on "Hame, Hame, Hame."
The reference to "Rosemary Lane" is particularly interesting. "Rosemary" of course stood for remembrance in flower symbolism (cf. Binney, p. 86, who of course quotes Ophelia's "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance," plus some other evidence), which is very fitting in this context. But Cordingly, p. 7, notes that at one time the actual street had some significance to sailors. A brothel owner named Damaris Page was active in the 1650s and 1660s: "She had one on the Ratcliffe Highway that catered to ordinary seamen and dockworkers, and she also managed one on Rosemary Lane for naval officers and those who could afford the prices of the classier prostitutes."
Weinreb/Hibbert, p. 657, say that Rosemary Lane was once "an infamous street market for old clothes and frippery, familiarly known as RAG FAIR. It was run by Jews and supplied by itinerant collectors who gathered discarded or stolen clothes and rags. It was open every day and frequented mainly by local inhabitants." They do not mention either lodging houses or prostitution. The lane was eliminated from the map in 1850 when it became Royal Mint Street. - RBW
Bibliography
  • Binney: Ruth Binney, Nature's Way: lore, legend, fact and fiction, David and Charles, 2006
  • Cordingly: David Cordingly, Women Sailors and Sailors' Women, Random House, 2001 (I use the undated, but later, paperback edition)
  • Weinreb/Hibbert: Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert, editors, The London Encyclopedia, Macmillan, 1983 (I use the 1986 Ader & Adler reprint)
Last updated in version 5.1
File: LK43

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2020 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: Susan of DT
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 10:04 PM

Does this get us into the whole range of "oak and ash and X"? There are many songs with oak and ash and some other tree in the chorus, some mentioned in the ballad index entry above. Some are:
   the six listed at the top of the thread
   North Country Maid
   Home Boys Home
There is a keyword @tree on these and other tree songs in the DT, but the current online search is not picking this up well.
Oak and Ash and Thorn is not related to this group.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Robinpg (guest)
Date: 28 Oct 02 - 11:22 PM

thanks for all the replies. I don't think it's related to the "oak and ash" tunes. It was a tune apparently popular with sailors and in the Home Dearie Home has a much happier ending than in Rosemary Lane.

Robin Greenstein


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Subject: ADD: Button Willow Tree
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 01:45 AM

I came across this gem while looking for versions of "Bell Bottom Trousers." Ohrlin refers to it as a "cowboy version of an old English sailor song," and says he learned it from Roy Mack in Arkansas in 1965.

THE BUTTON WILLOW TREE

The puncher being cold, he went up to bed.
He asked for a candle to light his way to bed.
She showed him up to bed like a good girl should.
He said, "Young lady, will you go to bed, too?"

CHORUS
It's home to your home, wherever you may be,
It's home to your home, to your own country,
Where the oak and the ash and the button willow tree
And the lark sings gaily in his own country.

Early in the morning the puncher arose.
He filled her apron with silver and with gold.
"With silver in your pocket and gold in your purse,
If you get into trouble you can hire you a nurse."
CHORUS

"Oh, if it's a girl, pat her curly head
And remember the night when with me you went to bed
Oh, if it's a girl, bounce her on your knee
And tell her of her daddy who is far across the sea.

"If it's a boy, call him Willie Lee,
And when he's twenty-one you can send him o'er to me.
With his boots and his chaps and his Gallup saddle new
I'll make him punch cows like his daddy used to do.
CHORUS

Source: The Hell Bound-Train: A Cowboy Songbook (Glenn Ohrlin, 1989)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:38 AM

A fine local BC variant ("Port Hardy is a fine town with ships about the bay") was made locally twenty years ago. I'll type it up if anyone's interested.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: Lyr Add: HOME DEARIE HOME
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 11:02 AM

Hi,

Here's a version I do. Learned it from Jeff Warner, Jeff Davis And the Loggerheads.
I've heard at least five variations over the years. Gotta love the folk process.

"HOME DEARIE HOME"

Boston is a fine town with ships all in the bay.
And in my heart I wish it was there I was today.
In My heart I wish I was far away from here.
Sitting in my parlour and talking with my dear.

CHRS:
And its home dearie home dearie home I'd like to be.
Home once again far across the rolling sea.
Where the oak and the ash and the bonnie rowan tree.
Are all a growin greener there in north Amerikay.

In Baltimore a walking a lady I did meet.
With her babe upon her arm as she walked on down the street.
I thought how I'd sailed with the cradle standing ready.
Of the pretty little baby that's never seen its daddy.

If it be a girl then she will live with me.
If it be a boy he will sail the rolling sea.
With his tarpaulin hat and his little jacket blue.
He will walk the quater deck like daddy used to do.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: Winters Wages
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 11:59 AM

Does anyone have the guitar chords for Ambletown??


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: Winters Wages
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM

Disregard...Sure would help if I would read the related threads to begin with Sorry...WW


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:42 PM

Quite a complex of related (and possibly unrelated) songs. Listed in order for simplicity's sake:

Ambletown
Bell Bottom Trousers (Thread 6924)
Button Willow tree
Drury Lane
Enoch Knocked Me Over (recently posted, Thread 6924)
Home, Dearie, Home
Never Trust a Sailor
The Oak and the Ash
Once When I Was A Servant
A Northern Country Maid
Pretty Little Miss
Prince George Hotel
Raspberry Lane
Rosemary Lane
When I Was Young
When I Was A Skivvy (Thread 32583)
And etc.

Threads not listed at top:
Bell Bottom Trousers, 6924: Bell Bottom
When I Was a Skivvy, 32583: Skivvy

Apparently no clear ideas as to originals or dates.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 03:45 PM

Guest Jon Bartlett, being in the next province over, I would very much like you to type up the Port Hardy version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:01 PM

The version of Bell Bottom Trousers credited to Oscar Brand in the DT is quite different from the one on a recording that I have, not from his Bawdy Sea Songs, but the Vol. 1 Bawdy Songs with "The Winnipeg Whore," etc. This version (no mention of Fusuliers) can be found at: Bell Bottom


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 04:07 PM

Try again for Bell Bottom Trousers from Brand, Vol. 1, Bawdy Songs; http://www.jsward.com/shanty/HomeDearieHome/brand.html: Bell Bottom


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Jan 03 - 05:18 PM

The Northern Lasses Lamentation, or The Unhappy Maids Misfortune, or O the Oak, the Ash and the Bonny Ivy Tree- see thread 31355: Oak, the Ash, Holly
BruceO notes in that thread that the song is given in his Scarce Songs 2: Northern Lass

In Scarce Songs 2, scroll down to Oak---. Doubtfully related to the Bell Bottom-Drury Lane group.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HOME DEARIE HOME
From: GUEST,Donald A. Duncan
Date: 10 Feb 08 - 10:42 PM

There is no question in my mind that Henley's "Falmouth is a Fine Town" (see Ballad Index entry) was responsible for the shift from Rosemary Lane or one of its variants to the version called Ambletown. Here's my note:

"In fact, this was written in an Edinborough hospital in 1878 (published in Henley's "Book of Verses", 1888, and probably independently at an earlier date), and it was noted that "the burthen and the third stanza are old." These apparently are derived from either one of the versions of the song identified by Laws as "Rosemary Lane" (K 43) or a common ancestor. [For texts and tunes to several of these, search The Digital Tradition for (DT)"#319" or (Laws)"K43".]"

And here's the full text. Compare to Ed Trickett's version.

O Falmouth is a fine town with ships in the bay,
And I wish from my heart it's there I was to-day;
I wish from my heart I was far away from here,
Sitting in my parlor and talking to my dear.
   For it's home, dearie home--it's home I want to be.
   Our topsails are hoisted, and we'll away to sea.
   O the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree,
   They're all growing green in the old countrie.

In Baltimore a-walking a lady I did meet
With her babe on her arm as she came down the street;
And I thought how I sailed, and the cradle standing ready
For the pretty little babe that has never seen its daddie.
   And it's home, dearie, home,--

O, if it be a lass, she shall wear a golden ring;
And if it be a lad, he shall fight for his king;
With his dirk and his hat and his little jacket blue
He shall walk the quarter-deck as his daddie used to do.
   And it's home, dearie, home--

O, there's a wind a-blowing, a-blowing from the west,
And that of all the winds is the one I like the best,
For it blows at our backs, and it shakes our pennon free,
And it soon will blow us home to the old countrie.
   For it's home, dearie, home--it's home I want to be.
   Our topsails are hoisted, and we'll away to sea.
   O, the oak and the ash and the bonnie birken tree,
   They're all growing green in the old countrie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: GUEST,Myke in Van
Date: 05 Aug 11 - 05:35 PM

Guest Jon Bartlett, I would also very much like you to type up the Port Hardy version. My late father-in-law was supposed to sing it at my wedding and I cannot find the lyrics anywhere!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Rosemary Lane aka Home Dearie Home
From: Stewart
Date: 29 May 17 - 11:48 PM

Here's the Port Hardy version, titled "Home, Dear, Home"
by John Lyon of North Vancouver, British Columbia
sung by John here.
Also sung by Roger Holdstock with Fraser Union in Vancouver
The song was written for John's dad's 85th birthday and is about the birth of John's sister while his dad was out fishing.

Back in 1991 John wrote:

"I adapted the song Home, Dear, Home from a similar tune I learned from Tim Hall of Seattle. His version is more along the lines of "Home, Boys, Home", a traditional song from the British Isles wherein sailors who have travelled the world look forward to returning to port after many months—or years—away at sea. But Tim's version adds the charming theme of the singer—a sea captain—receiving a letter from his wife telling him of the birth of their child. I kept the tune but rewrote the lyrics in honour of my father's eighty-fifth birthday."

Lyrics:

1. Port Hardy is a fine town, with ships about the bay,
Ain't it very plain to be there myself today,
I'm wishing in my heart that I was far away from here,
Sitting in my kitchen, and talking with my dear.

Chorus
And it's home, dear, home, home I want to be,
Engine is running smooth, and I am out to sea,
The whistle buoy is moaning but I'm safe across the bar,
Down Goletas Channel I can see the morning star,
And it's home, dear, home.

2. Oh the fishing it's been grand, and I really made it pay,
But a message came by radio to the boats in Fisherman's Bay,
There's someone here, she says, you've been waiting long to see,
Those hazel roving eyes are looking out upon my knee.

3. But the message didn't say if it was a boy or girl,
It's got me all confused now, my thoughts are all a-whirl,
I'll fuel up in Bull Harbour and I'll turn this boat around,
Down Goletas Channel I will be Port Hardy bound,

4. If it be a girl, so precious she will be,
We'll name the birds that fly and she can come and see with me,
If it be a boy, then a troller he will be,
Standing in the cockpit, pulling fish with me,

5. Listen to the wind, it comes piping from the west,
Of all the winds that blow, it's the one I love the best,
It's blowing across my stern, and the tide is now with me,
To quickly take me back to my home in Port Hardy,

Some other recordings of the song:
Fraser Union — BC Songbook
Fraser Union — From There To Here
Full Circle — Roll On Clouds
Sassenach Rebellion — Come Back Here

Cheers, S. in Seattle


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