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Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly

12 Aug 10 - 12:51 PM (#2963691)
Subject: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Mary Ann K

When I was in grade school, many many years ago, I learned this song in class.
It was delightful then and evocative now of spring and innocence. I used the search device in your website, but I may have the words wrong.
It is very sweet and cheerful, and goes something like this:

Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
April is the time for folly folly
Blackbird's shout rings round about
And Jenny Wren is building in the willow

(I can't remember the line)
Put off the cloak you wear in town
Run on the highways up and down
And Jenny Wren is building in the Willow

Does it sound familiar? I asked my local library to research it and they came up with nothing, except that it sounded familiar. I am sure, very sure, it is one of the old music books we used in the early 60's. I can almost see it on the left side page, and a sweet black and white illustration.
Does anyone know this song? Is there more to it? Is there a title?
Thanks


13 Aug 10 - 10:24 AM (#2964315)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,^&*

refresh


18 Oct 10 - 06:03 PM (#3010135)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

The last line was "looking for the nest there in the willow." I think the first line of the second verse was something about throwing off the clothes of gray and brown.

I wish I could remember it all. We learned it as a song in early elementary school in the early 1960's. I think the title was Jenny Wren, but again I'm not sure.


04 Nov 10 - 07:54 PM (#3023854)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,child of the fifties

These posts on "rosy betsy" are a joy as I remember the song from a third grade class at the Hardie Elementary School in Beverly Massachusetts in the grand old year of 1950. The entire first verse keeps popping into mind at the oddest times. Thank you for the memories.


05 Nov 10 - 08:46 AM (#3024212)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman

From the context it seems unlikely that this is related, but the coincidence of the names is interesting.

My wife's late grandmother in Huntingdon, Tennessee, when I asked her about play party and game songs from her girlhood, mentioned three. One was "Rosa, Betsy, Dinah." She didn't remember anything but the title.

If you're curious, the other two song titles she mentioned (but knew no lyrics) were "Pretty Bird in My Cup" and "Wilson Ballroom."

I've never found words or tune to any of them.

Bob


22 Dec 10 - 12:32 PM (#3059395)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Bill

I, too, have tried to get the lyrics to this song. I learned it in grades 4 & 5 (1954-1955) in Brockton, MA - B.B. Russell School.
What I've found so far:
The tune was used as the prevailing theme song for John Wayne/Maureen O'Hara "The Quiet Man" (1952). That film calls it "The Prelude To The Big Fight", by Victor Young. Great movie. If you've never seen it, you should.
Somebody once told me it was called "The Meadow" or "The Lea", but I never had any luck with those words in titles.
Trivia I ran across: In searching several old children's song books, I also learned that many of the very old ditties and songs we learned as kids were written by a man named Englebert Humperdink.
I plan to continue looking, and if I get the answer, I'll let you know. Good luck in your search.
Send your email address if you wish further correspondence on this subject. I'm not looking for pen pals, or anything else.
Bill


26 Dec 10 - 06:06 PM (#3061674)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

The words I remember to the refrain:   

First line (I don't remember the words): La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

Second line (I don't remember the words): La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

Third Line: "Put off the togs you wear in town"

Fourth Line: "While Jenny Wren is building in the willow."

Keep looking.

I will, too

Bill


06 Jan 11 - 09:13 PM (#3068942)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

rosey betsy blue eyed molly, molly
come and join our april folly, folly


07 Jan 11 - 04:09 PM (#3069462)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Bill

I think the refrain goes something like:
You can't find my nest today
You can't find my nest today
You can't find my nest today
Looking for the nest there in the willow.


08 Jan 11 - 01:37 PM (#3069950)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,RWT

I remember only the verse "Jenny Wren is building in the willow", as well as the tune. Of course, I can't communicate the tune to you here. I learned the song also in elementary school in Whitman in the 50's.


10 Jan 11 - 11:01 AM (#3071341)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

I believe that it is "Run in the Meadow up and down" not the highways. Also I think that it is "Take off your cloak of grey or brown Put on your togs that you wear in town" Mary


18 Jan 11 - 06:56 PM (#3077535)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

Hi

I said I would lety you know if I found the lyrics to this song.

"Take off your cloak of gray or brown.
Put on the togs you wear in town.
Run in the meadows up and down,
While Jenny Wren is building in the willow."

My local newspaper, The Enterprise (Brockton, MA) has a daily column named "The Problem Solver". Many folks give away or obtain, for free, items via this medium. I was given through this method an old but very serviceable wooden swing set which I disassembled at the donor's home, and delivered and re-assembled for my grandson. He has grown into it now and even uses it on winter days. My wife and Im met some wonderful folks (whose restaurant, coincidentally, is frequented by one of our family members).
Once in a while, I have noticed somebody looking for information such as the name of a long-closed business establishment, or the best way to do some obscure thing. Local readers respond and give the answers they believe will satisfy the request. So I recently sent this request to them. They put out an "APB", which netted the words both you and I wanted to find. Several readers referred me to your request in Mudcat. The last one actually supplied the words, published in today's edition.

I hope this is what you're looking for.

Bill C.


17 Mar 11 - 05:11 PM (#3116007)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

I learned this song in fourth grade in Winchester, Mass. and that would be in 1943.

Lyrics I recall (and I loved this song) were:
Rosy Betsy blue eyed Molly, Molly
April is the time for folly, folly
Blackbird's shouts ring round about
And Jenny wren is building in the willow

Put off your cloak of gray and brown
Run in your green shoes out of town
Run in the meadow up and down
Looking for the wren there in the willow


06 Apr 11 - 03:02 PM (#3130019)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

Here is the version we sang in 4th grade in a small town in Iowa:

Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly, Molly
April is the time for folly, folly
Blackbird's shouts ring round and round
While Jenny Wren is building in the Willow.

Put off your cloaks of grey and brown
Put on the clogs you wear to town
   (This is the line I couldn't remember, Thanks for the reminder):
Run in the meadow up and down
While Jenny Wren is building in the Meadow.


19 Apr 11 - 06:07 PM (#3138485)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Bob C

My recollection, from grade school, is as follows:

" Rosy, Betsy, blue eyed Molly, Molly
Come and join the April folly, folly
Blackbirds shout and bluebirds sing and
Jenny wren is whistling in the willow "

It sounds old English to my music teacher wife.


11 Aug 11 - 09:39 AM (#3205990)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,wrose

My recollection from York PA:

Rosie Betsy blue eyed Molly Molly
Come and join the April folly folly
Who can stay at home all day
While Jenny wren is building in the willow

Put on your coats of gray and brown
Run in you green shoes out of town
Run in the meadows up and down
While Jenny wren is building in the willow


28 Sep 11 - 12:55 PM (#3230620)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Mary Ann K

I am so delighted with all the responses my query has received! Thank you, one and all.


12 Dec 11 - 08:09 PM (#3272862)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Merv H.

The tune is from the Irish Suite by Leroy Anderson. See YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1AN9ccoF-Y The Wikipedia article is: The Rakes of Mallow is a traditional Irish song and polka. The song is about the rakes from the town of Mallow, a town in County Cork.[1] It was first written down in Scotland during the 1780s.[1] The song is a fight song for Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans.[2][3] A version of the song was performed by Leroy Anderson, and the song was also featured in the film The Quiet Man (1952) and 1941 (1979). It was one of the European songs adapted by the Indian Carnatic music composer Muthuswami Dikshitar in the 18th/19th century, as Vande Meenakshi, a prayer to the goddess Meenakshi with Sanskrit lyrics.[4]

The tune also plays during a montage sequence in the film "Rudy."


07 Apr 13 - 05:41 PM (#3500179)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Pat B.

I learned this song in second or third grade around 1940 and sing it to whoever will listen each April. I was happy to see the words to the second verse, which I had forgotten


10 Apr 13 - 05:00 PM (#3501585)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE WILLOW-WREN
From: Jim Dixon

From Poems for Children by Eleanor Farjeon (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1951), page 18:


THE WILLOW-WREN
(English Child's Song)

Rosy Betsy, blue-eyed Milly,
Maidens to the meadows, will ye!
Blackbird's shout
Rings round about,
And Jenny Wren is building in the willows.
Put off your coats of grey and brown,
Put off the clogs you wear in town,
Toiling and moiling up and down,
While the wren is building in the willows.

Rosy Betsy, blue-eyed Milly,
Will ye, won't ye, won't ye, will ye?
Who can stay
At home all day,
While Jenny Wren is building in the willows?
Put on your primrose-colored gown,
Run in your green shoes out of town,
Run till your tresses tumble down,
Looking for the nest among the willows!


11 Apr 13 - 10:08 AM (#3501801)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,leeneia

Thank you, Jim. That's delightful!


27 Jun 13 - 12:30 PM (#3531003)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Mary Ann K

Wow! Thanks you all so much! I am having a blast looking up all the links, and feel a nostalgia for those beautiful childhood songs.


04 Dec 13 - 02:00 PM (#3581459)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

I remember it slightly different (from 1940!)

Rosie Betsy blue eyed Molly Molly
Come and join the April folly folly
Who can stay at home all day
While Jenny wren is building in the willows

Put on your gay rose colored gown
run in your green shoes out of town
run in the meadows up and down
while jenny wren is building in the willows


17 Apr 14 - 11:06 AM (#3619737)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Jonathan Matthew Schwartz, Helsingør Denmark

I have used the first verse of the song in a children's book (yet unpublished) on the making of the Bayeux Tapestry. Two young girl cousins (actually my granddaughters!) are learning the textile trade in Canterbury ca 1080. The embrodery is being made in an aisle of the cathedral which is under construction. The girls sing and dance the song on their way to work at the start of Easter week. The book is called: Two Crowns of Daffodils: A CHild's Easter in Kent".
Best wishes, Jonathan Schwwrtz


17 Apr 14 - 11:32 AM (#3619745)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: Amos

The tune "The Rakes of Mallow" was also used for the song "Piping Tim of Galway", IIRC.


19 May 15 - 06:41 PM (#3710104)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

Rosie, Betsy, blue-eyed Molly, Molly,
Come and join the April Folly, Folly,
Black birds ringing 'round-about
while Jenny wren is singing in the willow.

Put on your coats of gray and brown,
Run in your green shoes out of town,
Run in the meadows up and down
While Jenny wren is singing in the willow.


22 Aug 16 - 09:54 PM (#3806275)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Jpj

Searched for these lyrics today after we heard the irish washerwoman music on classical radio. My 80 yr old husband said he remembered words set to the music . I put on my 72 yr old thinking cap and came up with rosey,betsy blued eyed molly molly come and join the April folly folly.
It's good to know others were searching for the same thing. Wasn't it fun learning such silly songs? Sure hope today's children are singing happy songs.


28 Nov 16 - 08:05 AM (#3823222)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Charlie

I learned the song in grammar school in the early 1940s (Ludlow, Vermont). Couldn't remember some of the lines and note that some of you "Put on" while others "Took off" in the first line of the second verse. I put on the coat of grey and "down" matching the wren's colors. Suspect many of the words describing color, cloth, shoes, and places were localized simply because the song came from so many places.

How much better this is than some of today'songs with 3 words and 4 different notes!


29 Sep 17 - 03:01 PM (#3879337)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

Reply to GUEST:

I'n 88 years old and also remember that song when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. Guest has the lyrics as we sang them except for "red" shoes rather than "green" shoes. If there are more lyrics, we didn't sing them. This seems to be a song everybody whoever sang it in Primary School seems to remember fondly.

MAPS


15 Dec 17 - 01:58 PM (#3894175)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,kwight

My father-in-law, born in the mid 1930s, sang the song to our children as follows:

Rosy Betsey, blue-eyed Molly Molly
Tis the time for April folly folly
Blackbird shouts ring round about -
And Jenny Wren is singing in the willow.

Put on your coat of red and blue
Put on your coat of red and blue
Put on your coat of red and blue
For Jenny Wren is singing in the willow.


09 Mar 18 - 11:49 PM (#3910302)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

Put on you're primrose colored gown
Put on the cloak you wear in town


20 Mar 19 - 06:05 PM (#3983474)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

I remember it from 4th or 5th grade (1972-ish). Popped into my head when spring began c. 7 minutes ago!


26 Mar 20 - 01:13 PM (#4042226)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

The lyrics I sang in grade school in the late forties went like this:
Rosy, Poly blue eyed Molly, Molly, April is the time for folly, folly, who can stay at home all day while jenny wren is building in the willow.
Cant remember the second verse completely.
But, I do know the lyrics that some have posted claim it went like this:
Rosy Betsy blue eyed Molly Molly, which is wrong.

It was Rosy Poly blue eyed Molly.
And why? because Poly rhymes with Molly and Betsy does not and that is the way all song lyrics are. Sing it both ways and see for yourself which sounds right.


17 Sep 20 - 10:22 AM (#4072215)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST

My mother used to sing this tune. As I recall, her lyrics were a mix of what I see, above. She would have learned it in northern Ohio.

Rosie, Betsy, blue-eyed Molly, Molly,
come and join our April folly folly.
Who can stay and play all day
while Jenny Wren is building in the willow?

Put on you coat of gray and brown.
Put on the shoes you wear to ton.
Run on the highway up and down
while Jenny Wren is building in the willow.

I'm sure I missed some of the words she sang.


01 Nov 20 - 12:53 PM (#4077757)
Subject: RE: Origins: Rosy Betsy, blue eyed Molly Molly
From: GUEST,Wes

It's amazing that I learned this song in grade school about 75 years ago and it's happy tune and message still resonate. We raised a small flock of sheep years ago and our first three ewes were named Rosie, Betsy, and Molly. These are the words as I remember them:

Rosie, Betsy, Blue eyed Molly, Molly,
Come and join the April folly folly,
Who can stay at home all day
While Jenny Wren is building in the willow.

Put on your primrose colored gown,
Run in your green shoes out of town,
Put on your primrose colored gown,
While Jenny Wren is building in the willow.