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Origins: 'Long looked for come at last'

25 Mar 05 - 02:45 PM (#1443696)
Subject: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: GeoffLawes

I've forgotten in which song the line "Long looked for come at last"occurs. It is traditional, I think it is the final line of the song and have a very vague and possibly unfounded notion that Phil Tanner might have sung it. Does anyone know for sure?

25 Mar 05 - 03:15 PM (#1443722)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

It appears on a cd by Nick Caffry.
Folktrax has a note placing it in the "Abroad as I Was Walking" group, but I couldn't find lyrics to a version with that oft-used line, 'long looked for---'.

25 Mar 05 - 04:01 PM (#1443767)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: Malcolm Douglas

A few early 20th century examples used it as a final line; Gardiner found one in Hampshire, Sharp got sets in Somerset and Gloucestershire. The phrase was proverbial; "long looked for may come at last" or variations thereon. It turns up in a few unrelated broadsides as well.

25 Mar 05 - 10:47 PM (#1444000)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: Margaret V

Is this related to the song "Long Expectant Comes at Last" as sung on the album of the same name by Cathal McConnell?

26 Mar 05 - 01:14 AM (#1444049)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: rich-joy

The Nick Caffrey CD of the same name has this to say in the booklet :

" Long Looked For Come At last (3.07) - This simple song of love was very popular in the South of England in the early part of this century. The words were collected by Dr George Gardiner and the tune collected by H. Balfour Gardiner from William Winter, Andover, Hampshire, 1 October 1906. The missing lines were supplied from a version collected by Alfred Williams from Mrs Jane Wall of Driffield, Gloucestershire"

Nick is also a member of excellent a cappella (mostly), harmony trio "Th' Antique Roadshow", who also have recordings to their credit.

Cheers! R-J

26 Mar 05 - 04:37 AM (#1444086)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: GeoffLawes

Thank you all,
               The reference given by rich -joy and Malcolm Douglas to the Gardiner collection has enabled me to find the line as the final line in a song of the same title in the EFDSS publication The Wanton Seed.

26 Mar 05 - 06:29 AM (#1444114)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: Malcolm Douglas

The Wanton Seed was Nick Caffrey's source, evidently; it was Frank Purslow who added the lines from Mrs Wall. It was also Purslow who called the song by that name (perhaps by analogy with Sharp's examples); in Gardiner's MSS it appears as Abroad as I was Walking.

26 Mar 05 - 01:38 PM (#1444209)
Subject: RE: 'Long looked for come at last' -from ??
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Could someone post the lyrics from The Wanton Seed or the Caffrey recording?

14 Sep 21 - 06:26 PM (#4119973)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Long looked for come at last'
From: Levana Taylor

This song sounds late-eighteenth-century to me. Despite Nick Caffrey calling it "very popular," Roud (#1643) only lists four sources besides an undated broadside: William Winter of Andover, Hampshire, in 1906; Mrs. Lawrence of Somerton, Somerset, in 1906; Mary Anne Clayton of Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire, in 1909; and Jane Wall of Driffield, Gloucestershire, between 1914 and 1916. The Ballad Index has nothing additional to offer.

However, William Doerflinger, in Shantymen and Shantyboys, has another, which he believed to be of Irish origin, collected from "Herbert Hinchey, New Brunswick woodsman." This version has already been posted to Mudcat with the music: Two Lovers Discoursing.

And here are lyrics transcriptions from two more recent performances. The first is Andy Turner's nice rendition with anglo-concertina on his website. He notes, "I learned this from Caroline Jackson-Houlston. She and I used to sing it together performing as Flash Company in the early 1980s..." and he identifies the source as "[the] version from the 85 year old William Winter, collected at Andover by H. Balfour Gardiner, and which forms the basis of the version printed in Frank Purslow's The Wanton Seed."

As sung by Andy Turner

Abroad as I was walking down by a riverside,
I heard two lovers talking; the young girl she replied:
How could you be so cruel, how could you serve me so?
You promised you would marry me about twelve months ago.

My dear, I was prevented, and could not come till now,
So rest yourself contented, I ne'er shall break my vow.
If I'd all the gold and silver that lies beyond the sea,
I'd take more joy and pleasure in your sweet company.

What maiden can believe you? You've said so much before.
Oh, the last time that I saw you, you said you'd come no more.
You went and courted Nancy, oh, the girl with the roving eye;
'Tis she I know you fancy, you cannot this deny.

I hew to what you say, my dear, I own and swear it is true;
I went and courted Nancy, but now I've come to you.
Why should it breed a faction between my love and I?
'Tis you I'll own I fancy, with you I'll live and die.

These words they did revive her and pierced her to the heart,
Saying, We will have a wedding today before we part.
The weather being cheerful, to church this couple passed,
And now they are got married: Long looked-for come at last.


Secondly, a version with a different melody. I'm sure this Irish setting is a later development in the life of the ballad because the extra syllables inserted to make it fit the new tune have led to much pleonasm. Cathal McConnell recorded it as the title track of the album Long Expectant Comes at Last (2000), where he writes that he got it "from Big John McManus, who learned it from his mother, Katie McManus."

As sung by Cathal McConnell

Oh, as I went out one morning down by a clear riverside,
I heard a couple talking; this fair maid she did reply:
Oh, you most ungrateful Johnny, oh, how could you treat me so?
You promised for to marry me, but now I find it isn't so.

If I promised for to marry you, I'd scorn, love, to break my vow.
I was so disappointed, love, I was not ready until now.
Oh, had I all the riches that e'er was gained on land or sea,
I'd spend it all in pleasure, darling Molly, in your company.

Oh, how can I believe you? You promised me such times before,
But when I thought I had you, you went and you came no more.
You went and courted Nancy, the lassie with the roving eye;
She's all your joy and fancy, how can you then this deny?

These words this fair maid spoken had grieved this young man's tender heart.
He says, We'll have a wedding, love, and this, my love, before we part.
Hand in hand they walked together and to the church they both went fast.
This couple they got married, and long expectant comes at last.

14 Sep 21 - 08:04 PM (#4119975)
Subject: RE: Origins: 'Long looked for come at last'
From: RTim

I recorded the William Winter version, as found in Purslow, on The Folk Songs from Hampshire LP on Forest Tracks way back in 1974; then re-issued on CD in 2005...and I still occasionally sing it!!

It is however, a great pity that following the too early death of Paul Marsh.....Forest Tracks is no more.

Tim Radford