My Mother Said (Gypsies in the Wood)
DESCRIPTION: "My mother said that I never should Play with the gypsies in the wood. The wood was dark; the grass was green; In came Sally with a tamborine." "I went to the sea -- no ship to get across... Sally tell my mother I shall never come back."
EARLIEST DATE: 1870 (Kilvert, according to Opie-Oxford2)
KEYWORDS: playparty Gypsy mother separation floatingverses
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North,West)) New Zealand
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Opie-Oxford2 362, "My mother said that I never should" (1 fragment)
Opie-Game, pp. 441-442, "(My mother said That I never should)" (2 texts)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #603, p. 240, "(My mother said that I never should)"
ADDITIONAL: M.C. Balfour, County Folklore (London, 1904 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. IV, p. 120, ("My mother said that I should not") (1 text) [see note]
John Devenish Hoppus, Riverside Papers (London, 1882 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. I, pp. 91-92, ("My mother said") (1 text)
Neil C. Hultin, "The Songs and Ballads of R.F. Kilvert [1840-1879]" in Folklore, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2 (1981 (available online by JSTOR)), pp. 182-183 ("My Mother said that I never should") (4 texts)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, third edition, 1928 (type reset 1953), p. 535, ("My Mother said that I never should") (1 short text)
NOTES: The second verse of this, of course, floats in part; I have no idea whether it was originally integral to this song, which is thought to be quite old though the Baring-Goulds claim it was not published before de la Mare in 1922. The Opies also consider this the first multi-verse published version, but mention sources who seem to remember it from the nineteenth century. They also note some curious classical relatives of the tune. - RBW
The Balfour text is eight lines. The first four are "My Mother Said (Gypsies in the Wood)"; the last four are "Mrs Brown Went to Town."
The references for this song in Hultin are for "songs and games recalled [from] Kilvert's own youth and [for which] he expressed surprise at the longevity of such material." Only one of the texts quoted are Kilvert's. The others are from Brian Sutton-Smith, The Games of New Zealand Children and Leslie Daiken, Children's Games Throughout the Year. - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
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 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.