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
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