Cupid's Trepan (Cupid's Trappan, The Bonny Bird)
DESCRIPTION: "Once did I love a bonny brave bird, And thought he had been all my own, But he lov'd another far better than me, And has taken his flight and is flown." The jilted lover in turn has turned to another, leaving the first lover lonely
EARLIEST DATE: before 1675 (broadside, Bodleian Douce Ballads 1(50a))
KEYWORDS: love separation
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Chappell/Wooldridge II, pp. 149-150, "Cupid's Trepan" (1 tune, partial text)
Lyle-Crawfurd1 74, "The Blackbird" (1 text)
Reeves-Circle 60B, "The Grey Hawk" (1 text)
Palmer-ECS, #106, "The Grey Hawk" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1891 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), Vol. VII Part 2 [Part 21], pp. 359-360, "Cupids Trappan; Or, Up the green Forrest" Or "The Scorner Scorn'd" or "Willow turn'd into Carnation"; "Described in the Ranting Resolution of a Forsaken Maid" (1 text)
ST ChWII149 (Full)
Bodleian, Douce Ballads 1(50a), "Cupids Trappan; Or, Up the green Forrest" Or "The Scorner Sscorn'd" or "Willow turn'd into Carnation"; "Described in the Ranting Resolution of a Forsaken Maid" ("Once did I love and a bonny bonny bird"), F. Coles (London), 1663-1674
EngBdsdBA 21112, Pepys 3.107, "Cupids Trappan; Or, Up the green Forrest" Or "The Scorner Sscorn'd" or "Willow turn'd into Carnation"; "Described in the Ranting Resolution of a Forsaken Maid" ("Once did I love a bonny bonny Bird, thinking that he had been my own"), I. Wright (London?), no date, accessed 08 Dec 2013.
The Bonny Young Irish Boy [Laws P26] (File: LP26)
Of late I did hear a young man domineer/The Milkmaid's Resolution (BBI ZN2108)
I am a young man that do follow the plow/The Plowman's Art in Wooing (BBI ZN1240)
Of late did I hear a young damsel complain/Young Man put to his shifts (BBI ZN2107)
Once did I love and a very pretty Girl/The Batchellors Fore-cast..an Answer to Cupids Trappan (BBI ZN2160)
NOTES: This set of words clearly is of broadside origin (though likely inspired by a song of the "Dear Companion" type). But the evidence of the broadsides indicates that the tune, at least, entered oral tradition. I'm indexing it on that basis.
A "trepan" (trappan) is a trick or, by extension, a trickster. Thus Cupid's trepan is a trick played by Cupid on a lover.
Although it is also possible to take "Trepan" as "Trapan," which was the kidnapping of children and sending them as servants to the colonies. There is, e.g., a song (probably of broadside origin) of "The Trapann'd Maiden," quoted by Samuel Eliot Morison in The Oxford History of the American People, p. 83, about a girl taken and sent to Virginia. Thus this song may even have links to songs such as "Australia (Virginny)."
Roud lumps this with all sorts of songs, I assume on the basis of tune. - RBW
Regarding the history of the "Cupid's Trepan" tune and the tune itself see Claude M Simpson, The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, 1966, Rutgers University Press, pp. 151-153.
I have indexed Reeves-Circle 60B here, rather than at "The Bonny Boy (I)" or "The Disappointed Lover (I)" because it retains the bird theme, and at least three (and part of the fourth) of its five verses are close to the broadsides, and the verse structure is close to the broadside pattern in that the penultimate line adds "my brave boys" and is repeated without "my brave boys" (similar to "The Greenland Whale Fishery"). The fifth verse begins with an approximation of Ecclesiasticus [Sirach] 26.1, "Blessed is the man that hath a virtuous wife, for the number of his days shall be double": "How happy's the man that hath a good wife, Much better is he that's got none, But cursed is he that courteth another's When he has a good wife of his own...." - BS
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