Speed the Plow (Sal'sb'ry Sal)
DESCRIPTION: Known as a fiddle tune, Flanders gives the words as "Oh, high, diddy-di, for Sal'sb'ry Sal, Plump she was, and a right smart gal, Swing to the center and caper down the hall, High, diddy-di, and a balance all...."
EARLIEST DATE: 1931 (Flanders/Brown)
KEYWORDS: dancetune nonballad
FOUND IN: US(NE)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Flanders/Brown, p. 26, "Sal'sb'ry Sal" (1 text)
Linscott, pp. 111-112, "Speed the Plow" (1 tune plus dance instructions)
NOTES: "Speed the Plow" is, of course, one of the most popular of fiddle tunes. We can't absolutely identify it with the words in Flanders and Brown, though, because they don't give a tune!
The phrase "speed the plow" has been used in songs for many hundreds of years. Richard Greene, editor, A Selection of English Carols, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, has as his #32 (pp. 147-148) a piece with the refrain "The merthe of all this londe Maketh the gode hosbonde, With erynge of his plowe." The third verse reads, "Aboute barly and whete,That maketh men to swete, God spede the plowe al day!" The source of this is Bodleian MS. Arch. Selden B.26 of the fifteenth century. Greene, p. 244, believes it is a carol for Plow Monday, or the Monday after Epiphany. - RBW
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