Eence Upon a Time (Had I the Wyte)

DESCRIPTION: The singer asks "Had I the wyte?" [Was I to blame?] "She was cook aboot the hoose, And I was kitchie laddie, And aye she gae me bread and cheese To kiss 'er fan she bade me" [Hecht-Herd: "And when I could na do't again: Silly loon she ca'd me."]
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c.1803 (Hans Hecht, editor, _Songs from David Herd's Manuscripts_ (Edinburgh, 1904) 20, pp. 117, 288-289)
KEYWORDS: courting cook pregnancy food
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig/Duncan7 1399, "Had I the Wyte" (2 fragments)
Porter/Gower-Jeannie-Robertson-EmergentSingerTransformativeVoice #56, pp. 217-218, "Ainst Upon a Time" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #7253 and 3361
cf. "Come Kiss Wi' Me, Come Clap Wi' Me" (tune, per Hecht-Herd)
NOTES [198 words]: The current description is almost all of the Greig/Duncan7 text. The Robert Burns text (Robert Burns, The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns (New Lanark,2005), pp. 429-430, "Had I the Wyte? She Bade Me") may give a better line on earlier texts: She invites him in and when he refuses and she calls him a coward he follows her; with her husband gone he kisses, hugs and bruises her ("Could I for shame refuse her?") - BS
On the other hand, Ray Fisher on the recording "The Fisher Family" sang a song, "Aince Upon a Time," which was based on a version by Jeanie Robertson ("Eence Upon a TIme" or "Eenst Upon a Time") to which Ray added some words. I don't know which words, but in that version the key chorus is, "When I was cook aboot the hoose and he was but a laddie, I gied him a' my bried and ale to by my bairnie's daddy," which gives a pretty strong hint as to what is going on. This item is listed by Roud as #3361. I am lumping them until we can find a more substantial text of "Had I the Wyte." - RBW
Jeannie Robertson ends her version with "don't think I'm mad about you; I could do with a man, but I can do without you" which adds a whole other dimension to the text. - DGE
Last updated in version 5.3
File: GrD71399

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