Led I the Dance a Midsummer's Day (Jack and the Dancing Maid)
DESCRIPTION: The singer tells how Jak, the "haly-watur clerk," came and prayed in her face as she danced in June. He asks for privacy. "Wan Jak had donn," he rings the bell but has her stay. The girl's mother asks where she has been. Now her "wombe wax out"
EARLIEST DATE: Fifteenth century (Cambridge, Gonville & Caius College MS. 383)
KEYWORDS: clergy seduction pregnancy
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Stevick-100MEL 73, "(Allas, allas the while!)" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Richard Greene, editor, _A Selection of English Carols_, Clarendon Medieval and Tudor Series, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1962, #96, pp. 164-165, "("Ladd Y the daunce a Myssomur Day)" (1 text)
Maxwell S. Luria & Richard Hoffman, _Middle English Lyrics_, a Norton Critical Edition, Norton, 1974, pp. 85-86, #87 (no title) (1 text)
R. T. Davies, editor, _Medieval English Lyrics: A Critical Anthology_, 1963, #108, pp. 204-206, "A night with a holy-water clerk" (1 text)
Brown/Robbins, _Index of Middle English Verse_, #1849
Digital Index of Middle English Verse #3044
NOTES: This is found in only one manuscript, Gonville & Caius College MS. 383, but it has been so popular with scholars of Middle English that I decided to include it. Certainly it looks "folky"; Greene and DIMEV class it as a carol, and Davies calls it ballad-like.
The manuscript containing it is interesting. Montague Rhodes James, A Descriptive Catalog of the Manuscripts in the Library of Gonville and Caius College, Volue II, Cambridge University Press, 1908 ("Digitized by Google"), p. 435, says that it is "most irregularly written" and, in its current form, "defies collation" (that is, the quires are of very divergent nature). Much of the content is educational, but the scribe seems to have liked taking an occasional break with something highly recreational. It also contains the well-known "Serving Girl's Holiday." - RBW
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