Led I the Dance on 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"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: Fifteenth century (Cambridge, Gonville & Caius College MS. 383)
KEYWORDS: clergy seduction pregnancy MiddleEnglish
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Greene-TheEarlyEnglishCarols, #453, pp. 307-308, "(Ladd Y the daunce a Myssomur Day)" (1 text)
Stevick-OneHundredMiddleEnglishLyrics 73, "(Allas, allas the while!)" (1 text)
Hirsh-MedievalLyric-MiddleEnglishLyricsBalladsCarols #40, "(Alas, aas the wyle)" (1 text)
Brown/Robbins-IndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse, #1849
DigitalIndexOfMiddleEnglishVerse #3044
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)
MANUSCRIPT: {MSCaiusCollege383}, Cambridge, Gonville & Caius College MS. 383, page 41

NOTES [207 words]: This is found in only one manuscript, Gonville & Caius College MS. 383(:badly faded and transcribed in a tiny script, in a fifteenth century exercise and commonplace notebook of a trilingual Oxford student," claims Hirsch, p. 120), 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 (IMEV "an erotic carol"), and Davies calls it ballad-like.
Richard Leighton Greene, editor, The Earliest English Carols, Oxford/Clarendon Press, 1935, p. xcv, while admitting he has no proof, thinks this one of two carols in Cambridge, Gonville & Caius College MS. 383 that, "because of their homeliness, their directness of speech, and their theme of the betrayed girl, have a strong case for consideration as authentic folk-song" -- although E. K. Chambers, English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1945, 1947, p. 113, responds that "I see nothing in them but the work of some graceless minstrel." (Personally, I am more inclined to agree with Greene.)
The manuscript also contains the well-known "Serving Girl's Holiday," which is the other song Greene referred to. A third piece in the Index is "Saint Thomas of Canterbury." - RBW
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File: GrEE096

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