William and Nancy (I) (Lisbon; Men's Clothing I'll Put On I) [Laws N8]
DESCRIPTION: (William) has been ordered to war. His sweetheart (Nancy) offers to dress in men's clothes and accompany him. William says that Nancy is not strong enough; she assures him she will be. At last he agrees; they are married and go off together
EARLIEST DATE: 1904
KEYWORDS: separation cross-dressing marriage war
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,MW,SE,So) Britain(England(Lond,South),Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (21 citations):
Laws N8, "William and Nancy (I) (Lisbon; Men's Clothing I'll Put On I)"
Belden, pp. 177-180, "Lisbon" (3 texts, but the third is "The Girl Volunteer")
Randolph 42, "Men's Clothing I'll Put On" (Of Randolph's six texts, Laws puts only "B," "D," and "E" -- the last with melody -- with this song. In fact any of these versions -- especially "B" and "E" -- might be part of "The Banks of the Nile." "A" definitely goes with that piece, and "C" and "F" go with "Jack Monroe")
Chappell-FSRA 67, "Johnnie and Nancy" (1 text)
FSCatskills 29, "It Was Early One Monday Morning" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gardner/Chickering 61, "Williams and Nancy" (1 text plus mention of 1 more, though the second text has the title "The Banks of the Nile")
Stout 32, p. 47, "William and Nancy" (1 fragment, possibly of this since it mentions Lisbon)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 156-158, "William and Nancy" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Creighton-Maritime, p. 66, "It Was On One Monday Morning" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 202-205, "Jimmy and Nancy on the Sea" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fowke/MacMillan 72, "Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune, considered by Fowke to be an abbreviated, localized version of "William and Nancy (I)" [Laws N8], but it could just as easily be a version of "The Banks of the Nile" [Laws N9])
Mackenzie 35A, "William and Nancy" (1 text)
SharpAp 121, "William and Polly" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 34, "William and Polly (Lisbon)" (1 text, 1 tune, "slightly shortened")
Fuson, pp. 67-68, "Sweet William" (1 text, a compound of the cross-dressing lover songs but more like this than any of the others)
GreigDuncan1 63, "The Sailor and Nancy" (1 text)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 58-59, "Lisbon" (1 text, 1 tune)
OShaughnessy-Grainger 13, "Lisbon" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H561, p. 458, "Lovely Annie (I)" (1 text, 1 tune)
BBI, ZN1749, "Margaret my sweetest, Margaret I must go" (listed as Laws N4 though the description sounds more like this piece)
DT 442, BANKNIL4 (BANKNIL2*?) BANKNIL3*
Jim Dalton, "Jimmy and Nancy on the Sea" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Jim Molloy, "Lovely Nancy" (on NFMLeach)
Lee Monroe Presnell, "I Went to See My Molly" (on USWarnerColl01 -- a short text, probably this although it has an American Civil War setting)
Bodleian, Firth c.12(165), "William and Margaret" ("'Twas on a Monday, all in the month of May"), unknown, n.d.
Murray, Mu23-y1:039, "William and Margaret," James Lindsay Jr. (Glasgow), 19C
cf. "Jack Monroe" [Laws N7]
cf. "The Banks of the Nile (Men's Clothing I'll Put On II)" [Laws N9]
cf. "High Germany (I)"
cf. "The Girl Volunteer (The Cruel War Is Raging)" [Laws O33]
NOTES: The Sacred Harp has a tune "Lisbon" which, like many versions of this song, is in triple time. But based on the versions I've checked, they do not appear to be the same melody. - RBW
In at least some versions Nancy must assure William that she will accept his affairs with other women.
In OShaughnessy-Grainger, "If I should meet with a lady that's proper tall and gay / If I should fancy her, love, what would you have to say? / Would you not be offended thyen? O no my lover true / I'd stand aside sweet William whenever she pleasur'd you."
Mackenzie has "But if I was to meet some other in sweeter charms than thee / And she was to please my fancy what would my Nancy say? / What would I say dear Willie and I would love her too / And I would gently step aside while she would be talking to you." Here, but not in OShaunessy-Grainger, Willie says, "Dear Nancy all these words are enough to break my heart / Pray let us then be married before that we depart."
SharpAp A is equivocal: "O if I was to meet some pretty girl / All on the highway / And was to take a like unto her / What would my Polly say / My Polly she'd be angry / Although I love her too / I'd step aside Sweet William / That she might comfort you."
Peacock A has a stronger rejection: "Besides there are pretty girls over there both bonny brisk and gay / If I should go a-courting what would my Nancy say? / Sure I would say dear Jimmy I am in love with you / So stay at home dear Jimmy when they are pressing you."
Other similar versions include Belden A, Chappell-FSRA, Creighton/Senior, FSCatskills, Gardner/Chickering, GreigDuncan1, Peacock B, SHenry, and Vaughan Williams/Lloyd.
Versions with no such complication include Creighton-Maritime, Fowke/MacMillan, Randolph, SharpAp B and C, Sharp-Karpeles-80E and the broadsides Bodleian Firth c.12(65) and Murray Mu23-y1:039. - BS
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