Courting Case, The

DESCRIPTION: Man comes courting a woman. She reminds him that she told him never to return. He offers her his "very fine house," his "very fine farm," his "very fine horse," etc.; (she rejects them all because he is a gambler/drunkard/whatever).
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
KEYWORDS: gambling courting dialog money rejection
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Lomax-FSNA 104, "The Gambling Suitor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 361, "The Courting Cage" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 3, "The Courting Cage" (2 texts)
BrownSchinhanV 3, "The Courting Cage" (2 tunes plus text excerpts)
Chappell-FSRA 120, "The Drunkard's Courtship" (1 text)
Hudson 52, pp. 167-169, "O Madam, I Have a Fine Little Horse" (2 texts plus mention of 1 more)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 304-307, "Kind Sir" (2 texts, one, "The Courting Cage," coming from Randolph; 2 tunes on pp.436-437)
SharpAp 177, "The Courting Case" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Gardner/Chickering 173, "The Wooing" (2 texts, the "A" text being this and "B" being probably "Wheel of Fortune (Dublin City, Spanish Lady)")
Chase, pp. 146-147, "The Gambling Suitor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 76-77, "The Girl Who Never Would Wed" (1 text, in which the girl never gives in, but the verses place it here)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 118-119, "The Drunkard's Courtship" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #361
Horton Barker, "The Drunkard's Courtship" (on Barker01)
Loman D. Cansler, "The Lovers' Quarrel" (on Cansler1)

cf. "The Keys of Canterbury" (theme)
cf. "Sweet Nelly My Heart's Delight" (plot)
cf. "Geordie's Courtship (I Wad Rather a Garret)" (plot)
cf. "Bachelor's Hall (III)" (theme)
NOTES [123 words]: In most versions of this song, the man says he has, or is, a "courting cage," which (presumably because it sounds so strange) is sometimes changed to a "courting case." But I wonder if, by any chance, the original was a "courting cake," which, according to Arnold Kellett, The Yorkshire Dictionary of Dialect, Tradition, and Folklore, revised edition, Smith Settle, 2002, p. 39, is a "kind of sandwich cake traditionally made by girls for their boyfriends." This might explain much about the strange first line of the song -- if only we could explain how a Yorkshire term came to be used in an American song (the song seems to be almost entirely American; there is at least one Canadian version, but I know of none from the British Isles).
Last updated in version 4.1
File: R361

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