Two Little Blackbirds
DESCRIPTION: "Two little blackbird in the ring, One named Peter, one named Paul. Fly away, Peter, fly away, Paul. Come back, Peter, Come back, Paul." "Under the carpet (?) we must go, Like a jaybird (?) in the air." "Then, Sally, will you marry?"
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1765 (Mother Goose's Melody)
KEYWORDS: bird marriage floatingverses nonballad
FOUND IN: West Indies
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Opie-Oxford2 132, "Two Little Dicky Birds" (2 texts)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #596, p. 237, "(There were two blackbirds)"
Dolby, p. 113, "Two Little Dicky Birds" (1 text)
Elda Blackwood, "Two Little Blackbirds" (on USWarnerColl01)
NOTES [115 words]: The Warners identify this with the mother goose rhyme, "There were two Blackirds Sta upon a Hill, The one nam'd Jack, The other nam'd Gill, Fly away Jack, Fly away Gill, Come again Jack, Come again Jill," now more commonly known as "Two little dicky birds." The similarity in lyrics is obvious, but the shift from Jack and Gill to Peter and Paul is peculiar, and most of Elda Blackwood's version is distinct anyway.
Unfortunately, the Warner recording of Blackwood is so noisy as to verge on incomprehensible (note the number of question marks in my transcription). I think we must treat the matter as unsettled. But I've filed the nursery rhyme here, since it appears clearly traditional. - RBW
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