I'm Just Going Down to the Gate
DESCRIPTION: Though the singer's sweetheart's parents think she is too young to marry, she's allowed to wander as far as the garden gate, where the two lovers meet regularly. Someday they will slip off to the parson's.
AUTHOR: Gus. Williams and Joseph P. Skelly
EARLIEST DATE: 1882 (sheet music published)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer describes his sweetheart as a "sly little fairy"; though her parents are protective and think she's too young to marry, she's allowed to wander as far as the garden gate, where of course she meets him. They talk sweet nothings while the parents debate weighty matters inside; she tells them "there's no sign of a storm, and the night is so warm." Someday they will slip off to the parson's. Chorus: "I'll just go as far as the gate, dear ma...The moon is so bright, and it's such a fine night/I love to stand here by the gate"
KEYWORDS: age courting elopement marriage nonballad family lover
FOUND IN: US(MW,SE)
Sid Harkreader, "Only As Far As the Gate" (Paramount 3035, 1927)
Uncle Dave Macon, "Only As Far As the Gate Dear Ma" (Vocalion 15323, 1926)
Murphy Brothers Harp Band, "When Katie Comes Down to the Gate" (Champion 16455, 1932)
Piedmont Log Rollers, "My Sweetheart is a Shy Little Fairy" (Victor 21187, 1928; rec. 1927)
cf. "I'll Give You One More As You Go" (general situation, a few words)
NOTES [89 words]: Chris Valillo has documented that this was taught at a singing school in Badet, IL as early as 1884. I've used the title of the original song, although it has apparently not been used much in tradition.
A parody of this song (not a very good one) was variously called "I'll Give You One More As You Go" and "My Sweetheart is a Sly Little Miss." See the Index entry under the former title for a recording and a field collection. -PJS
For background on composer Joseph P. Skelly, see the notes to "The Old Rustic Bridge by the Mill" - RBW.
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