Phyllis and her Mother
DESCRIPTION: Phyllis hides in the woods. Her mother finds her asleep. The daughter drowsily says, "Damon, dear, how long you take." The mother, enraged, tells Phyllis she must go to a convent; Phyllis demurs: "And if love is wrong, said she/Tell me how I came to be."
EARLIEST DATE: 1915 (recording [in German], Paul Reimers)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Waiting for her shepherd lover, Phyllis hides in the woods. Her mother looks for her and, finding her asleep, kisses her supposedly-innocent daughter. The daughter drowsily says, "Damon, dear, how long you take." The mother, enraged, tells Phyllis she must go to a convent; Phyllis demurs: "And if love is wrong, said she/Tell me how I came to be."
KEYWORDS: courting sex foreignlanguage mother
Paul Reimers, "Phyllis und die Mutter" (Victor 45062, 1915)
NOTES: The song is probably best-known, in an English translation, from the repertoire of revival singer Richard Dyer-Bennet. However, the 78 by Paul Reimers is evidence that the song circulated in German during the 20th century. Reimers seems to have been an American (or at least a resident), recording for Victor in New Jersey, and most of his recordings are of English-language popular music. Dyer-Bennet notes an anonymous publication of the song in Germany in 1799, but without further data I'm reluctant to list that as earliest date. - PJS
It seems pretty clear to me that it's an art song rather than of true folk origin (at least in the Dyer-Bennet form), but I'm in the same quandry as Paul: I can't do much to trace the history. - RBW
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