DESCRIPTION: A blacksmith, going to Strawberry Fair, meets "a fair maid go selling her ware." She says she has "a lock that doth lack a key." She invites him to try his key. Now she has no wares and wishes her lock had been a gun to shoot the blacksmith.
EARLIEST DATE: 1891 (Reeves-Circle)
KEYWORDS: sex bawdy commerce food
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Purslow-Constant, p. 14, "Chilbridge Fair" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Circle 125, "Strawberry Fair" (1 text)
Palmer-ECS, #113, "Strawberry Fair" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: S. Baring-Gould and Cecil J Sharp, English Folk-Songs for Schools (London, no date ("Digitized by Microsoft")), sixth edition, #27 pp. 56-57, "Strawberry Fair" ("As I was going to Strawberry Fair, Singing, singing, buttercups and daisies") (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [160 words]: The Baring-Gould Sharp text is the one I have heard and seen quoted. [I've also heard only the bowdlerized versions. - RBW] It's not a surprise that it was cleaned up for schools. A description of the Baring-Gould Sharp text: The singer, going to Strawberry Fair, meets "a maiden taking her ware." She offers him cherries, roses, and strawberries. He is not interested because cherries and roses are "perishing ware." He wants to purchase "a generous heart, A tongue that is neither nimble nor tart, An honest mind" offering, in exchange, "a ring of gold on your finger"; he asks her to "make over your ware In church today at Strawberry Fair."
Reeves-Circle quotes Baring-Gould: "The ballad is sung everywhere in Cornwall and Devon to the same melody. The words are certainly not later than the age of Charles II, and are probably older. They turn on a double entendre which is quite lost -- and fortunately so -- to half the old fellows who sing the song." - BS
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