Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding (III)
DESCRIPTION: Arthur Bradley courted one-eyed humpbacked bandy-legged ... Draggletail Dorothy. The wedding attendees are only one character from each town. Arthur lists what he will leave Dorothy: "two old left handed mittens" "a good old mustard pot" and so on
EARLIEST DATE: 17C (Roxburghe); 1834 (Cruickshank)
KEYWORDS: poverty wedding humorous
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Reeves-Sharp 5, "Arthur Bradley O" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Joseph Woodfall Ebsworth, editor, The Roxburghe Ballads: Illustrating the Last Years of the Stuarts (Hertford, 1891 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. VII part II, pp. 320-321, "Arthur o' Bradley" (2 texts: Roxburghe III.283 and verses from a 1778 text)
George Cruikshank and Robert Cruikshank, The Universal Songster, (London, 1834 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. I, p. 368, "O! Rare Arthur O'Bradley, O!" ("'Twas in the sweet month of May, I walked out to take the air") (1 text)
Bodleian, Harding B 2(4)[many lines illegible], "Arthur O'Bradley's Fortune ("Twas in the month of May, when lasses they were gay"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819
cf. "Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding" (I) (subject) and references there
NOTES [626 words]: Dorothy Draggletail is the name of the fifth amorous maid in "Dame Durden": "'Twas on the morn of Valentine, The birds began to prate, Dame Durden's servants, maids and men, They all began to mate. 'Twas Moll and Bet, Doll and Kate, And Dorothy Draggletail, And John and Dick, and Joe and Jack, and Humphrey with his flail." Reeves-Sharp, re "Draggletail," says, "Possibly gypsy (cf. Raggle-taggle [as in Williams, Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames versions of Child 200])." From an 1870 story: "... 'do you know, mamma, Dolly always reminds me of that girl in the song ? You know, there was "Kit, and Bess, and Moll, and Sue, and Dorothy Draggletail." I suppose she was an awful slut....'" (Edith Walford, "Dorothy Draggletail," The Quiver: an Illustrated Magazine for Sunday and General Reading , (London, 1870 ("Digitized by Google")), Vol. V, p. 413).
[Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (combined fifth edition with dictionary and supplement), Macmillan, 1961, p. 240, defines draggle-tail as "'A nasty dirty Slut,' B.E.: coll[oquial]: late C.17-mid 19. See (anatomical) tail and cf. daggle-tail q.v. -- 2. Hence, a low prosstitute, mid C. 19-20; ob[solecent]." - RBW]
Reeves-Sharp: "This seems to be a comparatively late version of a comic song which had been printed as early as the seventeenth century." The reference may be to the broadside "Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding" (I) (which see). The bride's name there is Dolly, not Dorothy Draggletail, and she is not a particular object of ridicule. In that song no one person is ridiculed though the entire wedding party, "five thousand or more," are made out to be bumpkins. The Reeves-Sharp description of Dorothy is almost exactly the broadside description of guest "old mother Crewe."
In Cruikshank's text "my father he died one day, and he left me his son and heir." The rest of the song lists his inheritance, including "a barrow without a handle ... two left handed gloves, a chamber-pot as good as ever was made of wood ... several other things, but I have forgot one half." The girl and her mother are omitted altogether. There is not much difference between this form and such songs as "Grandfather Bryan" and "My Father Died a Month Ago." The items in the inheritance put it with "Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding (III)."
The Roxburghe broadside is not dated. I am using Chappell's general dating: "The collection may be looked upon broadly as one of English ballads printed during the seventeenth century, for the exceptions [ten that were printed between 1567 and 1584] are but few in comparison with the bulk" (source: Wm. Chappell, The Roxburghe Ballads, (London, 1871), [Vol. I,] p. vi); that is not always reliable [for example, Roxburghe III.380, "The Gallant Grahams of Scotland," which refers to Bonnie Prince Charlie, must have been modified in mid-18C]. It can probably be dated as later than the 1642?-1656 text cited for "Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding" (II). The two texts share some lines (especially in the conversation between mother and daughter and Arthur's inheritance). However, "Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding" (III) leaves out most of the details of the wedding and feast and is less polite. For example, Ebsworth's version of "Arthur O'Bradley's Wedding" II has "homeward they went with speed, Where the mother they met indeed. 'Well met fair Dame!" quoth Arthur, To move you I am come hither"; Harding B 2(4), has "Then Arthur forth did walk, to the old woman he did talk Thou art an old whore said he, I can have as good as she," and the Roxburghe text here has "'O daughter sweet!' cries she, 'what makes you so eager be To be a bumkin's Bride, when better will lie by your side?' 'You lie, old whore,' cries he, 'I can have as good as she.'" - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.