Once They Said My Lips Were Red
DESCRIPTION: "Once they said my lips were red, Now they're scarlet pale, When I, like a silly girl, Beleiv'd his flattering tale. But he vow'd he'd never deceive me, And so fondly I believ'd he, While the stars and the moon So sweetly shone Over the willow tree"
EARLIEST DATE: 1896 (Ditchfield)
KEYWORDS: courting infidelity
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Williams-Thames, p. 302, "Morris Fragment" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 215, "Oh! Once They Said My Lip Was Red")
ADDITIONAL: P.H. Ditchfield, Old English Customs Extant at the Present Time (London, 1896 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 125, ("Once they said my lips were red") (1 text)
Percy Manning, "Some Oxfordshire Seasonal Festivals" in Folk-Lore, Vol. VIII (1897 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 321, ("Once they said my lips were red") (1 text, 1 tune)
cf. "The Willow Tree" (tune, per Ditchfield and Manning)
cf. "Willaim and Margaret" (one verse)
NOTES: Williams-Thames lists this as a fragment but both Manning and Ditchfield have substantially the same text as a complete Morris song.
Ditchfield and Manning: Listed under "Whitsuntide Customs" for Bampton Morris Dancers.
Williams-Thames: "The eleventh verse of the ballad, 'William and Margaret,' ... is similar ...." Versions vary but one text for the "William and Margaret" verse is "How could you say my lips were red, And make the scarlet pale? And why did I, young witless maid Believe thy flattering tale." Williams says his text may be older. - BS
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