Dancing at Whitsun
DESCRIPTION: "It's fifty long springtime since she was a bride, But still you may see her at each Whitsuntide." With the men who did the local dances dead in World War I, the women are keeping the dances alive
AUTHOR: Words: Austin John Marshall (1937-2013)
EARLIEST DATE: 1968 (copyright)
KEYWORDS: dancing wife husband death soldier
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Dallas-TheCruelWars-100SoldiersSongs, pp. 240-241, "The Whitsun Dance" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [135 words]: Not a traditional song, but so well known in folk circles that I am including it based on its presence in Dallas-TheCruelWars-100SoldiersSongs. Based on the notes there, it was originally a poem, but Shirley Collins (Marshall's then-wife) set it to the tune of "The False Bride," and it was taken up by the Country Dance Societies. It has now been a half a century since the song was written, and a century since the Great War; I wonder who will keep up the dances -- and the song -- now.
Apparently Marshall's original title was "The Whitsun Dance," but I've never met a recording under that name.
The song is popular enough that it seems to have encouraged its own folklore -- e.g. that the dance was the Morris Dance, and that the women entirely replaced the men. None of this seems to be true. Too bad. - RBW
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