DESCRIPTION: "Oh cruel were my parents that stole [imprest?] my love fae me," but he has returned safely. They go to Almeldrum, a poor town of little water, tasteless food, a frail bridge, and a council so down on sin they might let one baby cross but not twins.
EARLIEST DATE: 1914 (Greig/Duncan3) [but note parodies printed before 1813]
KEYWORDS: courting parting return travel commerce humorous twins
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig/Duncan3 513, "Aul' Meldrum Toon" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: C. H. Firth, _Publications of the Navy Records Society_ , 1907 (available on Google Books), p. 324, "Oh Cruel" (1 text, possibly this or perhaps one of the parodies)
NOTES [343 words]: Greig/Duncan3: "For the sub-title and opening stanza, cf. the song 'Cruel was my father' of which Greig received a version from Miss H. Rae." Since that verse is not reproduced in Greig or the Greig-Duncan collection we are left to guess what song that might be. It might be "Riley's Farewell" - though Greig does have that as "John Rylie" - which, in Greig's version includes the lines "Cruel were my parents to persecute my love" [by having him imprest]; that line in, for example, Ashton,Modern Street Ballads, "Riley's Farewell" is "Cruel was my father that thought to shoot my love."
There are different broadside parodies of "Oh Cruel." For example, see
Bodleian, Harding B 17(9a), "The Answer to 'Oh! Cruel'" ("Oh! cruel were my parents that envied our love "), J. Evans (London), 1780-1812; also Firth c.13(91), Harding B 11(81), "The Answer to 'Oh! Cruel'"
Bodleian, Harding B 25(1396), "Another Oh, Cruel! A sketch of the life of Sammy Simple, a tale, alas too true!" ("O cruel was the serjeant who did my lovey list"), J.K. Pollock (North Shields), 1815-1855
Bodleian, Harding B 11(81), "Oh! Cruel" ("Oh! cruel were my parents, as tore my love from me")["Written and sung by a gentleman (In the Character of a Female Ballad Singer)"], J. Evans (London), 1780-1812; also Firth c.12(207), Firth c.12(205), 2806 c.18(220), Harding B 11(672), "Oh Cruel!"; Harding B 25(1930), "Tommy Strill"; Johnson Ballads 2304[some lines illegible], "The Answer to Oh! cruel"
Bodleian, Johnson Ballads fol. 250, "Dr. Shuffle" ("Oh! cruel 'twas of you pa, to force this job on me"), G. Stewardson (Norwich), no date
Greig/Duncan3 has a map on p. xxxv, of "places mentioned in songs in volume 3" showing the song number as well as place name; Old Meldrum (513) is at coordinate (h2-3,v8) on that map [roughly 16 miles NW of Aberdeen]. - BS
Scott-EnglishSongBook, pp. 74-75, has a song, "Oh! Cruel Were My Parients" (sic.), which is reported to be "Sung by all the Comic Singers), which is "A Burlesque on the traditional words 'Oh! cruel was the Press Gang." - RBW
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