Banks of the Nile, The (Men's Clothing I'll Put On II) [Laws N9]

DESCRIPTION: (William) has been ordered to the banks of the Nile. Molly offers to cut her hair, dress like a man, and go with him. He will not permit her to; (the climate is too harsh or women are simply not permitted). (He promises to return and they are parted)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1859 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(158))
KEYWORDS: soldier cross-dressing separation request
FOUND IN: US(MW,So) Britain(England(South),Scotland) Australia Ireland Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (33 citations):
Laws N9, "The Banks of the Nile (Men's Clothing I'll Put On II)"
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #25, pp. 1-2, "The Banks of the Nile"; #26, p. 2, "The Banks o' the Nile"; #27, p. 2, "The Banks o' the Nile" (1 text plus 2 fragments)
Greig/Duncan1 99, "The Banks of the Nile" (13 texts, 12 tunes)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 175, "Banks of the Nile" (1 text)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #108, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune)
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, p. 340, "Plains of Mexico" (1 text)
Randolph 42, "Men's Clothing I'll Put On" (Of Randolph's 6 texts, Laws assigns only the "A" version, with tune, to this group (and even this is hidden by a typographical error), but "B" and "E" might belong with this or "William and Nancy I")
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 92-93, "Men's Clothes I Will Put On" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 42A)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 66, "The Dolphin" (1 text, probably a confused version of "The Dolphin," a song of a sea battle, and "The Banks of the Nile" [Laws N9] or similar)
Dean-FlyingCloud, pp. 105-106, "Banks of the Nile" (1 text)
Harlow-ChantyingAboardAmericanShips, pp. 206-207, "Dixie's Isle" (1 text, 1 tune -- a version with American Civil War references)
Meredith/Anderson-FolkSongsOfAustralia, pp. 122-123, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text, 1 tune); probably also pp. 215-216, "The Banks of the Riverine" (the latter might go with "William and Nancy I")
Fahey-Eureka-SongsThatMadeAustralia, pp. 154-155, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fahey-PintPotAndBilly, pp. 30-31, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal-OldBushSongs-CentenaryEdition, pp. 273-275, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text)
Ord-BothySongsAndBallads, p. 298, "The Banks o' the Nile" (1 text)
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 231, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H238a, pp. 296-297, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune)
Munnelly/Deasy-TheMountCallanGarland-Tom-Lenihan 50, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune)
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin 68, "High Germany" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Moylan-TheAgeOfRevolution-1776-1815 170, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune)
Morton/Maguire-ComeDayGoDayGodSendSunday 47, pp. 139-140,174, "Texas Isle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Manifold-PenguinAustralianSongbook, pp. 130-132, "The Banks of the Condamine" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fowke/MacMillan-PenguinBookOfCanadianFolkSongs 72, "Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune, considered by Fowke states to be an abbreviated, localized version of "William and Nancy (I)" [Laws N8], but it could just as easily be a version of "The Banks of the Nile" [Laws N9])
Peacock, pp. 996-997, "Dixie's Isle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-MaritimeFolkSongs, p. 147, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune)
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 35B, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text); 36, "Dixie's Isle" (1 text)
Huntington-SongsTheWhalemenSang, pp. 266-268, "Farewell My Dear Nancy" (1 text, 1 tune, a fragment lacking the beginning. The final three stanzas appear to belong here but might be something else)
Dallas-TheCruelWars-100SoldiersSongs, pp. 77-78, "The Banks of the Nile" (1 text, 1 tune)
Grigson-PenguinBookOfBallads 98, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: A. K. MacDougall, _An Anthology of Classic Australian Lore_ (earlier published as _The Big Treasury of Australian Foiklore_), The Five Mile Press, 1990, 2002, p. 308, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text)
Bill Beatty, _A Treasury of Australian Folk Tales & Traditions_, 1960 (I use the 1969 Walkabout Paperbacks edition), pp. 292-293, "The Banks of the Condamine" (1 text)

Roud #950
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "The Banks of the Nile" (on SCMacCollSeeger01)
Pat MacNamara, "Banks of the Nile" (on IRClare01)
unknown singer, "Down in Dixie's Isle" (on MUNFLA/Leach)

Bodleian, Harding B 11(158), "Banks of the Nile", J.O. Bebbington (Manchester), 1855-1858; also 2806 b.9(227), 2806 b.9(53), 2806 c.14(179), Firth b.25(245), Harding B 11(276), Firth b.26(269), Firth c.14(148), Firth c.14(149), Harding B 11(158), Harding B 11(2900), Harding B 11(2900A), Harding B 26(47)[some blurring], [The] Banks of the Nile"
LOCSinging, as100630, "The Banks of the Nile," P. Brereton (Dublin), 19C
Murray, Mu23-y1:078, "The Banks of the Nile", James Lindsay (Glasgow), 19C; also Mu23-y3:024, "The Banks of the Nile," unknown, 19C

cf. "Jack Monroe" [Laws N7]
cf. "William and Nancy I" [Laws N8]
cf. "High Germany (I)"
cf. "The Girl Volunteer (The Cruel War Is Raging)" [Laws O33]
cf. "When First To This Country (II)" (theme)
cf. "The Tomahawk Hem" (some lyrics)
NOTES [475 words]: What is the historical reference here? The earliest Bodleian broadside, Harding B 11(158), is printed between 1855 and 1858. One possibility (see Laws N9 notes relating that "Randolph observes that Ord" makes the connection) is the second Battle of Abukir in which "in March 1801, a British army of 5,000 under General Ralph Abercromby landed to dislodge a French army of 2,000 under General Louis Friant. They did so, but not before 1,100 British troops were lost." (Source: Wikipedia article Battle of Abukir ) - BS
Possibly supporting this is the fact that there was also a battle at Abukir (Aboukir) Bay on August 1-2, 1798, in which Nelson annihilated a French force, allowing Britain to control entrance to Egypt. This was, of course, a sea battle -- but it's often called "The Battle of the Nile." What's more, there were women involved -- they were the wives of the sailors. According to David Cordingly, Women Sailors and Sailors' Women, Random House, 2001 (I use the undated, but later, paperback edition), pp. 102-103, no fewer than four (wives of sailors) took part in the battle of Aboukir aboard the Goliath. There were probably quite a few more on other ships; it's just that the women on the Goliath were fairly well documented (and were praised for their conduct).
Britain again interfered in Egypt in 1807, and the nation (along with the Sudan) was formally freed from Ottoman rule in 1841, largely as a result of European meddling. There were enough British soldiers floating around that the song would be relevant at almost any time from 1798 until the first broadsides appeared. The song takes place *before* the battle; as a result, I never really thought to associate it with a particular event. Though I concede that Aboukir makes sense; it put Egypt "in the news." - RBW
Laws quotes Dixie's Isle as "a Civil War adaptation" of N9. The "adaptation" is illustrated by the change from
We are called up to Portsmouth, many a long mile,
All for to be embarked for the Banks of the Nile
They call me down to New Orleans for many a long mile
To fight the southern soldiers way down in Dixie's Isle. - BS
In some of the Australian versions, rather than Willie being a soldier, he becomes a shearer. But the plot and pathos of the song remain clear.
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety's text appears to be an adaption of this song to the context of the Mexican War (1846-1848). In this version, the modification is so complete that the girl does not even ask to come along; Laws, in fact, does not list Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety's piece as an adaption of this song.
Nonetheless, the kinship with "The Banks of the Nile" is still patently obvious. And neither Belden nor I knows of another version of the Mexican version of the song. So it seemed sufficient to list it here. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: LN09

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