Twenty-Fourth of May, The
DESCRIPTION: "O, the twenty-fourth of May Is the Queen's birthday. If you don't give us a holiday, We'll all run away." "Where will you run to? Down Stony Lane, Then old Mr. Bently will come wi' his cane, and quickly then he'll chase you all back again"
EARLIEST DATE: 1875 (Sutton-Smith-NZ-GamesOfNewZealandChilden/FolkgamesOfChildren)
KEYWORDS: royalty nonballad
May 24, 1819 - birth of the future Queen Victoria
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar) Britain(England(North))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Manny/Wilson-SongsOfMiramichi, p.35, (no title) (1 text)
Sutton-Smith-NZ-GamesOfNewZealandChilden/FolkgamesOfChildren, p. 20, "Oka Ball Day" (1 text); p. 61, "(Hip, hip, hooray)" (2 texts)
ADDITIONAL: Marjorie Rowling, _The Folklore of the Lake District_, Rowman and Littlefield, 1976, p. 120, "(If you don't give us a holiday") (1 short text)
NOTES [135 words]: The songs in Manny/Wilson-SongsOfMiramichi were collected in two spurts: The Lord Beaverbrook collection was made around 1947, and Manny started gathering material about ten years later. It would be interesting to know how many of her informants went to school during Victoria's reign -- I wonder if Manny didn't recall the piece herself.
The Rowling text, apparently sung around 1920, does not mention the queen (after all, she was dead for a generation by then), but has the "holiday" lyrics, so I file it here.
Even more interesting is Sutton-Smith's "Oka Ball Day" lyric, which he said was collected in 1875. It too has the "holiday/run away" rhyme, but a nonsense first line. And no mention of Victoria. That says that there is an ancestor of this song out there somewhere that I haven't identified. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
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 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.