Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/488

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478


NOTES AND QUERIES. [ii s. XL JUNE 19, 1915.


D'OYI/EY'S WAREHOUSE, 1855 (11 S. xi. 169, 216, 238, 328). MR. ALAN STEWART will find a picture of the corner house in the Strand to which he refers on p. 117 of Punch for 10 Sept., 1887. It was then occupied by The Field ; next (to the east) came The Queen, and then the old Gaiety Theatre.

WlLMOT CORFIELD.

AUTHORS WANTED (11 S. xi. 360). Having been informed that the lines be- ginning "Unanswered yet?" were prefixed to a volume entitled ' Thoughts on Prayer,' published about thirty years ago l)y the Religious Tract Society, I wrote to the Secretary of the Society, asking him if he could give me the name of the author, and I quote the material portion of the .reply he kindly sent ms :

" On looking into the matter I find from some correspondence dated 1906 that the verses were composed by Ophelia G. Browning, and the following is a copy of a printed notice in regard .to them :

" Copy. The poem has attracted much atten- 'tion in America, and frequent inquiries have been made as to its authorship and origin. It has occasionally been ascribed to Robert Browning. It was written in May, 1880, by Ophelia G. Brown- ing, the daughter of an American Methodist ^minister. In 1884 she was married to Thomas E. Burroughs of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., since whose death a few years ago she has been married again, her present husband being Rev. Arthur P. Adams, Beverly, Mass. 1906."

The surname of the authoress will account for the erroneous ascription to Robert Browning.

A statement regarding Mrs. Maybrick, that the verses (the one quoted is the last of four) were " written by her in the solitude of her dungeon," may be true, as, being an American, she would probably be acquainted with them, and would write from, memory.

R. GRIME.

(11 S. xi. 379, 461.) The lines referred to are properly,

I never had a piece of toast Particularly long and wide, But fell upon the sanded floor, And always on the buttered side,

and are so given, without source, in Walter Hamilton's ' Parodies,' vol. iii. p. 268 ; whilst elsewhere they are classed as " anony- mous." They were printed in Chambers' s Journal towards the end of the sixties, or early in the seventies, and my impression is that they were in one of a series of chatty articles contributed by James Payn, the novelist, who edited the Journal Irom 1858 to 1874. I more than suspect


that they were written by Payn himself, some of whose works contain snatches of parody, and who quoted Thomas Moore's " dear gazelle " line (incorrectly, by the way) in his ' Lights and Shadows of London Life,' vol. i. p. 160 (1867). W. B. H.

(11 S. xi. 401.)

John o' London in * London Stories,' and Rodwell in ' Old London Bridge,' give different versions of this song, which seems to be centuries old and beyond all record of authorship. John's version is :

London Bridge is broken down ;

Dance over, my Lady Lee. London Bridge is broken down

With a gay Ladye. How'shall we build it up again ?

Dance over, &c. Build it up with silver and gold ;

Dance over, &c. Silver and gold will be stole away ;

Dance over, &c. Build it up again with iron and steel ;

Dance over, &c. Iron and steel will bend or bow ;

Dance over, &c. Build it up with wood and clay ;

Dance over, &c. Wood and clay will melt away ;

Dance over, &c. Build it up with stone so strong ;

Dance over, my Lady Lee. Huzzah ! it will last for ages long

With a gay Ladye.

The last verse suggests irresistibly to me that the ballad came into existence by spontaneous improvisation to dancing, among many people, each supplying a verse (really a line only) in turn, at the time when stone was first substituted for wood in the building of the bridge, namely, between 1176 and 1209, by Peter of Colechurch. In short, it was a real folk-song, the work of the people, and the burden was either older, or was a corruption of " Dance over ladyly " (i.e., "dance forward gracefully"). The stories that it refers to the Lady Lee of ' Woodstock,' or the Duchess of Leeds in the time of William III., are disposed of by the fact that the song is undoubtedly older than either of those ladies. The historical cir- cumstance that the wife of the Warden of the Bridge was Lady of the Lea Mills from the reign of Edward II. does not seem to me to prove that she was ever known as " Lady Lea," and the right did not last long. Of all the possibilities I prefer " Dance over ladyly," and we have a modern echo of the phrase in the ragtime " Come over here," i.e., " Come forward."