Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/242

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. MARCH 22, 1902.

'Scottish Songs' and his 'Scottish Songs prior to Burns,' Blackie's 'Book of Scottish Song,' and so on. It is noteworthy that Kit- son omits the piece from his ' Scottish Songs, 1794, his decision probably being due to his doubts regarding its origin. Whether the English version or Herd's is the original form is a question still awaiting the decision of experts, from whom one would gladly have an authoritative deliverance on the subject. Meanwhile, as given by Herd, the song is entitled 'The Grey Cock,' and consists of seven stanzas, the first two of which (in- accurately quoted by BENEDICK) are as fol- lows :

saw ye my father, or saw ye my mother, Or saw ye my true love John ?

1 saw not your father, I saw not your mother, But I saw your true love John.

It 's now ten at night, and the stars gie nae light,

And the bells they ring ding, dong. He 's met wi' some delay that causeth him to stay,

But he will be here ere lang.


A history of the ballad from which BENE- DICK gives an extract will be found in the late Prof. Child's monumental work ' The English and Scottish Popular Ballads,' iv. 389. Its usual title is ' The Grey Cock ; or, Saw you my Father 1 ' A portion was published by Herd in 1769, and the whole, consisting of seven stanzas, by the same editor in 1776. According to Mr. Chappell (* Popular Music,' p. 731), the song was printed on broadsides, with the tune, and in ' Vocal Music ; or, the Songster's Companion,' second edition, 1772, ii. 36. Reference may also be made to 1 st S. vi. 227, and to a paper of mine on 'Anglo-Irish Ballads' (which, according to Prof. Child, "brought together most of the matter pertaining to this ballad") in 6 th S. xii. 223. W. F. PRIDEAUX.

^STONING THE WEEN (9 th S. ix. 108, 234). Sixty years since, in the west of Ireland, it was a custom amongst boys to go on St. Stephen's Day (26 December) into the country lanes, amongst the hedgerows, to "hunt the wren." On such occasions they used to repeat a piece of doggerel commencing

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds, St. Stephen's Day was caught in the lurch. I do not know whether this amusement is still practised. It may be worth noting that the peasantry of that district pronounced wren " so as to rime with pan.

HENRY SMYTH. Harborne.

In the Isle of Man parties of boys, carrying a green bough, decked with coloured paper

and fixed on the end of a pole, go from house to house soliciting " coppers " on St. Stephen's Day. They sing a doggerel song, the words and music of which are both in Moore's 'Manx Ballads ' and Gell's * Manx National Songs.' A wren is supposed to be hidden in the bough; but that part of the ceremony is generally left to the imagination. F. G.

When I was a lad in Derbyshire this cruel sport was a very common amusement with big lads and young fellows, who turned out on Christmas Day and Pancake Day for that purpose. The band used to divide and hunt on both sides the hedge. Some called the sport "hunting God's little wren," and some of the hunters appeared to be imbued with a superstitious notion that bad luck to them might be the result. I have heard it called many years ago "devil's sport." Many parents warned their boys against the custom. THOS. RATCLIFFE.


There is an account (perhaps the best) of this interesting superstition in ' Provincial Names and Folk-lore of British Birds,' by the Ptev. Charles Swainson, 1885. The re- ference in the Catalogue of the British Museum Library is Ac. 99, 35/9.


GREEN AN UNLUCKY COLOUR (9 th S. viii. 121, 192). The notion, illustrated by MR. HERON-ALLEN at the last reference, that green bodes " desertion " in love, serves to explain 11. 5 and 6 of the second stanza of ' Holiday Gown/ a ballad by John Cun- ningham (1729-73), printed in the author's ' Poems ' (Newcastle, 1771). I take the lines from the 'Goldsmith Anthology' ("British Anthologies," No. ix.), p. 201 : Fond SUE, I '11 assure you, laid hold on the boy

(The vixen would fain be his Bride !) ; Some token she claimed, either ribbon or toy,

And swore that she 'd not be denied ! A top-knot he bought her, and garters, of green ;

Pert SUSAN was cruelly stung ! I hate her so much that, to kill her with spleen, I : d wed, if I were not too young !


MINIATURE OF COL. GEO. FLEETWOOD (9 th S. ix. 48, 154, 175). In reply to MR. W. D. PINK, I based my remarks on information given in the ' Dictionary of National Bio- graphy,' where George Fleet wood, the regicide, is stated to have been " the son of Sir George Fleetwood, knt., of The Vache, near Chalfpnt St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, and Catherine, daughter of Henry Denny, of Waltham, Essex." His father's will describes him as his third son, but Edward and Charles,