Round and Round this Green Sugar Tree
X:1 % T:Round and Round this Green Sugar Tree M:4/4 L:1/8 R:Play-party tune B:Bayard - Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife (1981, No. 251B) K:Ador e3f e2d2|e2A2B2d2|d3e d2 Bc|d2A2B2d2| e3f e2d2|e2f2g2 aa|g2e2d2B2|[D4A4][D2A2]z2|| e2a2 agaa|b2 a2 e3d|e2g2 gfga|a2a2 e3e| e2a2 aaaa|b2a2 e3f|g2e2d2B2|[D4A4][D2A2]z2||
ROUND AND ROUND THIS GREEN SUGAR TREE. AKA and see "Kate Lay Sleeping," "Kate's Laid in the Hay," "Whitewashed Kate." American, Song Tune and march. USA, southwestern Pa. A Dorian. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. The tune is familiar from play-party and sea shanty traditions, and seemed to Bayard to have been better-known as a vocal than as an instrumental air. In its play-party version it was mentioned by by author Mary Hartwell Catherwood in her novel Rocky Fork (1883), in a passage depicting two schoolgirls, Tildy and Bluebell:
These friends seldom disagreed. Bluebell accepted Tildy's solemn dictum with credulous readiness, and was usually her partner when the school marched, or the delightful rainy-day game of "Round and round a green sugar-tree, one cold and frosty morning.
A version of the melody appears in an article called "Mid-Hudson Song and Verse" by Constance Varney Ring, Samuel P. Bayard, Tristram P. Coffin in The Journal of American Folklore (Vol. 66, No. 259, Jan.-Mar., 1953, pp. 43-68) where it was used for the song "Beautiful Valley." It was collected in the Mid-Hudson region of New York in 1933, by Louise Platt who learned the words and the tune from her mother, Emma Bartlett Platt, who was born about I850. The authors state:
This tune is an old British, perhaps Irish, air that has been widely used for such games as "To Help us with our Dancing" and "Round and Round this Green Sugar Tree." It is also a popular dance air in America and the "old country." Like many a dance-game tune it seems to have been converted to the converted to the uses of the camp-meeting spiritual.
For more on British and Irish antecedents see note for "Breach of Killiecranky (The)" and related tunes.