When Adam was first created
X:1 % T:When Adam was first created M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Air S:John Rook music manuscript collection (Waverton, Cumbria, 1840, p. 193) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:D A|dAd fdf|a3g3|fgf ede|d3 d2A| dAd fdf|a3g3|fgf ede|d3 d2:| |:f/g/|afa afa|b3g3|fgf ede|d3 d2A| dAd fdf|a3g3|fgf ede|d3 d2:|]
WHEN ADAM WAS FIRST CREATED. AKA - " Adam and Eve's Wedding Song," "Old Adam," "Song of Creation," "Wedlock," "When Adam Dwelt." English, Air (6/8 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody appears in the large 1840 music manuscript collection of multi-instrumentalist John Rook, of Waverton, near Wigton, Cumbria. It is the air for a whimsical English song [Roud 728] popularized in the 20th century through the singing of the Copper Family, although folk-song collector Cecil Sharp heard a version from Reverend Jasper Robertson, Burnsville, North Carolina in 1916, while Baring-Gould said it was widespread in Canada and the United States. Versions were also collected in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, by Gavin Grieg. The first two stanzas go:
When Adam was first created
And lord of the universe crowned,
His happiness was not completed
Until that a helpmate was found.
He had all things in food that were wanting,
To keep and support him in life,
He'd horses and foxes for hunting,
Which some men love more than a wife.
In notes to the song Baring-Gould wrote:
This old song is a favourite with the peasantry throughout England. The words are printed in Bell's Songs of the English Peasantry, p. 231. He says, "We have had considerable trouble in procuring a copy of the old song, which used, in former days, to be very popular with aged people resident in the North of England. It has been long out of print, and handed down traditionally. By the kindness of Mr. S. Swindells, printer, Manchester, we have been favoured with an ancient printed copy.
In the original the song consists of ten verses. The earliest copy of it that I know is in The Lady's Evening Book of Pleasure, about 1740. It will be found in a collection of garlands made by Mr. J. Bell about 1812, and called by him The Eleemosynary Emporium. It is in the British Museum. The air is found in Vocal Music, or the Songster's Companion, 2nd ed., 1772, to the song, Farewell You Green Fields and Sweet Groves, p.92. It was taken into The Tragedy of Tragedies, or Tom Thumb', 1734, as the air to In Hurry, Post-haste for a licence, and was attributed to Dr. Arne. In Die Familie Mendelssohn, vol.ii., is a scrap of music written down by Felix Mendelssohn, dated Leipzig, 16th August 1840, which is identical with the first few bars of this melody. But the earliest form of the air is in J.S. Bach's Comic Cantata, where a peasant sings it.