Where were you all the day my own pretty boy?

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WHERE WERE YOU ALL THE DAY, MY OWN PRETTY BOY? Irish, Air (3/4 time). G Major (Joyce): G Dorian (Stanford/Petrie). Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "This ballad, in various forms, and sung to different airs, is found all over Europe. In all cases the subject of the ballad is a victim to poison. In England it is "King Henry, My Son", who comes home to his mother to die of poisoned food given him by his sweetheart.) Ballad recently published by Miss Lucy Broadwood in English Traditional Songs and Carols.) In Scotland it is 'Lord Ronald' (for which see Woods Songs of Scotland). In Germany it is 'Grandmother Adder Cook'; and there are versions in Italian, Swedish, Dutch, magyar, and Wendish. We have it in Ireland also, and in two distinct versions; one in the Irish language, the other in English. The Irish ballad, as recently taken down in the Co. Roscommon by the Rev. Father John MacDermott from an old man named Rogers, has been published with an interesting notice by Dr. Douglas Hyde, in Eriu, II. 77. As to the English version: I took down both words and music about the year 1848 from Peggy Cudmore, a little peasant girl of twelve or thirteen years of age, endowed with extraordinary musical taste and talent. I gave both to Dr. Petrie; and a version of the air will be found with my name in the Stanford/Petrie collection (No. 330). My copies are still among the Petrie paters, which are inaccessible to me; but I remember the following four verses and the whole of the air, which I give here, and which differs somewhat from the setting in Stanford Petrie. Dr. Hyde informs us that a version of the English Irish ballad was taken down in 1881 from a woman named Ellen Healy, who learned it from a Kerry girl in 1969: and I find the three verses he gives (in 'Eriu') are almost identical with Peggy Cudmore's version. This air was first rescued and written down by me, and words and air are now brought together for the first time. I should remark that I find, by a brief reference on a stray leaf of the Pigot collection, that Mr. Pigot had a copy of the air in one of his books; but I have not seen it" (Joyce).

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Joyce (Old Irish Folk Music and Songs), 1909; No. 812, pp. 394 395. Stanford/Petrie (Complete Collection), 1905; No. 330, p. 83.

Recorded sources:




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