Wife at Ushers Well

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WIFE AT USHERS WELL. English, Air (4/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AA’. "The Wife at Usher's Well" [Roud 196] is a Child Ballad (No. 79). A version was collected by Cecil Sharp from Mrs. Zippo Rice of Rice Cove, Big Laurel, NC, in 1906, and it was known in the upcountry South by the titles "Lady Gay" and "Miracle at Usher's Well (The)" as well, and although it seems to have beem rarely found in tradition in England, it survived in America. Sir Walter Scott printed the song in his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border (1802) obtained in West Lothian. The Oxford Book of English Verse states "The Wife at Usher's Well" was an anonymous 17th century ballad, and records the first two stanzas as:

THERE lived a wife at Usher's well,
And a wealthy wife was she;
She had three stout and stalwart sons,
And sent them o'er the sea.

They hadna been a week from her,
A week but barely ane,
When word came to the carline wife
That her three sons were gane.

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Northumbrian Pipers’ Second Tune Book, 1981; p. 31.

Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
See notes to the song at Mainly Norfolk [1]




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