Author Topic: Add: The Spider


Posted - 28 Mar 03 - 08:43 am

Spider, The

It was one summer's morning,
As I lay on my bed,
I spied an ancient spider,
A-spinning of her thread.
She wove it in a sunny beam,
As clear as glass might be;
The oldest nun that ever spun
Ne'er spun so fine as she.

The first that came into the net.
A silly fly, was slain;
The next that came, a hornet bold,
Soon broke the net in twain.
And so I ofttimes wonder why
Are poor men brought to shame,
While rich men live in vanity,
And all men praise their name.

O if I had but Agur's wish,
And it might come to me,
That I were neither poor nor rich,
How happy I should be!
For riches are but vanity,
I heard the wise man cry,
And when you think to hold them fast,
Away from you they fly.

If rich men would advis-ed be,
And stewards would be just,
And to their tenants frank and free,
When they are put in trust;
The hump from off the camel's back
Would easily be shaven;
The camel pass the needle's eye,
The rich man enter heaven.

Source: Broadwood, Lucy, 1893, English Country Songs, Leadenhall Press, London


Lucy Broadwood wrote:

From Miss Mason's Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs. The words, taken down from a peasant, were disentangled and partly re-written by the Rev. Canon Edward Mason.)

This is given as one of the songs from Derbyshire, mainly added because someone in Mudcat was looking for songs from Derbyshire. I suspect the 'part' re-written by the Reverend Canon must be in the majority. "Agur's wish", for example, refer's to chapter 30 of the book of Proverbs. Some of the relevant verses are:

Keep falsehood and lies far from me,
Grant me neither poverty nor riches,
grant me only my share of bread to eat,
for fear that surrounded by plenty, I should fall away
and say "Yahweh - who is Yahweh?

(Jerusalem Version of the Bible)

Database entry is here.


Posted - 28 Mar 03 - 02:23 pm

Thank you!

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 28 Mar 03 - 02:52 pm

Roud 1372. Unsurprisingly, the only example listed.

Phil Taylor

Posted - 30 Mar 03 - 11:34 am

Don't you wish that early collectors could have refrained from re-writing songs? Or at least preserved the original. There seems to be very little connection here between the first verse and a half and the pious moralising of the remainder.

By the way, the key should be Dm, rather than F, and the abc has "The Wassail Bough" as the main title.


Posted - 30 Mar 03 - 12:07 pm

Key and title fixed - Thanks, Phil.

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