Author Topic: Add: Charming Phyllis


Posted - 25 Sep 03 - 11:59 am

Charming Phyllis, fair as lillies,
But her will is to distain.
This dear creature's beauteous features
Give me pleasure mixed with pain;
Lips like cherries, black as berries,
Are the eyes of Phyllis fair;
Slender waisted, snow-white breasted
None with Phyllis can compare.

Breath like roses June discloses,
Sweet as posies, fragrant smell;
Brisk and airy like a fairy,
Charms that Nature doth excel.
Ever pleasing, never teasing,
Yet she's freezing, cold as snow,
To her lover, who to move her
Melting language does bestow.

Lovely jewel, be not cruel,
Quench my fuel, see me burn,
See me languish, ease my anguish,
Turn O! lovely charmer turn.
Grant your favour and I ever
Will endeavour to adore;
I'll caress thee, and will bless thee
With true love for evermore.

Source: Sabine Baring Gould, 1895, Old English Songs from English Minstrelsie


This is taken from the selection of the eight volume work by Baring Gould of the same name, reprinted by Llanerch Publishers.

Notes are not given in the selection, but are in the full eight volume work to which I do not have access. Therefore I can give very little information about the origins of this song.

There does seem to be a striking resemblence, certainly in the lyrics and the metre, but to some extent in the melody, to "Charming Molly" as sung by the Copper Family.

Database entry is here.

Edited By dmcg - 25-Sep-2003 11:58:12 AM


Posted - 25 Sep 03 - 12:07 pm

From the Digital Tradition database:

T:Charming Molly
(F G) (A F) G E |(F G) A F G E |
F G A B |(G F) E2 |
w: Char-_ ming_ Mol-ly, fair_ brisk and gay like nigh-tin-gales in May_ all
(F2 A2) B2 |G2 G2 |(c A) |
(B A) G2 |
F6 |(A2 c2) B2 |G4 c2 |
w: round_ her eye-lids young_ cu-_ pids play. She_ has eyes so
(d c) =B2 |c6 |c A B G |A F F F |G F E C |(F2 A2) |
w: bright_ they shine Black as a-ny ber-ry cheeks like a-ny cher-ry Char-_
B2 G2 |G2 (c A) |(B A) G2 |
F6 |
w: ming Mol-ly with_ spark-_ ling eyes.

Charming Molly, fair brisk and gay
Like nightingales in May
All round her eyelids young Cupids play
She has eyes so bright they shine
Black as any berry, cheeks like any cherry
Charming Molly with sparkling eyes.

Haw the swain do admire
And desire a pretty little girl
To hold her hand it burns like sparkling fire
In her face these things are seen:
Violets, roses, lillies and daffadown-dillies
Charming Molly she is all divine.

Surely there's no one loves a pretty woman
If she be not common
Surely such beauty most men admire
Surely there's no one can them despise
Because they are so pretty and they talk so witty
Charming Molly with sparkling eyes.

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 09 Oct 03 - 12:34 pm

Charming Phyllis appeared in volume 1, p. 8 of Baring-Gould's English Minstrelsie (1895). The notes are as follows:

"This graceful little song is found in engraved copperplate, circ. 1732; also the air, without words, in Thompson's Tutor for the Viol, circ. 1786; and in The Compleat Tutor for the Hautboy, about 1750. In my childhood I remember this air very well, with the first verse as having been sung to me either by an aunt or by my nurse. The air was well engrained in my memory before I chanced on it in print. The title of the song in copperplate is The Passionate Lover, and it runs in seven stanzas of four lines. The second portion seems to have been added later. The additional verse in the copperplate is-

'Send an arrow, pierce her through;
Oh, kind Cupid, see my grief;
Make her kinder, let me find her
Warm'd with love to give relief.' "

Charming Molly is Roud 1213. Only the Copper Family set is listed at present. Charming Phyllis is number 13905, though there is a case for including it with Charming Molly. The Minstrelsie set is listed, together with two broadside editions of The Passionate Lover (text only) in the Madden Collection.

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