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For a maid was I, and a maid was I,
When I lived with my mammy at home,
And I ate, and I drank, and had gay clothing,
And money I wanted none.

My cap was made of the finest muslin
And neatly bordered around;
My dress was made of the finest silk
And flounces they did hang down.

So a maid was I, etc.

My stockings was made of the finest work
And garters was made of silk;
My boots was made of the best Spanish leather
And buckles were covered with gilt.

So a maid was I, etc.

Then a nice young man made love to me
And invited me to wed,
I gave him my hand as willing as he,
And changed my name from a maid.

* * * * * * * * * *

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Source: Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1936

Anne Gilcrest wrote:

The second part of this song, which tells of the contrast in the maid's appearance when she became a wife - with the refrain altered to suit the circumstances - is here lacking. The late Frank Kidson prints another and very racy version, which is sung to a tune reminiscent of the early Victorian "I'll hang my harp on a willow-tree." in his Traditional Tunes from Goathland, Yorkshire. This Yorkshire version is nearly akin to that in the North-Country Chorister. The two refrains of this last run:

And then I was a maid, a maid,
And joy came to me then;
Of meat and drink and rich cloathing
I'm sure I wanted none.

* * * * * * * * * *

And then I was a wife, a wife,
And sorrow came to me then;
Of care and strife and a weary life
I'm sure I wanted none.

It would seem to be a north-country song, as the Yorkshire 'nane' (as in Mr Kidson's version) is a nearer rhyme for 'then.' His version rhymes "hame", "name," and "ta'en". There was a counterblast "Once I was Single" from the man's side. See Alfred Williams; Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, etc.


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