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A bonny Scotch laddie was riding one day,
He chanced to meet Molly all on the highway.
He tipped her the wink and she rolled her dark eye.
Thinks he to himself I'll be with you by and by.

And sing fal the diddle i-do, fal the dal day.

Here's fifty bright guineas if you will comply
One night in my bedchamber with me to lie.
With the sight of the money she soon gave consent
And into his bedchamber quickly she went.

With hugging and kissing she lulled him to sleep
And out of his bedchamber softly did creep.
Gold rings and bright jewels and diamonds and gold,
She robbed this young lord of a fine sum all told.

He saddled his horse and away he did ride
Thinking to meet Molly down by the sea-side.
Three times he passed by her but did not her know.
She laughed in her sleeve and said: There goes my beau.

So now pretty Molly she lives on the shore,
She never will go out a-courting any more,
Unless some young sailor should be greatly in want
For the loss of old England shall never want salt(--?)

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Source: Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1959

The set quoted here was noted by Sharp from Captain Lewis at Minehead, Somerset, on September 12 1906.

The Journal entry reads:

The opening stanza resembles the start of some sets of "Sweet Lovely Joan". Indeed, the plots of these two songs run closely parallel, and perhaps what we have here is a re-made version of "Sweet Lovely Joan" (if, in fact, Joan is older than Kitty). The tune has interesting echoes of the Irish air "The Limerick Rake" - A. L. L.

Called Sweet Kitty because that's how Sharp first heard it, from Mrs Emma Overd in 1904; the heroine's name is variously Molly or, more often, Peggy. Indeed, the song shows strong signs of being descended from an older song, Long Preston Peggy (Roud 8764), texts of which tend to be fragmentary. Harland and Wilkinson (Ballads and Songs of Lancashire, Ancient and Modern, London: Routledge, 1875, 61-63) quote two fragments of two and four verses, and a further text appears in Dave Harker (ed), Songs from the Manuscript Collection of John Bell (Durham: Surtees Society, 1985, 298-299).

On balance it seems likely that Lovely Joan is the more recent of the two songs, and not really related to Sweet Kitty at all.

Roud: 1349 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

Related Songs:  Lovely Joan (thematic)

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