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As I was a-walking one fine summer morn,
So soft was the wind and the waves on the corn.
I met a pretty damsel upon a grey mare,
And she was a-riding upon a grey mare.

"Now take me up behind you fair maid for to ride",
"Oh no and then, Oh no, for my mammy she would chide,
And then my dear old daddy would beat me full sore,
And never let me ride on his grey mare no more."

"If you would see Horn Fair you must walk on your way,
I will not let you ride on my grey mare today,
You'd rumple all my muslin and uncurl my hair,
And leave me all distrest to be seen at Horn Fair."

"O fairest of damsels, how can you say No?
With you I do intend to Horn Fair for to go,
We'll join the best of company when we do get there,
With horns on their heads, boys, the finest at the Fair."

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Source: Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Dec 1957

There is an article of several pages about the fair in the Journal. The first few paragraphs relate to the song and are given below:

Reference was made in the Journal for 1955 (Vol. VII, No 4, p 253) to the Horn Fair at Ebernoe in Sussex at which the above version of the Horn Fair song, taken down by Mr Francis Collinson from 'Jimmie' Booker of Warnham, has been sung since 1954 [Note: this was written in 1957! - DMcG]. Since the publication of my article on Ebernoe Horn Fair in the Sussex County Magazine in July, 1955, a few further details have come to light concerning the revival of the song and I have discovered that it was also associated with the Horn Fair at Charlton in Kent which, after a history dating at least from the 16th century, 'expired under a load of sings in 1872' (W. T. Vincent: The Records of the Woolwich District).

Thanks to the kindness of Miss Marie Slocombe it is now possible to specify the 'Country Magazine' programme which led to the revival of the Horn Fair song at Ebernoe. It was broadcast on May 28th, 1950, and the song had been sung to Mr Collinson two weeks before. As Mr Collinson said, 'Jimmie' Booker was a trug-basket maker. He had learnt the craft in East Susses and carried it on until his death in 1951. In the broadcast the song was sung by Cyril Tucker. Mr Morrish of Great Allfields Farm, Balls Cross, near Ebernoe, heard the broadcast and obtained permission for the song to be sung at the Horn Fair. In August 1955, Mr Morrish told me that when he first introduced it to the Ebernoe people in 1951, one of the company, Mr Tom Stemp, then aged 75, said he could well remember it being sung by an old Ebernoe woodman, David Baker, who died in 1943 at the age of eighty. ...

Roud: 2482 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

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