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Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods

DigiTrad:
BABES IN THE WOOD (3)
BABES IN THE WOOD 2
PRETTY BABES IN THE WOOD
THE BABES IN THE WOOD (4)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Babes in the Wood (from Mary Black) (6)
(origins) Lyr Req: Children in the Wood (32)
Lyr Req: Babes in the Wood (3) (closed)
Tune Req: Babes in the Wood (Copper Family) (12)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Babes in the Wood [William Gardiner (uncredited in the sheet music)] (from Billy Weekes' personal collection)
The Babes in the Woods (published by Carr's Musical Repository (Levy Sheet Music Collection))


Philip Hudson 02 Jun 98 - 03:27 AM
Al B 02 Jun 98 - 04:52 AM
Joe Offer 02 Jun 98 - 05:04 AM
Barry Finn 02 Jun 98 - 07:21 AM
aldus 02 Jun 98 - 07:23 AM
Barry Finn 02 Jun 98 - 02:18 PM
Philip Hudson 02 Jun 98 - 06:38 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 02 Jun 98 - 06:56 PM
Philip Hudson 02 Jun 98 - 07:09 PM
Bruce O. 02 Jun 98 - 07:37 PM
Susan of DT 02 Jun 98 - 07:40 PM
Bob Bolton 02 Jun 98 - 08:30 PM
Barry Finn 02 Jun 98 - 09:51 PM
Philip Hudson 02 Jun 98 - 10:25 PM
Joe Offer 12 Aug 00 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,mcharlton@iw.net 21 Apr 03 - 05:01 PM
GUEST 21 Apr 03 - 05:27 PM
Stewie 21 Apr 03 - 05:51 PM
Leadfingers 21 Apr 03 - 07:12 PM
masato sakurai 21 Apr 03 - 07:14 PM
masato sakurai 21 Apr 03 - 07:20 PM
masato sakurai 21 Apr 03 - 07:47 PM
masato sakurai 22 Apr 03 - 04:29 AM
masato sakurai 22 Apr 03 - 05:10 AM
masato sakurai 22 Apr 03 - 05:13 AM
nutty 22 Apr 03 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Guest 22 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM
dick greenhaus 22 Apr 03 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Dale 22 Apr 03 - 06:30 PM
Joe Offer 22 Apr 03 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,Dale 22 Apr 03 - 11:13 PM
masato sakurai 23 Apr 03 - 02:36 AM
treewind 23 Apr 03 - 03:54 AM
masato sakurai 23 Apr 03 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,JHB 31 Aug 04 - 05:12 PM
Mary Humphreys 31 Aug 04 - 05:26 PM
Malcolm Douglas 31 Aug 04 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,inthedickens@yahoo.com 24 Jan 05 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Lorna in Canada 13 Feb 06 - 12:34 PM
Acme 13 Feb 06 - 12:38 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Feb 06 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,sln 12 Dec 06 - 02:06 PM
BB 12 Dec 06 - 03:10 PM
Schantieman 13 Dec 06 - 11:26 AM
MartinRyan 13 Dec 06 - 02:36 PM
The Fooles Troupe 13 Dec 06 - 09:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 12:08 AM
Acme 14 Dec 06 - 12:11 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,Jeff 15 Dec 06 - 06:10 AM
Joe Offer 23 Feb 07 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,alf.gunn 19 Jan 08 - 12:30 PM
GUEST 21 Jan 08 - 12:29 PM
bubblyrat 21 Jan 08 - 01:19 PM
dick greenhaus 21 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM
GUEST,wow 14 Jul 08 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 14 Jul 08 - 11:23 AM
Artful Codger 02 Jul 10 - 02:05 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jul 10 - 03:43 PM
Paul Davenport 03 Jul 10 - 03:25 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jul 10 - 01:49 PM
Steve Gardham 04 Jul 10 - 05:30 PM
Artful Codger 04 Jul 10 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Wilma Plake 27 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM
Artful Codger 27 Aug 10 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Mary 24 Oct 10 - 02:08 PM
Joe Offer 30 Nov 10 - 07:26 PM
Artful Codger 01 Dec 10 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,Beth Meader 11 Jan 11 - 03:44 PM
GUEST 08 Jul 11 - 10:39 AM
Acme 19 Nov 11 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,SteveG 19 Nov 11 - 06:12 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 13 - 11:13 AM
Artful Codger 16 Sep 13 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,leila ooley 16 Jul 14 - 12:32 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Jul 14 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Cindi 14 Aug 16 - 08:54 PM
leeneia 15 Aug 16 - 11:54 AM
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Subject: poor babes in the woods
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 03:27 AM

There is a "bar room ballad" that has the following ending:
"And when they were dead
the robin so red
brought strawberry leaves
and all over them spread
o sing a sad song
a sad little song
poor babes in the woods
poor babes they are dead."

Does anyone know the first part of this song? I would like to see it.

Click for related thread

Even Better Stuff Here


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Al B
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 04:52 AM

Hi I've just asked about a simliar song. I think it was on Folk Songs of Olde England, by Tim hart & Maddy Prior,

Sorry to "tread on your toes" as it were, shows I should have looked at the list before posting


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 05:04 AM

I deleted the competing thread to avoid confusion, Al. That song sounds mighty familiar, but all I can recall is "Pooooooor babes in the woods....."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 07:21 AM

From the Copper Family "Little Babes in the Woods", I'll post later if it's not in the DT or someone doesn't do it sooner. Barry


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: aldus
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 07:23 AM

Is this perhaps a version of The Greenwood Sideo... It has a very familiar sound to it. There are many different versions.....Joan Baez does a very good one as does Frankie Armstrong. If it is this song.. I believe it is in the Data Base, though perhaps not under that title.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BABES IN THE WOODS (from Copper family)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 02:18 PM

BABES IN THE WOOD

O, don't you remember, a long time ago
Those two little babes, their names I don't know?
They strayed away one bright summer's day,
Those two little babes got lost on their way.
Chorus:
Pretty babes in the wood, pretty babes in the wood,
O, don't you remember those babes in the wood
Now the day being gone & the night coming on,
Those two little babies sat under a stone.
They sobbed & they sighed & they sat there & cried,
Those two little babes they laid down & died.
Ch:

Now the robins so red, how swiftly they sped,
They put out their wide wings & over them spread.
And all the day long on the branches they thronged,
They sweetly did whistle & this was their song.
Ch:

From "Bob & Ron Copper", Folk-Legacy 1964. The sleeve notes by Peter Kennedy say that this song, although widely reported in America, only one other version has been found, always in Southern England. He also says it appears to be a fragment of a much longer ballad of broadside origin.
For those who may not be familiar with the Copper family, they would be worth making a pilgrimage, twice I've seen them & I don't think I'll ever hear better. They trace themselves back to 1611 in around Rottingdean, on the Sussex seaboard of England. Their songs were collected & appeared in the 1st Journal of the English Folk Song Society, 1899. It was from this family that we get much of the English songs done be the Watersons, Steeleye Span, Frankie Armstrong, Silly Sisters, John & Tony, etc,etc,etc,etc. I don't think there's a singer who hasn't touched on the Coppers, if they at all touch English songs. Barry


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 06:38 PM

Thanks to Barry Finn

The words are not exactly as my mother sang it, but it scans with the tune she sang it to, so I'm sure it is the same song. I am interested in songs that have a "bar room ballad" touch that was designed to make the drinker more maudlin and drink more. I don't know when the Babes in the Woods song was originated but it was surely used in the bars and saloons of the late 19th century. I have this straight from my grandmothers who remembered the times (but who never actually entered the bars, of course). Philip Hudson


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 06:56 PM

Were there collections of songs printed specifically meant to be sung in saloons and at clubs? I have a joke book which apparently was supposed to be used in such places.


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 07:09 PM

I don't know if they had books collecting the maudlin ballads. If they did, I would like to see some. Going from my knowledge of the variations of words and tunes, there may not have been books but there was sheet music. I have found some on:

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/index.html

and some in this data base. But, for example, "Put My Little Shoes Away" and "MY MOTHER WAS A LADY", both of which, I believe, are in this data base and in the levy file above, have words and tunes that differ considerably from the ones sung to me by my mother and both grandmothers. I usually like my mother's and gmothers' versions better - hey they sang them to me when I was two and three. - Philip Hudson


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Bruce O.
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 07:37 PM

The full original of 1595 is indexed in my broadside ballad index at ZN1966. It's Laws Q34 and a search on 'Q34' turns up 2 texts in DT.


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Susan of DT
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 07:40 PM

a search for [babes in the wood] gets you two versions in the DT


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 08:30 PM

G'day Philip,

I don't know how successful was the ploy of presenting maudlin music - the song, or at least one tune to it, survives in the Australian country regions as a popular tune for the old dance, the Varsovienne.

Varso tunes are in 3/4 but have a distinctive rhythm on top of that, with a "Turn around and point" 2 bar rhythm in the first part and a Mazurka rhythm for the energetic second part. A typical example of the first part rhythm is "Happy Birthday to You". Varsos certainly would not be described as "maudlin" and the dance was a bit scandalous in its day, since the "point" could show off quite an unseemly amount of ankle!

The words are certainly remembered. Most old players who played this tune called it by the name "Babes in the Wood" and I can remember playing in country areas and someone - usually a woman - from the audience buttonhling me and saying "Do you know that there are words to that tune, and repeating at least the first stanza, pretty much as quoted here.

I must say that the tune I know by this name does not seem to be the same as that sung in America - at least if I can take Garison Keilor's rendition of his parody on "Songs of the Cat" as representative.

I think this song has a long history in England and, like many of its ilk, was irreverently reworked by the Music Hall in the latter part of the 19th century.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 09:51 PM

I'm back to search 101, tried to search it a couple different ways, didn't get any hits, so I posted it. My spelling may have been the cause too. Barry


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Philip Hudson
Date: 02 Jun 98 - 10:25 PM

Howdy, Bob Bolton and others

Yes, the tune to Babes in the Woods that I know is definitely maudlin. It is 3/4. I used to be something of a musician but, alas, time and tide. But I still can write a tune that I know on a staff. The problem is, how does one send a tune over the internet? I'd be glad to send it to you by snail mail but, of course, I can't send a lot of snail mail because of the cost. I would like to find a lot of the songs my grandmothers sang. Do you know "Put my Little Shoes Away", "My Mother was a Lady". "Going back to Texas", "Little Green Valley", "Do Roses Bloom in Heaven", "Streets of Laredo", 'Red River Valley", "Joe the Wrangler", "We Traced her Footprints in the Snow"? There are a bunch of them. Some of them are from old English tunes and some of the words remain the same. Some are more recent. My e-mail is Hudsonpw@aol.com and as per the "Howdy", I am a Texan. - Philip Hudson


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Subject: ADD:Two Little Babes in the Wood (Cole Porter)^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Aug 00 - 08:45 PM

I came across these lyrics when I was looking up something for the current Broadway thread. Gee, I'd love to hear a recording of this. I wonder what tune Cole Porter used.
-Joe Offer-
TWO LITTLE BABES IN THE WOOD
(Cole Porter)

Published February 1928, with other songs from Paris (1928). Introduced by Julia Silvers and George Hale. Dropped from the Greenwich Village Follies before October 13, 1924. Porter made a piano-vocal recording for Victor (24825) on November 27, 1934. Irene Bordoni, who sang it in Paris, recorded it on May 3 and June 24, 1928, but neither recording was released.
The version printed here was found at the Warner Brothers Music warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey. It includes the words and music for the two announcements that precede the two verses. The announcements were dropped from the 1928 Paris version.


PART I. ANNOUNCEMENT.


Listen, my children, and don't say a word.

Now, you'll grant me that Denmark has ne'er had a grander son,
Than her great author, old Hans Christian Andersen.
All of you know him, so just to be good to you,
I'll tell his tale of the Babes in the Wood to you.


VERSE 1


There's a tale of two little orphans who were left in their uncle's care,
To be reared and ruled and properly schooled
Till they grew to be ladies fair.
But, oh, the luckless pair!
For the uncle, he was a cruel trustee,

PART II. ANNOUNCEMENT.

Listen, my children, and don't say a word.

Now in spite of all efforts to strengthen and quicken it,
Andersen's tale never had any kick in it.
So his descendant, John Murray, in fantasy,
Added a scene for the tired businessman to see.

VERSE 2

They were lying there in the freezing air,
When fortunately there appeared
A rich old man in a big sedan,
And a very, very fancy beard.
He saw those girls and cheered,
Then he drove them down to New York town,
Where he covered them with useful things,
Such as bonds, and stocks, and Paris frocks,
And Oriental pearls in strings,
And a showcase full of rings.

REFRAIN 2

Now those two little babes in the wood,
Are the talk of the whole neighborhood,
For they've too many cars, too many clothes,
Too many parties, and too many beaux,
They have found that the fountain of youth
Is a mixture of gin and vermouth,
And the whole town's agreed
That the last thing in speed
Is the two little babes in the wood.

Source: The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, by Robert Kimball, 1983.
JRO


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Subject: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST,mcharlton@iw.net
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 05:01 PM

Looking for any information on where to acquire a copy of a recording of this song. Also any write-ups of the known history of this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 05:27 PM

It's a fragment of a ballad of 1595. See ZN1966 in the broadside ballad index at www.erols.com/olsonw, "Norfolk gentleman', later called "The Children in the Wood".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: Stewie
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 05:51 PM

Do a Google search on "Poor babes in the wood" and you will find links to lyrics in Mother Goose, Wolf Collection, Warner Collection and several others, including this one.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 07:12 PM

The Coppers (Bob and Ron) recorded this on cassette back in the good old days.Its still a popular 'Trad' song over here in U K. Check out
Copper Family for recordings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 07:14 PM

Put "Laws Q34" into Lyrics & Knowledge Search box at the top.

Recordings (and books) at Folk Music Index are:

The Babes in the Woods [Laws Q34]

At - Two Babes in the Wood
1. American Balladry from British Broadsides, Amer. Folklore Society, Bk (1957), p290 (Children in the Wood)
2. Copper, Bob and Ron. English Shepherd and Farming Songs, Folk Legacy FSB-019, Cas (1964), cut#A.07
3. Gear, Harry. American Ballads and Songs, Scribners, Sof (1922/1972), #115
4. Hart, Tim; and Maddy Prior. Folk Songs of Olde England. Vol. 1, Mooncrest Crest 23, LP (196?), cut#B.06
5. Hewitt, Emma. Traditional Ballads Mainly from West Virginia, WPA, Bk (1939), 22
6. Karl and Harty. Karl and Harty's Fireside Songs, Dave Minor, Fol (194?), p61
7. Ledford, Lilly Mae. Banjo Pickin' Girl, Greenhays GR 712, LP (1983), cut#B.06
8. Riddle, Almeda. Anglo-American Folksong Style, Prentice-Hall, Sof (1968), 6.13
9. Whitfield Girls. Rackensack. Volume 2, Driftwood LP 279, LP (1972), cut#A.06

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 07:20 PM

Info from folktrax:

BABES IN THE WOOD, THE - "O don't you remember a long time ago?" "Now ponder well you parents dear" - LAWS: Q34 (p29 & 200) "The Children in the Wood" - ROUD#288 - In Pepys Diary of 1660s and Dr Johnson knew it well enough to parody ((Jeff Warner) - PERCY Reliques 3 - RIMBAULT Musical Illustr p108 - HALLIWELL NRE 1842/53 - BSs: Firth, Pearson (Manchester), Sanderson (Edinburgh) - CHAPPELL PMOT 1858 p200 - CHRISTIE TBA 1876 I 142 (13v) - MASON NRCS 1877 p22 Mitford family, Northumberland - ASHTON MSB 1888 pp124-7 ("It's a woeful bad tale I'm about to relate") comic ballad on theme - BARING-GOULD Nursery Songs 1895 p40 - SHARP Ms 2860 from Thomas Baldwin, Armcote Field 1913 - WILLIAMS FSUT 1923 p217 #229 Frederick Falconer, Black Bourton, Oxfordsh (w/o) "Two Babes in the Wood" (from King family, Castle Eaton, who pron "good" as "yood") - HARVEY East Anglia 1936 p88 - JEFDSS 1949 p16 Shaw Shetland 1v only - COPPER SESB 1971 pp198-9 Family, Rottingdean, Sussex 3v/m - PALMER EBECS 1975 #56 pp106-7 Gilchrist: Mrs Jenner, Kent c1907 (with verses added from Halliwell 1853) --- SHARP FSSA 1917/32 #47(vol 1p309) Philander Fitzgerald, Nash, Va 1918 - McGILL (Kentucky Mountains) p104 - JAFL 35 p348 - LEACH Labr p140 - BREWSTER Indiana 1940 p313 - HUDSON FSM p285 George Swetnam, Mississippi (w/o) - MORRIS FSOF 1950 p401-7 Mrs Lethane Harvey (w/o)/ Elsie Surber, Fla - RANDOLPH OFS 1 pp365-8 Mrs Marie Wilbur 1929/ Mrs Lillian Short 1940 (w/o)/ Mrs May Kennedy McCord 1941 2v (w/o)/ Mrs Bess Allman, Missouri 1941 3v (w/o)/ Mrs H L McDonald Ark 1942 3v (w/o) - CREIGHTON FSSNB 1971 pp183-4 Wm Wilson, NB 1954 -- Cf MEAGHER'S CHILDREN -- James COPPER rec Rottingdean Sussex 1951: RPL 16067 - Bob & Ron COPPER rec by PK, Central Club, Peacehaven, Sussex 3/5/55: EFDS LP-1002 -1963/ FOLK LEGACY FSB-19/ 081/ TOPIC TSCD-534 2001 - Bob COPPER, 1957, with talk about BOXING DAY (Dec 26th): RPL 25616 - Bob, Ron, Jill & John COPPER: LEADER LEAB (boxed) 4049 1971/ 238 - with Stephen FAUX (fid) in 4x30 min progs Radio 2 Oct 1990/ CASS-60-1013-4 - Tim HART & Maddy PRIOR (unacc): B & C CREST- 23 1968/76/ CASS-45-0853 - Shirley COLLINS & sister Dolly (flute organ): TOPIC 12-T-170 1967/ 307 A-ROVING 1968 #2 - Vic & Christine SMITH (+ conc) LONG MAN LM-4001 (nd) --- Dorothy HOWARD of Texas rec by Frank & Anne Warner NYC 1949: APPLESEED APR-CD-1035 2000


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 07:47 PM

The Babes in the Wood / [Illustr.:] R[andolph] Caldecott (Randolph Caldecott's Picture Books 3) (London: Frederick Warne and Co., [1879]).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 04:29 AM

From Max Hunter Collection (with audio):
Babes in the Woods - Cat. #0498 (MFH #61)

Babes in the Woods - Cat. #0524 (MFH #61)

Babes in the Woods - Cat. #1592 (MFH #61)

Poor Babes in the Woods - Cat. #1314 (MFH #61)

Two Babes in the Woods - Cat. #1374 (MFH #61)
From Wolf Collection:
Babes in the Wood sung by Mrs. Claude Collie

Babes in the Wood sung by Mrs. Lon Jones
Babes in the Wood sung by Mrs. Martin.
~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 05:10 AM

The Copper Family version

The Mary Black version

Tim Hart & Maddy Prior version


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 05:13 AM

Mary Black's is a different song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: nutty
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 07:19 AM

The Library of Congress site has sheet music ..... Published 1848 ......that can be viewed here

Babes in the Wood


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 04:01 PM

There are several copies of the original version, "The Norfolk gentleman's last will and testament" on the Bodleian ballads website.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 04:03 PM

Anadene Fraley has a nice version on the CD "Land of Yahoe"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 06:30 PM

Version #9 (The Whitfield Girls) that masato mentions in his post of 21 Apr 03 - 07:14 PM used to be on Joe's site. I can't seem to find it now, and the machine that I had it bookmarked on lost its bookmarks a couple of years ago, so I can't find it that way.

At any rate, if he no longer has it up, and if anyone really wants to hear it, I will see what I can do. I can't give you an exact age, but Ann and Jean Whitfield were probably pre-teens at the time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 10:43 PM

Yeah, Dale - I can't find my Website anymore, either. I've added crosslinks up top to the many threads we have on this fascinating song.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 11:13 PM

Lost your own website??? Even I know where mine is, just don't update it anymore.

Come to think of it, I HAD another one that I couldn't figure out how to update, and couldn't get any help for, either. Wonder where it went? (Ah, I just found it ~~ hadn't even looked at it for at least a year. A couple of years ago, freeservers threatened to take it down if I did not update it. I said I WOULD update if they'd show me how to get into it to make changes.)

I just found your link on one of the other threads, Joe. Site seems to have disappeared though. http://homepages.msn.com/YosemiteDr/joeoffer/Index.html

That #1592 at the Max Hunter site linked by masato 22 Apr 03 - 04:29 AM is by the Ralph Spencer Family of Coal Hill, Arkansas recorded in 1976. I like it a lot. They are playing home-made instruments, by the way.

I recently copied both of the Rackensack LPs to CD.   Now if I can just remember where I put it . . .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 02:36 AM

Joe, add one more.

DigiTrad: PRETTY BABES IN THE WOOD

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: treewind
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 03:54 AM

There are two versions on the newly released Song Links Project Fellside FECD176D which you can buy on line.

One is from Shirley Collins, her own version and the only song she's recorded for years.
The other is an Australian version from Martyn Wyndham Read.

The Song Links booklet should give more detailed source information on both of these.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: masato sakurai
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 04:03 AM

DigiTrad: THE BABES IN THE WOOD (4)

DigiTrad: BABES IN THE WOODS (5)


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Subject: ADD Version: Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST,JHB
Date: 31 Aug 04 - 05:12 PM

Did you ever find the beginning of "Poor Babes in the Wood"?
My aunt sang it many years ago.

    BABES IN THE WOOD

    My dears do you know
    How a long time ago,
    Two poor little children
    Whose names I don't know,
    Were stolen away
    On a bright summer's day
    And left in the wood
    So I've heard people say.

    And when it was night
    How sad was their plight!
    The sun it went down
    And the moon gave no light.
    They sobbed and they sighed
    And they bitterly cried.
    Poor babes in the wood
    They lay down and died.

    And when they were dead
    The robin so red
    Brought strawberry leaves
    And over them spread.
    And all the night long
    He sang them this song
    Poor babes in the wood,
    Poor babes in the wood.


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 31 Aug 04 - 05:26 PM

Martyn Wyndham-Read sings a beautiful Australian version that is on the Song Links CD.


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Subject: RE: poor babes in the woods
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 31 Aug 04 - 07:29 PM

Although the earlier broadside song has occasionally been found (chiefly in America) still in oral currency, the song popularised by the Copper family -the one that most people are thinking of when they refer to Babes in the Wood- is a relatively modern thing, having been made by William Gardiner (1770-1853). It was widely published: sheet music (uncredited and undated) can be seen, for eaxample, at the Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection:

Sweet Babes in the Wood. A Ballad. Founded on the well known Legend. Philadelphia: B. Carr's Musical Repository, n.d.

More details at http://www.folkinfo.org/topic.asp?topic_id=434


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: GUEST,inthedickens@yahoo.com
Date: 24 Jan 05 - 11:02 AM

My great grandma and my grandpa and grandma sang "Babes in the Wood" to me and my mother. I have since sang the same to each baby or little child I rock to sleep: From Kay Laster, Dickens, Texas

Babes in the Wood

Oh, don't you remember
A long time ago
Two poor little babies
Their names I don't know
Were stolen away,
One bright summer day
And lost in the woods
I've heard people say

And when it was night
So sad was their plight
The moon had gone down
and the stars gave no light
They sobbed and they sighed
They bitterly cried
Poor babes in the woods
They laid down and died

And when they were dead
The robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves
and over them spread
And all the night long
They sang them a song
Poor babes in the woods
Are now dead and gone...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: babes in the wood
From: GUEST,Lorna in Canada
Date: 13 Feb 06 - 12:34 PM

My grandfather used to sing this song to all of his grandkids and make us cry when the kids in the song died. It brings back lots of memories....thanks


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: babes in the wood
From: Acme
Date: 13 Feb 06 - 12:38 PM

I love that old chestnut. There are a couple of versions (the original and a parody, I think) in the poetry book we loved as children Rainbow in the Sky edited by Louis Untermeyer.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BABES IN THE WOOD (from Levy collection)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Feb 06 - 10:18 PM

Here's my transcription from the undated sheet music at The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. Note that it has an introductory verse that has been lost from the "traditional" versions:

BABES IN THE WOOD

CHORUS:
Sweet babes in the wood,
Sweet babes in the wood,
Don't you remember the babes in the wood?

1. When a child on the knee,
How pleased I would be
When my mother related the story to me
Of the babes in the wood,
Sweet babes in the wood.
Don't you remember the babes in the wood?
CHORUS

2. My dear, you must know—
'Twas a long time ago—
There were two little children whose names I don't know
That were stolen away
On a fine summer's day
And left in the wood, as I've heard the folks say.
CHORUS

3. And when it grew night,
How sad was their plight!
The sun it had set and the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed,
And bitterly cried,
Then, poor little creatures, they laid down and died.
CHORUS

4. Then a robin so red,
When he saw them lay dead,
Brought strawberry leaves and over them spread,
And all the day long,
The branches among,
He plaintively whistled and this was his song:
CHORUS

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: GUEST,sln
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 02:06 PM

here's the way my mom used to sing it to me. (it's interesting reading the different versions).


Oh don't you remember
A long time ago
Two little babes
There names I don't know

Were stolen away
On a fine summer's day
And left in the woods
So I heard people say.

And when it was night
So sad was the sight
The moon it went down
And the stars gave no light

They sobbed and they sighed
And they bitterly cried
Poor babes in the woods
They lay down and died.

And where they were dead
The Robin so red
Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread

And all the day long
They sang in the tree
"Poor babes in the woods
Poor babes in the woods".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: BB
Date: 12 Dec 06 - 03:10 PM

Alison McMorland did a beautiful version on the children's song album 'Funny Family' back in the '70s, also printed in the book of the same name.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: Schantieman
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 11:26 AM

According to the late lamented Bob Copper in A Song for Every Season, the Copper family used to (and presumably still) sing it over Christmas Dinner. Apparently one side of the table sings the first verse while the other side eat; they all join in the chorus and then swap over for subsequent verses.

Bit of a dirge to sing at a celebration if you ask me!


Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 02:36 PM

When my kids were very young, this was one of several songs I used to sing them to sleep with. Invariably, their reaction was : "Silly kids!"!

REgards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:34 PM

I do believe this originally was part of a much longer (umpty thousand verses - goes on and on and on...) ballad that was a verse morality tale that started off with the children's parents dying and their uncle getting a large sum of money to look after them - he led them into the woods to die so he could keep the money, then fate catches up with him and he becomes a broken man, etc, etc, etc...

Similar to one of the fairy tales in which the boy packs his pockets with crumbs to find their way back, but the birds eat the crumbs...

I'm not at home right now, so can't do any research on my own material.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 12:08 AM

Foolstroupe, at the Bodleian are copies of "The Babes in the Woods" (from the type font probably early 19th c.) and a "New Version" (c. 1855), Harding B11(123) which is moralistic and preachy.
I am going over the older one, which is much as you describe it, and will post it tomorrow, after I make sure that I have got it correctly. It is worth a look, as it has a primitive cut showing the two dead babes, a man on the scaffold, and in the foreground the two Ruffians (both wearing spurs).
The verse about the Robin-redbreast covering them with leaves (sob!) is there, and it goes on to tell of the heavy Wrath of God falling on the Uncle, and ends with a caution to Executors and Overseers that they could meet the same fate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: Acme
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 12:11 AM

I look forward to that version! I don't suppose it is scanned somewhere so the art can be seen as well as the words?


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BABES IN THE WOODS (from Bodleian)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 04:54 PM

At the Bodleian, the illustration is scanned with the text.

THE BABES IN THE WOODS
(Bodleian broadside)

Now ponder well you Parents dear,
These words which I shall write,
A dismal Story you shall hear,
In Time brought forth to Light:
A Gentleman of good Account,
In Norfolk dwelt of late,
Whose Wealth and Riches did surmount,
Most Men of his Estate.

Sore sick he was and like to die,
No Help that he could have,
His Wife as sick as him did lie,
And both possessed one Grave;
No Love between these two were lost,
Each was to the other kind,
In Love they lived, in Love they dy'd,
And left two Babes behind.

The one a fine and pretty Boy,
Not passing three years old,
The other a Girl more young than he,
And made in Beauty's Mould;
The Father left this little Boy,
As plainly doth appear,
When he to perfect Age should come,
Three Hundred Pounds a-year.

And to his little Daughter Jane,
Five Hundred Pounds in Gold,
To be paid down on Marriage-Day,
Which might not be controul'd;
But if the Children chance to die,
E'er they to age should come,
Their Uncle should possess their Wealth,
For so the Will did run.

Dear Brother said the dying Man,
Look to my Children dear,
Be good unto my Boy and Girl,
No Friend else have I hear;
To God and you I do commend,
My Children Night and Day,
A little while before we have,
Within this world to stay.

You must be Father and Mother both,
And Uncle all in one,
God knows what will become of them,
When I am dear and gone;
With that bespoke the Mother mild,
O! Brother kind quoth she,
You are the Man must bring my Babes
To Wealth or Misery.

If you do keep them carefully,
Then God you will regard,
If otherwise you seem to deal,
God will your deeds reward;
With Lips as could as any Stone,
He kiss'd the Children small,
God bless you both my Children dear,
And then the tears did fall,

These speeches then their Brother spoke,
To this sick couple here,
The keeping of your Children dear,
Sweet Sister do not fear;
God never prosper me nor mine,
Nor nothing else I have,
If that I wrong your Children dear,
When you are laid in grave.

Their Parents being dead and gone,
The Children Home he takes,
And brings them both unto his House
And much of them he makes;
He had not kept these pretty Babes,
A Twelvemonth and a Day,
But for their Wealth he did devise,
To make them both away.

He bargained with two Ruffians rude,
Who were of furious Mood,
That they should take the Children young,
And slay them in a Wood.
Then told his Wife and all he had,
He did the Children send,
To be brought up in fair London,
With one what was his Friend.

Away then went these pretty Babes,
Rejoicing at the Tide,
Both being glad and merry mind,
They should on Cock-horse ride;
They pate and prattle pleasantly,
As they rode on the Way,
To those who should their Butchers be
And take their lives straitway.

So that the pretty Speech they had,
Made the Monsters Hearts relent,
And they that took this Deed to do,
Full sorely did repent.
Yet one of them more hard of Heart,
Did vow to do his Charge,
Because the Wretch that hired him,
Had paid him very large.

The other would not agree thereto,
So there they fell to Strife,
With one another hey did fight,
About the Children's Lives,
And he that was of mildest Mood,
Did slay the other there,
Within an unfrequented Wood,
Where Babes did quake for Fear.

He took the Children by the Hand,
Whilst tears flow'd in their Eyes,
And bid them come and go with him,
And look they did not cry,
And two long miles he led them thus,
While they for bread complain,
Stay here says he I'll bring you bread,
When I do come again.

These pretty Babes with Hand in Hand,
Went wandering up and down,
But nevermore they saw the Man,
Approaching from the Town,
Their pretty Lips with Black-Berries,
Were all besmear'd and dy'd,
And when they saw the darksome Night,
They sat them down and cry'd.

Thus wandered these pretty Babes,
'Til Death did end their Grief,
In each others Arms they dy'd,
As Babes wanting Relief,
No Burial did these pretty Babes,
Of any Man receive,
Till Robin Red-breast ainfully
Did cover them with Leaves.

And now the heavy Wrath of God,
Upon their Uncle fell,
Yes, fearful friends did haunt his House,
His Conscience felt a Hell,
His barns were fir'd, his Goods consum'd,
His Lands were barren made,
His Cattle dy'd within the Field,
And nothing with hin stay'd.

And in a Voyage to Portugal,
Two of his Sons did die,
And to conclude himself was brought
Unto much Misery:
He pawn'd and mortgag'd all his Lands
E'er seven Years came about,
And now at length the wicked Act
Did by this means come out.

The Fellow that did take in hand
Their Children for to kill,
Was for a Robbery judg's to die.
As 'twas God's blessed will,
Who did confess the very Truth,
The which is here express'd,
Their Uncle dy'd while he for Debt,
Did long in Prison rest.

All you that be Executors made,
And Overseers eke,
Of Children that be fatherless,
And Infants mild and meek,
Take your Example by this Thing,
And yield to each his Right,
Lest God with such like Misery
Your wicked Minds require.

The lines are run together in the broadside; I have separated them into eight-line verses.

Harding B4(32) or (33), no date (Prob. early 19th c.), Bodleian Ballads, The same, more copies, Johnson Ballads 2316-2321.

www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ballads/ballads.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: GUEST,Jeff
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 06:10 AM

This has got to be one of the worst songs ever - I cringe whenever it rears its head in our club. Sorry - maybe it's just me!


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Subject: ADD Version: Two Babes in the Woods
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Feb 07 - 02:41 PM

I have to say that I like very short versions of ballads, especially if they're a bit quirky. This one fits the bill. I found it at The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip at the Library of Congress.

TWO BABES IN THE WOODS

My dears, do you know how a long time ago
Two poor little babes whose names I don' know
Were stolen away on a bright summer day
And left in the woods, so I've heard people say. (repeat*)

And when it was night, how sad was their plight,
The sun it went down and the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed and they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things, they lay down and died. (repeat)

And when they were dead, the robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves and over them spread,
And all the day long, they sang them this song:
Poor babes in the woods, poor babes in the woods!
And don' you remember the babes in the woods.?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: GUEST,alf.gunn
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 12:30 PM

BABES IN THE WOOD
As sung to me by my mother, Barbara Gunn (1916-2007)

Oh do you remember, a long time ago,
Two poor little children, their names I don't know,
Were stolen away on a bright summer day
And lost in the woods, so I've heard people say.

And when it was night, how sad was their plight.
The sun, it went down, and the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed, and they bitterly cried,
Then the poor little babes, they lay down and died.

And when they were dead, the robin so red
Brought strawberry leaves and over them spread,
And sang them a song, the whole day long,
And the poor little babes, they had done nothing wrong.

(From a Celtic or British folk tale dating to 1595)


Furnished by Alf Gunn, Gig Harbor, WA. alf.gunn@juno.com


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Subject: ADD Version: Poor Babes in the Wood
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 12:29 PM

this song is based on a true story from Blue Knob Penna. taught the song in Brownies
I remember hiking to the point of a stone monument while a girl scout....
two boys Joseph and George Cox........ sad mysterious story of lost children... always made me cry


POOR BABES IN THE WOOD

"Oh don't you remember a long time ago,
Two poor little children Whose names I don't know,
They wandered away
One bright summer's day
They were lost in the wood
So I've heard people say.

And when it was night
How sad was their plight!
The moon had gone down
And the stars gave no light.
They sought and they sighed
And they bitterly cried.
Poor babes in the wood
They lay down and died.

And when they were dead
The robin so red
gathered strawberry leaves
And over them spread.
And all the night long
He sang them this song
Poor babes in the wood,
Poor babes in the wood."

So come little children come listen to me,
and I'll tell you the tale of the babes by the tree



--------------------------------------------------------------------

The story


A stone monument stands near the town of Pavia in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Erected by public subscription, it commemorates an event that is still unexplained today.
On the morning of April 24, 1856, the two young sons of Samuel and Susannah Cox vanished. The boys, George (seven) and Joseph (five), had wandered off into the woods near the family shack, and they didn't respond to their parents' repeated calls. Samuel made his way to the house of his nearest neighbors to enlist their aid. One of them set out on horseback to enlist more help from all the farmers scattered for miles around. By nightfall, more than a hundred people were searching the woods for the boys... but they had no luck.
It had been a warm night, so there were good odds that the boys were still alive; at daybreak the search began again, with more volunteers who had traveled several miles to assist. But, once again, the searchers came up empty-handed... and they did so for the next ten days as well, even though the number of searchers swelled to over a thousand. The parents became so desperate that they asked a local dowser and a local woman with the reputation of being a witch to help; neither could.
Soon, suspicions turned on Samuel and Susannah Cox themselves as several people accused them of doing away with their own children. The floor of the family's shack was torn up and the yard around the home was dug up, in an attempt to prove the theory, but nothing was found.
It was at this time that a farmer named Jacob Dibert, who lived about 12 miles distant from the Cox's, had an odd dream. In it, he was searching alone for the children in a section of the woods that he had never seen before. As he walked forward he discovered a dead deer just past it. He stepped over the body and followed a deer trail until he found a child's shoe; beyond that was a fallen beech tree which allowed him to cross a stream. Next he came to a stony ridge that led into a ravine with a small brook; and there, in the shelter of a semi-circle formed by the roots of a birch tree, he found the boys... dead.
Dibert told his wife about the dream, and they decided to keep it to themselves; but when the dream repeated itself on the following two nights, they decided to tell Mrs. Dibert's brother, Harrison Whysong, about it. Whysong was familiar with the area the boys had disappeared in, and there were similarites between this area and Jacob's dream. So the two men went to the area and began to search; five minutes later, they found a dead deer... exactly as in the dream. Then the child's shoe... the beech tree over a creek... the stony ridge... and the birch tree. At the roots of the birch tree they found the boys, George and Joseph Cox, dead of exposure. The boys were buried in Mt. Union Cemetery on May 8, 1856.
In 1906, on the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy, the stone monument was erected near the site the bodies were found so that the strange event would never be forgotten.

Variations
Frank Edwards, in Stranger Than Science, states that Dibert told Wysong about the dream after the second time it occurred, while Rhoda Bender in an 1955 article and Fay Wentworth in an 1997 article, both in FATE Magazine, state that this happened only after the third time the dream recurred. Both Edwards and Wentworth add that Dibert stepped up onto a fallen tree before seeing the dead deer; Bender, in the earliest article, does not include this detail. All three authors spell Harrison Whysong's last name as "Wysong".
Wentworth also adds that years later in June 1891, after Jacob Dibert's death, his son Isaac also had a dream which showed him the location of a lost girl; the location in his dream proved to be correct, and the girl was rescued.

Investigation
The monument does exist, in Blue Knob State Park, Pennsylvania; known as "The Lost Children of the Alleghenies Memorial", it's a good hike through the woods from the nearest road. It's incribed thus:


JOSEPH S. COX AGED 5 YS. 6 MS. & 9 DS. --- GEORGE S. COX AGED 7 YS. 1 MO. & 10 DS. --- CHILDREN OF SAMUEL & SUSANNA COX
THE LOST CHILDREN OF THE ALLEGHENIES WERE FOUND HERE MAY 8, 1856. BY JACOB DIBERT AND HARRISON WHYSONG


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: bubblyrat
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 01:19 PM

I often play the tune " Varsoviana ", which, in part, Matin Wyndham-Read uses in his version of " Babes in the Wood " ----- A ghastly song, but a very nice ( dance ) -tune !!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 Jan 08 - 02:08 PM

Annadean Fraley does a fine job of this on an oft-neglected Rounder CD of songs for kids (allegedly) called "Land of Yahoe"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: GUEST,wow
Date: 14 Jul 08 - 12:06 AM

I now know the history of a song that has haunted my dreams for so very long. As a child my aunt would sing this some to me no matter how many times I begged her not to. It is now something that plays in my head quite often, and less effected by it I am everyday. Until reading the full history and having the memories brought up again to mind. This is a very depressing and amazing story. It's a song that will never be forgotten, and one that will be sung to other children in many home from now until the end of time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: poor babes in the woods
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 14 Jul 08 - 11:23 AM

Or you could try the late Gordon Hall's version...


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Subject: Tune Add: Babes in the Woods
From: Artful Codger
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 02:05 AM

I've prepared a MIDI from the sheet music in the Levy collection, published by Carr's Musical Repository. Malcolm Douglas indicated that this was the song written William Gardiner, and hence presumably the original song--at least in the shortened form. With Joe's help, a link to the MIDI should shortly appear at the end of this message. In the MIDI, the melody is bracketted by a musical introduction and bridge. If you look at the sheet music, you'll also find a flute part and a guitar part, but they just restate the melody line in different keys, and cannot be played concurrently with the vocal part unless you're a fan of polytonality.

Jim Dixon transcribed the lyrics in this message above, but misinterpreted how the lyrics line up with the tune. What he indicated as the chorus was actually the first three lines of the first verse, which the chorus section just happens to echo. So the song begins with the first verse rather than a chorus, as follows:

1. Sweet Babes in the wood,
Sweet Babes in the wood,
Don't you remember the babes in the wood?
When a child on the knee,
How pleased I would be
When my mother related the story to me
        Chorus
   Of the Babes in the wood, sweet Babes in the wood.
   Don't you remember the babes in the wood?

Also, the first words of the chorus vary with the verse:
1. Of the Babes...
2/3. Poor Babes...
4. Sweet Babes...


Note that Gardiner died before the incident in Pennsylvania occurred, so unless he was a better clairvoyant than Mr Dibert, there is no connection between the song and that story.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 03:43 PM

Rob,
I have a copy of the original 18thc sheet somewhere. It has the story of how it came to be written. Off the top of my head the writer was inspired by street vendors selling those little pottery effigies of the two children which would have been based on the popularity of the older long ballad posted above. He decided to write the well-known short version at that point. If I remember correctly it is dated and if Gardiner was born in 1770 he can't have been much older than 20 when he wrote it. It came from Billy Weekes' personal collection. He very kindly did me a copy. I'm surprised he hasn't chipped in here himself. I'll look it up and give more details. It might be worth checking the tune with the Levy version which I probably have a copy of somewhere. I have lots of versions of the long ballad which was printed by just about every printer in the 18thc. Its earlier fuller title was 'The Children in the Wood, Or; The Norfolk Gentleman's Last Will and Testament, A True Story.' It was extremely popular in the period Gardiner was growing up.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Paul Davenport
Date: 03 Jul 10 - 03:25 PM

This seems to be yet anther version. Liz recorded it on our first CD. I think her words are the same as in Alfred Williams' 'Folksongs of the Upper Thames'. Her version may be from an old Yorkshire collection.

TWO BABES IN THE WOOD

Did you ever hear tell, a long time ago,
Of two pretty babies, their names I don't know?
They were stolen away, one sunshiny day,
These two pretty babies were lost on their way.

Now when it was night, how sad was their plight!
The stars did not shine, and the moon gave no light;
They sobbed and they sighed, they sat down and cried,
And then these poor babies they lay down and died.

The robin so red, when he saw them lie dead,
Gathered strawberry leaves and over them spread;
And all the day long, where the green branches hung,
This pretty Bob whistled, and this was his song:


Pretty babes in the wood!
Pretty babes in the wood!
Did you ever hear tell of two babes in the wood?

Strange song when all's said and done…


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 01:49 PM

Found it. Just need to ask Billy Weekes' permission then I'll post the lot and let Artful have the tune to midi it. Words are a bit different to the Levy ones so the tune might vary a little as well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 05:30 PM

Billy Weeks very kindly says go ahead so I'll post the sheet music details first. It is a 2-page folded sheet typical of late 18thc, with flourishing script titles. (seraph for s at the start of words)
The Babes in the Wood
Written and composed, to introduce an
Admired Cry in the Town of Leicester &c.

London, Printed by Cabusac & Son's, No196, Strand.
for Henry Valentine, Leicester. Pr. 6d/.
(The publisher details give us a dating window of 1794-8)

key of A 6:8

The Babes in the Wood! The Babes in the Wood!
Don't you remeber the Babes in the Wood?
When a Child on the knee How silent I'd be,
While my mother related the Story to me
Of the Babes in the Wood, The Babes in the Wood,
Don't you remember the Babes in the Wood?

2
My Dear, you must know,
That a long Time ago,
There were two little Children, whose names I don't know,
Who were stolen away,
On a fine Summer's Day,
And left in a Wood, as I've heard the Folks say.
Poor Babes,&c.
3
And when it grew Night,
O sad was their Plight,
the sun it had set, and the Moon gave no Light:
They sobb'd and they sigh'd,
And bitterly cry'd;
Then, poor little Things, they lay down and died.
Poor Babes,&c.
4
A Robin so red,
When he saw them lie dead,
Brought Strawberry Leaves, and over them spread:
Then all the Day long,
The Branches among,
He'd prettily whistle, and this was his Song --
Poor Babes,&c.

There follows a repeat of the first verse with melody for 'Guittar'
and then the melody for 'Ger. Flute'

Billy also went online and found the following extract.
Quoted from Wm. Gardiner 'Music and Friends, or Pleasant Recollections of a Dilletante' 1853, which is about Gardiner's musical life, mainly in Leicester. He was born in 1770.

'Another early production was the following little song, from a street cry that much interested the children of Leicester. An itinerant vendor of toys with a musical and plaintive voice, paraded the streets with 2 little wax figures in a bower, representing The Babes in the Wood. To this morceau I persuaded Mr Thomas Combe to write some lines, of which I made the song that was published'.

h
He then gives the same words and music as the above sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Artful Codger
Date: 04 Jul 10 - 07:46 PM

As with the music in the Levy collection, the guitar and flute parts of the 17th c. score are restatements of the melody but in different keys (C and D, respectively). And though the first two lines are demarcated by section bars in the music, as if this is the chorus, the real chorus doesn't occur until this melody is restated in the third part of the tune. The section demarcation is really a logical distinction that only holds for the first verse, and leads to musical confusion; nevertheless, in the transcription, I've preserved it as written.

The score includes an accompaniment of block or tremolo chords, but you can do better in your sleep, so I've only transcribed the melody; the last fourth is the instrumental interlude. In my MIDI, I omitted the fermatas (H's below) to avoid throwing off the listener.

ABC transcription:

X:1
T:The Babes in the Wood
C:William Gardiner (uncredited in the sheet music)
S:Sheet music provided by Billy Weekes; date estimated at 1794-8.
Z:Artful Codger; melody only
%%MIDI program 1 69
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=60 "Semplice"
K:A
e3 | c A c e z e | c A c e2 z | A> G A F B> A |
w: The Babes in the Wood! The Babes in the Wood! Don't you re-mem-ber the
G E G A2 || B/ A/ | G E G d2 d | c A c e2 c/ c/ |
w: Babes in the Wood? When a Child on the knee How si-lent I'd be, While my
c d e f Hf c | d B A HG2 e/ e/ | c A c e z e |
w: Mo-ther re-lat-ed the Sto-ry to me Of the Babes in the Wood, The
c A c e2 z | A> G A F B> A | G E G A2 ||
w: Babes in the Wood, Don't you re-mem-ber the Babes in the Wood?
%
%    Interlude
e/>d/ | cAc e2 e/>d/ | cAc e2E | A>GA/G/ FB>A | {A}G/F/G/E/F/G/ A2 x ||


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST,Wilma Plake
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 04:30 PM

I have been searching for this song for many years. My mother sang it to me in the late 30's/40's in a little three room home in the country while I sat on her lap as she rocked me. No one in my family remembered it except me, but I could'nt remember all the words. All I could remember was: O don't you remember along time ago, three little babes whose names I don't know, were stolen away on a bright summers day and left in the woods I heard people say, and when it grew dark so sad was their plight----the rest was something about strawberry leaves and birds and how they died. Can i purchase this on cd or tape somewhere? I want to sing it to my grandchildren and let my family hear the song they can't remember..


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Aug 10 - 10:15 PM

Well, IF YOU HAD BOTHERED TO READ THIS THREAD BEFORE POSTING (the minimum of consideration), you'd have noticed that Masato Sakurai posted several messages back in 2003 listing quite a number of recordings (with other background information).

The quintessential recordings, from which most of the others derive, were made by the Copper Family. These recordings and many others are readily available on CD, as individual downloads from sites like Amazon.com, and even as free-to-view YouTube clips (click here). Masato also linked to some variants in the Max Hunter collection web pages, which include playable clips. In addition, after the first message, Joe Offer prominently provided links to two other Mudcat threads containing even more information, and Joe and I provided MIDI links near the top of the page, allowing you to hear the original Gardiner tune(s)--the Coppers sing a rather different one. What more could you want that hasn't already been provided??


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST,Mary
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 02:08 PM

My Texan Grandma sang this song to me - except her version ended with "they cried and they cried, to get out they tried - but the poor little babes just laid down and died." Ghastly yes but I begged her to sing it (along with "The Baggage Car Ahead") and then always regretted it afterward!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Nov 10 - 07:26 PM

"Babes in the Wood" is the song for December 1 in Jon Boden's A Folk Song a Day project.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Artful Codger
Date: 01 Dec 10 - 09:58 AM

To correct an impression that the blurb at Jon Boden's site may create: although some "babes in the woods" story may go back to 1595 or earlier, the song itself dates back no further than the late 1700's, when it was written by William Gardiner (music) and his unidentified friend (words). There is no direct correspondence with the long broadside ballads popular shortly before this song was written. One can only guess at the degree to which Gardiner's friend may have based his short text on any particular "babes in the woods" story or song; the text offers no clues about when (historically) they were taken, what their names were, who took them or why--it's more an atmosphere piece than a story. To consider the song as having a more extensive history is reaching for connections.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST,Beth Meader
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 03:44 PM

A note to Mary Guest. My grandfather sang this to his children and they sang it to us. His version ended the same as your grandmother's. I was looking for the words today and came upon your post. My mother, 87 now, also sang "The Baggage Car Ahead". When I tell my kids the jist of the song they don't believe me. I'm so happy to hear another person had it sung to them.

My mother grew up in Geneseo Il and my grandfather knew lots of old songs like these. I miss hearing them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 11 - 10:39 AM

Oh don't you remember, a long time ago,
those poor little babes, their names I don't know.
Were carried away on a bright summers day,
and left in the woods, i heard people say.
And when they were lost, so sad was their plight,
the sun had gone down, and the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed, those little tykes cried,
those poor little babes, laid down and died.
And when they were dead, the robin so red,
took strawberry leaves, and over them spread.
And all the night long, the wind sang them a song,
those poor little babes, those poor little babes.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Babes in the Wood
From: Acme
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 01:34 PM

Since I was here five years ago and mentioned the version I grew up with, I'm back to add those lyrics, plus some authored re-tellings, to this growing thread. Clearly, even though the song has been written down many times, the folk process is still at work and there are many favorite versions. And the simple yet gripping story lends itself to many occasions.

This first version, the song as my father learned it, was used by Louis Untermeyer in a poetry collection called Rainbow in the Sky, aimed generally at families or children. (1935, Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York)

In the chapter titled "I'll Tell You A Story," the introductory commentary notes:
About some of the other stories: "The Babes in the Wood" is one of the oldest. Perhaps you have read a version of it in your book of fairy tales, and part of it is like the opera "Hänsel and Gretel." You can see how it turned into a much longer poem in "The Ingoldsby Legends" or a more humorous one in Guy Wetmore Carryl's clever "How the Babes in the Wood Showed They Couldn't Be Beaten" on page 344. [I'll include this spinoff below]


Page 265

THE BABES IN THE WOOD

My dear, do you know
How, a long time ago,
Two poor little children,
Whose names I don't know,
Were stolen away
On a fine summer's day,
And left in a wood,
As I've heard people say?

And when it was night,
So sad was their plight,
The sun it went down,
And the moon gave no light!
They sobbed and they sighed,
And they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things
They lay down and died.

And when they were dead,
The robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread;
And all the day long
They sang them this song:
"Poor babes in the wood!
Poor babes in the wood!
And don't you remember
The babes in the wood?"

credited as "Old Ballad"


Here is the parody mentioned.

Page 344

How the Babes In the Wood Showed They Couldn't Be Beaten
Guy Wetmore Carryl (1873 - 1904)

A man of kind and noble mind
Was H. Gustavus Hyde.
'Twould be amiss to add to this
At present, for he died,
In full possession of his senses,
The day before my tale commences.

One half his gold his four-year-old-
Son Paul was known to win,
And Beatrix, whose age was six,
For all the rest came in,
Perceiving which, their Uncle Bed did
A thing that people said was splendid.

For by the hand he took them, and
Remarked in accents smooth:
"One thing I ask. Be mine the task
These stricken babes to soothe!
My country home is really charming:
I'll teach them all the joys of farming."

Concealing guile beneath a smile,
He took them to a wood,
And, with severe and most austere
Injunctions to be good,
He left them seated on a gateway,
And took his own departure straightway.

Though much afraid, the children stayed
From ten till nearly eight;
At times they wept, at times they slept,
But never left the gate:
Until the swift suspicion crossed them
The Uncle Benjamin had lost them.

Then quite unnerved, young Paul observed:
"It's like a dreadful dream,
And Uncle Ben has fallen ten
Per cent in my esteem.
Not only did he first usurp us,
But now he's left us here on purpose!"

   *   *   *   *

Four countless years their childish fears
Have made the reader pale,
Four countless years the public's tears
Have started at the tale,
For countless years much detestation
Has been expressed for the relation.

So draw a veil across the dale
Where stood that ghastly gate.
No need to tell. You know full well
What was their touching fate,
And how with leavee each little dead breast
Was covered by a Robin Redbreast!

But when they found them on the ground,
Although their life had ceased
Quite near to Paul there lay a small
White paper, neatly creased.
"Because of lack of any merit,
B. Hyde,"
it ran, "we disinherit!"

The Moral: If you deeply long
To punish one who's done you wrong,
Though in your lifetime fail you may,
Where there's a Will, there is a way!


The Ingoldsby Legends [1837] (according to Wikipedia) "is a collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry written supposedly by Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Manor, actually a pen-name of an English clergyman named Richard Harris Barham." The particular poem in Barham's book is called The Babes In the Wood; Or, The Norfolk Tragedy. There are several online sources for downloading the complete contents of The Ingoldsby Legends. I'm adding a link to a side for reading online for those who are nervous about downloads.

Her niece, of whom I have before made honourable mention, is not a whit behind Mrs. Botherby in furnishing entertainment for the young folks. If little Charles has the aunt to sol fa him to slumber, Miss Jenny is equally fortunate in the possession of a Sappho of her own. It is to the air of 'Drops of Brandy' that Patty has adapted her version of a venerable ditty, which we have all listened to with respect and affection under its old title of

THE BABES IN THE WOOD; OR, THE NORFOLK TRAGEDY.
AN OLD SONG TO A NEW TUNE.


When we were all little and good --
A long time ago I'm afraid, Miss --
We were told of the Babes in the Wood
By their false, cruel Uncle betray'd, Miss;
Their Pa was a Squire, or a Knight;
In Norfolk I think his estate lay--
That is, if I recollect right,
For I've not read the history lately.1
Rum ti, &c.

Their Pa and their Ma being seized
With a tiresome complaint, which, in some seasons,
People are apt to be teased
With, who're not on their guard against plum-seasons,
Their medical man shook his head
As he could not get well to the root of it;
And the Babes stood on each side the bed,
While their Uncle, he stood at the foot of it.

'Oh, Brother!' their Ma whisper'd faint
And low, for breath seeming to labour, 'Who'd
Tnink that this horrid complaint,
That's been going about in the neighbourhood,
Thus should attack me,-- nay, more,
My poor husband besides,-- and so fall on him!
Bringing us so near Death's door
That we can't avoid making a call on him!

'Now think, 'tis your Sister invokes
Your aid, and the last work she says is,
Be kind to those dear little folks
When our toes are turned up to the daisies!--
By the servants don't let them be snubb'd,--
-- Let Jane have her fruit and her custard,--
And mind Johnny's chilblains are rubb'd
Well with Whitehead's best essence of mustard.

'You know they'll be pretty well off in
Respect to what's called 'worldly gear,'
For John, when his Pa's in his coffin,
Comes in to three hundred a-year;
And Jane's to have five hundred pound
On her marriage paid down, ev'ry penny,
So you'll own a worse match might be found,
Any day in the week, than our Jenny!'

Here the Uncle pretended to cry,
And, like an old thorough-paced rogue, he
Put his handkerchief up to his eye,
And devoted himself to Old Bogey
If he did not make matters all right,
And said, should he covet their riches,
He 'wished the old Gentleman might
Fly away with him, body and breeches!'

No sooner, however, were they
Put to bed with a spade by the sexton,
Than he carried the darlings away
Out of that parish into the next one,
Giving out he should take them to town
And select the best school in the nation,
That John might not grow up a clown,
But receive a genteel education.

'Greek and Latin old twaddle I call!'
Says he, 'While his mind's ductile and plastic,
I'll place him at Dotheboys Hall
Where he'll learn all that's new and gymnastic.
While Jane, as, when girls have the dumps,
Fortune-hunters, by scores, to entrap 'em rise,
Shall go to those worthy old frumps,
The two Misses Tickler of Clapham Rise!'

Having thought on the How and the When
To get rid of his nephew and niece,
He sent for two ill-looking men,
And he gave them five guineas a-piece.--
Says he, 'Each of you take up a child
On the crupper, and when you have trotted
Some miles through that wood lone and wild,
Take your knife out and cut its carotid!'

'Done' and 'done' is pronounced on each side,
While the poor little dears are delighted
To think they a-cock-horse shall ride,
And are not in the least degree frighted;
They say their 'Ta! Ta!' as they start,
And they prattle so nice on their journey,
That the rogues themselves wish to their heart
They could finish the job by attorney.

Nay, one was so taken aback
By seeing such spirit and life in them,
That he fairly exclaim'd, 'I say, Jack,
I'm blow'd if I can put a knife in them!'--
'Pooh!' says his pal, 'you great dunce!
You've pouch'd the good gentleman's money,
So out with your whinger at once,
And scrag Jane, while I spiflicate Johnny!'

He refused, and harsh language ensued,
Which ended at length in a duel,
When he that was mildest in mood
Gave the truculent rascal his gruel;
The Babes quake with hunger and fear,
While the ruffian his dead comrade, Jack, buries;
Then he cries, 'Loves, amuse yourselves here
With the hips, and the haws, and the blackberries!

'I'll be back in a couple of shakes;
So don't, dears, be quivering and quaking,
I'm going to get you some cakes,
And a nice butter'd roll that's a-baking!'
He rode off with a tear in his eye,
Which ran down his rough cheek, and wet it,
As he said to himself with a sigh,
'Pretty souls!-- don't they wish they may get it!!'

From that moment the Babes ne'er caught sight
Of the wretch who thus wrought their undoing,
But pass'd all that day and that night
In wandering about and 'boo-hoo'-ing.'
The night proved cold, dreary, and dark,
So that, worn out with sighings and sobbings,
Next morn they were found stiff and stark,
And stone-dead, by two little Cock-Robins.

These two little birds it sore grieves
To see what so cruel a dodge I call,--
They cover the bodies with leaves,
An interment quite ornithological;
It might more expensive have been,
But I doubt, though I've not been to see 'em,
If among those in all Kensal Green
You could find a more neat Mausoleum.

Now, whatever your rogues may suppose,
Conscience always makes restless their pillows,
And Justice, though blind, has a nose
That sniffs out all conceal'd peccadilloes.
The wicked old Uncle they say,
In spite of his riot and revel,
Was hippish and qualmish all day,
And dream't all night long of the d--l.

He grew gouty, dyspeptic, and sour,
And his brow, once so smooth and so placid,
Fresh wrinkles acquired every hour,
And whatever he swallow'd turn'd acid
The neighbours thought all was not right,
Scarcely one with him ventured to parley,
And Captain Swing came in the night,
And burnt all his beans and his barley.

There was hardly a day but some fox
Ran away with his geese and his ganders;
His wheat had the mildew, his flocks
Took the rot, and his horses the glanders;
His daughters drank rum in their tea,
His son, who had gone for a sailor,
Went down in a steamer at sea,
And his wife ran away with a tailor!

It was clear he lay under a curse;
None would hold with him any communion,
Every day matters grew worse and worse,
Till they ended at length in The Union;
While his man being caught in some fact,
(The particular crime I've forgotten,)
When he came to be hanged for the act,
Split, and told the whole story to Cotton.

Understanding the matter was blown,
His employer became apprehensive
Of what, when 'twas more fully known,
Might ensue -- he grew thoughtful and pensive;
He purchased some sugar-of-lead,
Took it home, popp'd it into his porridge,
Ate it up, and then took to his bed,
And so died in the workhouse at Norwich.

MORAL.

Ponder well now, dear Parents, each word
That I've wrote, and when Sirius rages
In the dog-days, don't be so absurd
As to blow yourselves out with Green-gages!
Of stone-fruits in general be shy,
And reflect it's a fact beyond question
That Grapes, when they're spelt with an i,
Promote anything else but digestion.--

-- When you set about making your will,
Which is commonly done when a body's ill,
Mind, and word it with caution and skill,
And avoid, if you can, any codicil!
When once you've appointed an heir
To the fortune you've made, or obtain'd, ere
You leave a reversion beware
Whom you place in contingent remainder!

Executors, Guardians, and all
Who have children to mind, don't ill treat them,
Nor think that, because they are small
And weak, you may beat them, and cheat them;
Remember that 'ill-gotten goods
Never thrive;' their possession's but cursory,
So never turn out in the woods
Little folks you should keep in the nursery.

Be sure he who does such base things
Will ne'er stifle Conscience's clamour;
His 'riches will make themselves wings,'
And his property come to the hammer!
Then He,-- and not those he bereaves,
Will have most cause for sighings and sobbings,
When he finds himself smother'd with leaves
(Of fat catalogues) heap'd up by Robins!

NOTES

1See Bloomfield's History of the County of Norfolk, in which all the particulars of this lamentable history are (or ought to be) fully detailed, together with the names of the parties, and an elaborate pedigree of the family.


"This edition of The Ingoldsby Legends or Mirth and Marvels by "Thomas Ingoldsby" (pen-name of The Rev. Richard H. Barham) is taken from a copy published by Humphrey Milord for the Oxford University Press, 1921."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 06:12 PM

If the popularity of the long ballad 'the Children in the Wood' is anything to go by, it is most likely the inspiration for the itinerant seller of the wax figures, and so indirectly for the late 18th century song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 13 - 11:13 AM

This is the way my Momma use to sing it to me when I was a little girl. I'm 75 years old now.

Oh don't you remember
a long time ago
there were two little babes
who's names I don't know
got stolen away
one bright sunny day
got lost in the woods
I heard some folks say

And when it was night
the stars gave no light
the two little babes
were so filled with fright
they sobbed and thy sighed
and bitterly cried
the two little babes
they lay down and died

And when they were dead
the robins so red
brought strawberry leaves
and over them spread
and sang them a song
the whole morning long
the two little babes
the babes in the woods


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Artful Codger
Date: 16 Sep 13 - 03:52 PM

Belated reply to SteveG:

It's possible there was an indirect tie between the now-well-known "Babes in the Woods" and the older, lengthy ballad that was still known in Gardiner's time, but it is one of common subject rather than textual or musical derivation. If you make up a new song about Robin Hood, borrowing elements from the common lore, can anyone realistically assert it dates back to the 14th century?

We know who wrote the newer "Babes in the Wood" song and when, and we have sufficient versions of the older ballad to show they have at most only an "inspired by" connection—they share no metric structure, tune or common lines. The newer song was created essentially from scratch in the 1790s.

Apart from the clay figurines, it's unclear what Gardiner's friend may have used as the basis for his lyrics. As I mentioned before, the song follows the barest of story lines: they were "stolen away" (miscreant undescribed) and "left in the wood"; they cried, they died; then a robin covered them with leaves and sang. The prologue says that "mother related the story to me", which suggests that the lyricist's source was a nursery tale rather than a ballad. Over time there have been multiple legends of "babes in the wood": it was such a simple method to dispose of inconvenient spawn. (Don't tell Prince Andrew.) No sure link between the song and the once-popular ballad, much less any particular legend, has been established. This song's "long" history effectively dead ends in the 1790s; anything posited before that is pure conjecture.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST,leila ooley
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 12:32 AM

I'm 52 and remember my grandmother singing this to me you when I was a baby, wish I could remember all of it. ( two little children their names I don't know went strolling along one fine summer's day got lost in the woods I heard people say and when it was night so sad was there plight and side by side they bitterly cried, poor babes in the woods poor babes in the woods and when we're dead the Robin so red picked strawberry leaves and over them spread and send them a song the whole night long poor babes in the woods poor babes in the woods.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Jul 14 - 05:52 PM

Hi Artful,
I don't have any info on the popularity of other 'Babes in the Woods' stories or other formats. But as I stated I do know the long ballad was very popular during the 18thc going by the numerous printings. Perhaps a scholar familiar with other forms could enlighten us. The small pottery figures that were sold in the streets by hawkers were modelled on famous people and very familiar popular figures in literature and general fiction.

My suggestion was that the pottery figures were probably based on the old ballad, but you may well be right.

I completely agree that the Gardiner piece should be considered an original and separate song. To be considered as related to the ballad it would have to have substantial text in common.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: GUEST,Cindi
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 08:54 PM

Perhaps you don't know but a long time ago, there were three little babes, that were stolen away. They were stolen away, on a bright sunny day, and left in the woods, so I've heard people say.
They cried and they cried. All day they cried. And when it grew dark, they laid down and died. When they were dead, the robin so red, brought strawberry leaves and over them spread.
And all the next day you could hear their sad cries.
Poor Babes in the woods.
Poor Babes in the woods.

My grandmother sang it to my mom as a lullaby when she was a child - my mother sang it to me and I sang it to my children. I don't know the origin but grandmother was from Kerry county Ireland and passed away 3 years ago at the age of 99. Maybe that helps


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Subject: RE: Origins: Poor Babes in the Woods
From: leeneia
Date: 15 Aug 16 - 11:54 AM

It think it's time somebody updated this song, folk-processing it by adding a verse about a chihuahua.


happy ending
===========
I'm not much good at rhythm and rhyme, otherwise I'd do it myself.


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