Jon says, “This is also from Anne Briggs, although Eliza used to sing this a lot solo at Ratcatchers gigs and we’d listen from the wings. Apparently the original was from a male perspective but I think it works better with a girl narrator so I’m sticking with that.”
I can add that this is definitely Briggs and for a while it was even incorrectly attributed as her composition, although that was as a result of Chinese whispers rather than any attempt to take the credit on her part. You can read the full Mudcat thread here should you so wish. A.L. Lloyd’s notes on A Collection CD make it plain that it was collected and published in Blackwood’s Magazine early as 1821 by a Thomas Doubleday. He in turn got it from a Newcastle street singer. The melody is given as My Love Is Newly Listed. The Mudcat thread above also offers the possibility that Doubleday wrote the words himself and somewhere in there is a reprint of a section of the tune, which I am not clever enough to tell you anything about – it’s all dots and squiggles to me. I did include this in my Alternative Advent Calendar, however, being much taken with it. Given the apparent gender transfer it’s interesting that Jon hasn’t swapped it back again. Although I agree with him that it somehow suits a female perspective.
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