Adam And Eve


Jon calls this “A funny little nursery rhyme from Tim Hart and Maddy Prior. I’m sure the first verse must have some profound metaphorical significance…”

I think it’s destined to remain a mystery if it does, as there seems very little I can find to add to this. Goggling simply brings up a mass of religious stuff and adding nursery rhyme to the search only makes matters worse. Mainly Norfolk at least has Maddy and Tim’s notes with the obvious reference to Oliver Cromwell and King Charles, although that says nothing about the miller’s identity and what he’s got to do with anything. I don’t know whether any of you have any special insight into this but I am very wary of attributing meaning to nursery rhymes and in that respect this Wiki page makes for quite interesting reading. Still please add below if you can, but I caution against Googling as you’ll need the patience of granite to wade through the guff you’ll find.


22 Responses to “Adam And Eve”

  1. Jane Ramsden says:

    Patience of granite? Well, plenty of millstone grit here, Skyman! Even so, I have found nothing either on a mini-google. Intriguing little song though. I would love to find out more, if there’s any more to find out.

  2. John Burton says:

    So, apparently it is a “stilt”, a form of English Hymn Tune.

    ” S. David ” (E. H., No. 166) is a good example of the
    stilt) in which the melody progresses in a series of hops.
    This was a style much affected by the Puritans.

    The Cavaliers burlesqued another stilt, resembling
    ” York ” (E. H., No. 472), by putting to it the following
    words :

    ” Adam and Eve would never believe
    That Peter the Miller was dead,
    Shut up in a tower for stealing of flour
    And never could get a reprieve.

    They bor’d a hole in Oliver’s nose,

    And put therein a string ;
    And then they led him round the town

    For murthering Charles our King.”;f=70;t=012439

    It would appear that it originated in the time of Cromwell. I think the tune is called “York” possibly used by a Rev, John Ellerton but was unable to verify that.

    JohnB. who really wishes he understood more of what he just posted, besides the word burlesqued.

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    Thank you, JohnB! How did you find that? How clever ye are! I don’t understand all of your post either, but at least I’ve learnt what a ‘stilt’ is.

  4. John Burton says:

    Well Jane, I searched for “adam and eve, oliver and charles” or maybe the oliver was cromwell.
    Anyhow something like that, I found the link half way down the first page.

  5. Jane Ramsden says:

    Peter the Miller – the only one I could find!

    When Peter the Miller went into the fair,

    Young Paul, very downcast, met with him there,

    “What’s wrong?” Peter cried. “I’m in love” said Paul,

    “And terribly troubled I am with it all.

    Though the maid, she is willing and ready to wed,

    Yet her father’s as crusty as home-made bread,

    And he swears that wedded we never shall be.

    Oh what would you do, if you were me?

    What would you do, what would you do, what would you do, if you were me?”

    Well said Peter the Miller, “When I were young,

    Such crusty old fathers could go and get hung.

    I’d choose a dark night, if she didn’t say nay,

    Slip an arm round her waist and I’d up and away.

    I’ll help ‘ee, me lad, and tonight if you’d care,

    Why, I’ll lend ‘ee me trap and me old grey mare.

    Make off with thee lass, lad, that’s what I’d do,

    That’s what I’d do, if I were you,

    That’s what I’d do, that’s what I’d do, that’s what I’d do, if I were you.”

    Well, when Peter the Miller got home that night,

    No log in the fire, in the window no light,

    But where could his daughter be, plague take the maid,

    What’s this, here’s a note on the table laid.

    “Dear Father, we thought your advice was so good,

    We carried it out just as soon as we could.

    If you ask our advice as to what you should do,

    Oh, we’d just make the best of it, if we were you,

    That’s what we’d do, that’s what we’d do, if we were you.”

    Bob and Jacqueline Patten first recorded George Withers singing this song at Isle Abbotts in 1983. They commented that they had not seen or heard the song before or since, and it certainly does not seem to appear in any other published collections. George got it from his mother and he thinks that she might have learnt it at school. Whenever he sings it George appeals to the audience to see if anybody has heard it before. Nobody has yet!

  6. Muzza(s.e.England) says:

    @Jane……..thanks for the lyrics…what a cheeky little story……………The tune to ‘Mistletoe bough’ fits except for the refrain. Sorry Jon/Simon…getting a bit off track here…..think of yourselves as catalysts/inspirational..good old AFSAD.

  7. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: Thought you’d like that after your YouTube rendition of The Yorkshire Couple, complete with candelabra! No idea as to the original tune, and not able to help myself as do not know enough about music *sighs* Cheeky enough for a Bellowhead song tho! And lots of you on here could come with all sorts of tunes!

  8. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    @Jane…………I don’t know what I was on last year when I said that ‘mistletoe bough tune’ fitted your little ditty….DOES IT ‘ECK!
    My Yorkshire couple are still struggling on bless’em.

  9. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    @John B above……..would a singing frog be a good example of a ‘stilt’? Ta Daaaa

  10. Diana says:

    What a strange little nursery rhyme. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the first and second verses and who was Peter the miller? Come to that why Adam and Eve except for rhyming purposes. Distinctly odd.

  11. Diana says:

    @Muzza I am sorry but I do not understand your remark of this morning. I have read though all the comments written above and your question baffles me. Where does the singing frog come in? The only one I can think of is Kermit.

  12. Muzza(N.W.Surrey. UK) says:

    @Diana…………….don’t worry me deario…your eyes probably hopped over so much text and the humour is tenuous(as is my wont) and based solely on the 2nd comment from the top:-

    ” S. David ” (E. H., No. 166)Kermit is a good example of the
    stilt) in which his melody progresses in a series of hops.”

  13. Diana says:

    @Muzza thanks for the explanation. I get it – I am a bit slow on the uptake, it just didn’t register the “hops” part. Still I do appreciate your humour as is my wont too. 😀

  14. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    You know how I love GLITCHES……there are some pretty odd comments filtering onto the Rss comments feed!
    Hey ho……we have a fair old dump of snow today and still chucking it down….thought divine Surrey would miss it…I was sunbathing on the same day last year!
    UK weather-doncher luv it!

  15. Diana says:

    It was about 21 degrees this time last year but now have two foot snow drifts in places caused by swirling east wind. Most of Britain seems to be suddenly white all over.

    Still a funny old nursery rhyme.

  16. Jan says:

    Snow here in Lincolnshire too and still falling, but just steadily and no drifts. Hope everyone is tucked up warm at home but not snowed in!

    Diana, if you are getting paid for the ironing then that’s a different kettle of fish entirely. But I think my mum had the right idea – she told my dad she didn’t know how to press trousers, so he always did it himself.

    Muzza, you old frog, when are you going to croak something new on YouTube?

  17. Diana says:

    Yes a defintely funny old nursery rhyme.

  18. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Disappointed today as my trip to watch the Oxford/Cambridge boat race on Sunday has had to be cancelled………….still be cheering for GOOD OLD OXFORD from the comfort of the good old armchair.!

  19. Diana says:

    Short but not particularly sweet.

  20. old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Diana………where have you been…..lovely to see that you still click on the old AFSAD.
    Who knows….we might have Jane and her bottom saying hallo….wonders never cease.
    This corny joke to go with the song. might lure her down from the hills (sorry Jon/Simon)

    God creates Adam, and soon Adam is complaining that he’s all alone in
    the Garden of Eden.

    So God says, “Okay, I’ll make you a companion, a beautiful creature
    who’ll cook and clean for you. It will be able to converse
    intelligently on any subject, and never ever complain or argue.”

    Adam says, “That sounds great.”

    God says, “The only thing is, it will cost you an arm and a leg.”

    Adam says, “Damn, that’s expensive. What can I get for a rib?”

  21. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Forewarning…..Oxford/Cambridge boat race this coming Sunday 26th 5pm?

  22. TJ from Brum says:

    This song, or its second verse, seems to be about the “posthumous execution” of Oliver Cromwell – his body was dug up & hung on chains & then his head was separated & put on a pole, in London, in 1661 on the 12th anniversary of the execution of Charles 1st, for which Cromwell had been responsible. I assume that the story of Peter the Miller is included to illustrate the difference between his getting, effectively, a death sentence for stealing flour, while Cromwell died of natural causes although he’d effectively killed the king.

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