Folk songs


A Buxom Blonde Lady

[image: Ben Phillips.]

Ben Phillips.

As I came home from the fair
A buxom blonde lady
Offered me a crown
To mow her meadow
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

There were tumps and hillocks
And many a molehill
And one or two rough bits
[That were] very hard to mow
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

There was a bit in the middle,
Wide enough to sink a ship;
It needed a big strong lad
To venture into that part
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

I dreamed a strange dream
On Monday morning,
That I was in bed
And Gwen was by my side
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

The priest asked,
"Will you take her for your wife,
And keep her unto death –
Oh, that's what you’ll have to do –
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

And keep her and comfort her,
In sickness and in health,
From this day forward,
For better or for worse?"
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

Well, we came home from church
About three o' clock that afternoon;
The tables were all set
And all the dishes full
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

There was wine there, and claret,
Boiled and roasted meat,
And we two, being young,
Cared nothing for the expense
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

But I woke up the second morning
As the day was breaking
And what did I find by my side
But a little bunch of feathers
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.

And now I'm well set up,
I've plenty of money put by,
And when ?September comes
I'll go down to the seaside
Toodle–dee ray–dee hay–dee ho
Timmy way timmy hay timmy ho.


Hen Ladi fawr Benfelen.mp3
A Buxom Blonde Lady

SFNHM Tape 609. Collected 10.8.63 from John Thomas (engineer, b. 1912), Felin, Abercastell, near Mathri, north Pembrokeshire. The singer had learnt it initially from his relative Ben Phillips (1871–1958), who recorded several folk songs for the British Broadcasting Corporation during 1952–3.


Notes

Two distinct song–texts appear to have been merged here. Stanzas 1–3 representing 'Hen Ladi Fowr Benfelen'('A Buxom Blonde Lady') and the remainder being an account of a dream in which the narrator recalls his own marriage ceremony and wedding feast; he eventually awakes to find himself alone in bed, but later, having shed his dismay, resolves to make good use of his money savings by taking a seaside holiday. 'Hen Ladi Fowr Benfelen' represents a song–type of which few examples seem to have been preserved in Welsh: erotic song that uses sustained sexual metaphor drawn from the skills and tools of a certain craft. In this particular case the symbolism is that of mowing the hay–meadow. The same imagery, similarly applied, is well–known in English folk song: in fact, 'Hen Ladi Fowr Benfelen' is highly reminiscent of 'Buxom Lass', as published in James Reeves, The Everlasting Circle (1959), 26–7. On the erotic use of craft symbolism in English folk song, see The Everlasting Circle, 21–33, and A. L. Lloyd. Folk Song in England (1967), 197–210, 319–21. The Welsh text given above is incomplete; Ben Phillips's recording (BBC Recorded Programmes Library No. 19069) included three additional verses. The final stanza of the 'dream song' appears on 'ballad' leaflets at the end of a composition entitled 'Shacki Newi Ddwad' ('Jackie Just Come'). Significantly, this too seems to fall within the category of metaphorical song referred to above, the imagery in this instance deriving from the work of the collier.

The tune recorded is a variant of the oft–published 'Cân y Melinydd' ('The Miller's Song').

Click here to download the music to A Buxom Blonde Lady
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