Mudcat Café Message Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe



User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Gerry Origins: Billy Boy (88* d) RE: Origins: Billy Boy 11 Aug 19


Here are the lyrics as Eliza Carthy sings them (and pretty much as Martin Carthy sings them). It's a bit different from the other versions that have been posted, with one particular difference that I want to ask about, below.

Eliza Carthy sings Billy Boy
https://mainlynorfolk.info/martin.carthy/songs/billyboy.html

“Where have you been all the day, bonny boy, Billy Boy?
Where have you been all the day, o my dear darling Billy O?”
“I've been out all the day
Walking with a lady gay,
Isn't she a young thing lately from her mummy O?”

“Is she fit for your wife, bonny boy, Billy Boy?
Is she fit for your wife, o my dear darling Billy O?”
“She's as fit to be my wife
As the heart is to the knife,
Isn't she a young thing lately from her mummy O?”

“And did she ask you to sit down, bonny boy, Billy Boy?
Did she ask you to sit down, o my dear darling Billy O?”
“Well she asked me to sit down
Then she curtsied to the ground,
Isn't she a young thing lately from her mummy O?”

“Did she light you up to bed, bonny boy, Billy Boy?
Did she light you up to bed, o my dear darling Billy O?”
“Well she lit me up to bed
With a nodding of her head,
Isn't she a young thing lately from her mummy O?”

“Did she lie close to you, bonny boy, Billy Boy?
Did she lie close to you, o my dear darling Billy O?”
“Well she lay so close to me
As the bark is to the tree,
Isn't she a young thing lately from her mummy O?”

“Do you want to know her age, bonny boy, Billy Boy?
Do you want to know her age, o my dear darling Billy O?”
“She is twice six seven,
She is twice twenty and eleven,
Isn't she a young thing lately from her mummy O?”

There's also a nice recording by Luke Plumb and Kare Burke on their new album.

Now, verse 2, lines 3 and 4: She's as fit to be my wife/As the heart is to the knife.

What is going on there? How is a heart fit to a knife? Other versions have fork and knife, or sheath and knife, which make sense to me. Is heart and knife a mondegreen?


Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.
   * Click on the linked number with * to view the thread split into pages (click "d" for chronologically descending).

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.