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Lighter Origins: riddle song (I Gave My Love a Cherry) (67* d) RE: Origins: riddle song (I Gave My Love a Cherry) 23 Jun 21


The Daily Milwaukee News (Nov. 15 1855) printed a "modernized" version of this "eccentric ballad" of "about the year 1450":

                         AN OLD BALLAD

I have a young sister,
Far beyond the sea;
Many were the presents
That she sent me.
She sent me a cherry
Without any stone
She sent me a pigeon,
Without any bone;
Without any thorns
She sent me a briar,
She bade me love my lover
And that without desire.

How can a cherry
Be without a stone?
How can a pigeon
Be without a bone?
How can a briar
Be without a thorn?
And whoe'er loved with out desire
Since true love first was born?

When the cherry was a blossom,
Then it had no stone;
When the dove [sic] was in the egg,
Then it had no bone.
When first the briar sprouted,
Never a thorn it bore;
When a maiden has her lover,
Oh, then she longs no more.

Pretty neat! It was reprinted in papers in a half-dozen states.

The speaker is clearly female. The twist on her sister's advice in the last line is totally unexpected.


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