#02119
The Cambric Shirt - Var A (Kenneth Peacock)
See also: The Cambric Shirt - Var B (Peacock)
And also: Scarborough Fair (Martin Carthy)
And also: The Cambric Shirt
(Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, And Thyme)

There was an old woman lived under a hill,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
If she isn't gone, she's a-living there still,
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

The devil came to her one night in bed,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
And these very words unto her he said,
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe..

"You must make me a cambric shirt,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
Without any seam or any needle work.
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

"You must wash it in yonder well,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
Where neither the dew nor the rain-water fell.
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

"You must spread it on yonder thorn,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
That never bore a bud since Adam was born."
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

"Oh, now you've asked me questions three,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
And I have the same to ask of thee.
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

"You must plough me an acre of land,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
Beneath the sea and the salt-water strand.
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

"You must harrow it with a pig's horn,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
And sow it all over with one grain of corn.
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

"Then when you have a-done your work,
Blow, blow, blow the winds blow,
Come back to me and you'll have your shirt!"
While the winds do blow my flood o' woe.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 17th-century British broadside ballad, The Elfin Knight (Child ballad #2) The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.6, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that the devil is not found in any of the variants given by Professor Child. An early record in the Bodleian Library dated 1450 tells of a virgin and the devil.

From Wikipedia: Cambric is a lightweight cotton cloth used as fabric for lace and needlework. Cambric, also known as batiste in a large part of the world, was invented by Jean-Baptiste Cambrai, France, which gave the fabric its name, as early as 1595; It is a closely woven, firm fabric with a slight glossy surface produced by calendering. Modern cambric is made from Egyptian or American cotton and sometimes flax, but also polymer fibres can be added. Cambric is also used as a coating for professional playing cards to protect them for a longer period and make them easier to handle.


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