Songs of my childhood

They were sung to me, I sang them to my children and I have annoyed captive audiences in the car all my life with them – now it’s your turn.

**********************

I recall my mother singing this to me, when I was little, probably around 3 years of age, although she probably sang it to me when I was a babe in arms.

This was ‘My Song’. It was sad but it sat right at the time. When my grandparents died I was very young, but I recall that they also were taken by angels – a concept that I understood from this song.

Little Boy Blue by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.

“Now, don’t you go till I come,” he said,
“And don’t you make any noise!”
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! the years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!

Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place—
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.

******************

My Other Song was “Perspicacity” or

The Lilac Tree

A little boy and a little girl,
In an ecstacy of bliss,
Said the little boy to the little girl,
“Won’t you give me just one kiss.”
The girl drew back in great surprise
“You’re a stranger sir,” said she,
“But I will give you just one kiss
When the apples grow on a lilac tree!’

The boy felt very sad at heart,
She was the only one;
The girl felt quite remorseful
At the terrible wrong she had done.
So bright and early on the very next morn,
He was quite surprised to see
His little sweetheart standing in the garden
Tying apples on a lilac tree.

George H. Gartlan (1882-1963)

***************************************

Heard around the house, but not as a lullaby was the ditty:

Billy Boy Traditional – (pre 1912)

Oh, where have you been,
Billy Boy, Billy Boy?
Oh, where have you been,
Charming Billy?
I have been to seek a wife,
She’s the idol of my life.
She’s a young thing,
And cannot leave her mother
.

The other dozen or more verses can be researched easily – if you need them – All probably stem from:

“My Boy Billy”  Trad – (published 1912 Ralph Vaughan)

Where have you been all this day,
My boy Billy?
Where have you been all this day,
Pretty Billy, tell me.”
“I have been all this day,
Courting with a lady gay,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy,
But she is too young to be taken from her mammy

**********************

Girl on the Police Gazette – Irving Berlin – 1937

Some fellows see the girl that they love in a dream
Some fellows see their love in a rippling stream
I saw the girl that I can’t forget
On the cover of a police gazette
If I could find her, life would be peaches and cream

Oh, my search will never cease for the girl on the police gazette
For the pretty young brunette
On the pink police gazette

And above my mantlepiece there’s a page of the police gazette
With the pretty young brunette
On the pink police gazette

I love to stop
At my fav’rite barber shop
Just to take another look at
The girl I haven’t met
Yet

And my longing will increase for the girl on the police gazette
For the pretty young brunette
On the pink police gazette.

*****************

The King’s Horses – (1930 -Noel Gay – Harry Graham)

The king’s horses, the king’s men,
Marched down the street and then marched back again,
The king’s horses and the king’s men.

They’re in scarlet, they’re in gold,
All dollied up, it’s a joy to behold!
The king’s horses and the king’s men.

They’re not out to scare the foe,
You might think so, But oh dear no!
They’re out because they’ve got to go
To put a little pep into the Lord Mayor’s Show!

It’s their duty, now and then,
To march down the street and then march back again,
The king’s horses and the king’s men.

The king’s horses, the king’s men,
Marched down the street and they marched back again,
The king’s horses and the king’s men.
They’re in scarlet, dressed in gold,
All dollied up, it’s a joy to behold!
The king’s horses and the king’s men.

They’re not out to scare the foe,
You might think so, But oh dear no!
They’re out because they’ve gotta go
To put a little pep into the Lord Mayor’s Show!

It’s their duty, now and then,
To march down the street and then march back again,
The king’s horses and the king’s men.

**********************

Other verses added by the Nazis during the 2nd World War as a propaganda campaign were also sung (on occasion)

The King’s horses and the King’s men
Marched down to France and then marched back again
The King’s horses and the King’s men

They’re avowed to march to the Rhine
And hang out their washing on the Siegfried Line
The King’s horses and the King’s men

They couldn’t do a thing to fight the foe
You might think so, but, oh dear, no
All the men are feeling low
‘Cause they couldn’t put some pep into Churchill’s show
It’s their duty now and then
Make a glorious retreat and be decorated again
The King’s horses and the King’s men

*********************************

The Fairies  –  William Allingham (1824-1889)

Up the airy mountain Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting, For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap, And white owl’s feather.

Down along the rocky shore Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs, All night awake.

High on the hill-top The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray He’s nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music, On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen, Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget For seven years long;
When she came down again Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back Between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep, But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag leaves, Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side, Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring As dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set In his bed at night.
Up the airy mountain Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting, For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk, Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap, And white owl’s feather.

One thought on “Songs of my childhood

  1. It’s funny how someone remembering their childhood songs can make you remember your own.

    My aunt used to sing this one:

    Little man you’re cryin’, I know why you’re blue,
    Someone took your kiddy-car away,
    Better go to sleep now,
    Little man you’ve had a busy day . . .
    Johnny won your marbles, tell you what we’ll do,
    Dad will get you new ones right away,
    Better go to sleep now,
    Little man you’ve had a busy day . . .

    You’ve been playin’ soldier, the battle has been won,
    The enemy is out of sight,
    Come along there soldier, put away your gun,
    The war is over for tonight . . .

    Time you stop your schemin’, time your day was through,
    Can’t you hear the bugle softly say?
    And you should be dreamin’,
    Little man you’ve had a busy day . . .

    And another one:

    Mary had a william goat,
    A william goat, a william goat;
    Mary had a william goat,
    Its stomach was lined with zinc.

    ` It followed her to school one day,
    School one day, school one day;
    It followed her to school one day
    And drank a pint of ink.

    One day it ate an oyster can,
    Oyster can, oyster can.
    One day it ate an oyster can
    And a clothesline full of shirts.

    Shirts can do no harm inside,
    Harm inside, harm inside.
    Shirts can do no harm inside —
    But an oyster can!

    The can was filled with dynamite,
    Dynamite, dynamite;
    The can was filled with dynamite,
    Which Billy thought was chees

    A sudden flash of girl and goat,
    Girl and goat, girl and goat.
    A sudden flash of girl snd gost
    And they no more were seen.

    (Slowly)
    Mary’s souls to Heaven went,
    Heaven went, Heaven went.
    Mary’s soul to Heaven went,
    And Billy’s went too —

    (normal speed)
    Whoop de doo, de doodle doo,
    Doodle doo, Doodle doo.
    Whoop de doo de doodle doo

    (still faster!)
    Billy’s went there too!

    And my aunt always used to sing this too:

    TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE
    Melody and Text : Charles Graham, 1893)

    An old man gazed on a photograph
    In a locket he’d worn for years;
    His nephew then asked him the reason why
    That picture had caused him tears.
    “Come listen,” he said, “I will tell you, lad,
    A story that’s strange, but true!
    Your father and I, at the school one day,
    Met two little girls in blue.
    That picture is one of those girls,” he said
    And to me she was once a wife;
    I thought her unfaithful, we quarrelled lad,
    And parted that night for life.
    My fancy of jealousy wronged a heart,
    A heart that was good and true –
    For two better girls never lived than they,
    Those two little girls in blue.”

    Refrain

    Two little girls in blue, lad,
    Two little girls in blue.
    They were sisters, we were brothers
    And learned to love the two.
    And one little girl in blue, lad,
    Who won your father’s heart,
    Became your mother. I married the other,
    And now we have drifted apart.

    And this:

    Lavender’s Blue (Dilly Dilly)

    Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
    Lavender’s green
    When you are king, dilly dilly,
    I shall be queen

    Who told you so, dilly dilly,
    Who told you so?
    ‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
    That told me so

    Call up your friends, dilly, dilly
    Set them to work
    Some to the plough, dilly dilly,
    Some to the fork

    Some to the hay, dilly dilly,
    Some to thresh corn
    Whilst you and I, dilly dilly,
    Keep ourselves warm

    Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
    Lavender’s green
    When you are king, dilly dilly,
    I shall be queen

    Who told you so, dilly dilly,
    Who told you so?
    ‘Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
    That told me so.

    Ahh childhood!!!

    Like

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