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Location: Staveley, Derbyshire, England (SK4375) Year: Published 1946 Time of Occurrence: [Not given] Collective Name: [Not given]
The Old Tup and its Ritual
Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, 1946, Vo.5, No.1, pp.26-27
Here comes me and our old lass,
Short of money, short of brass.
Give us a pint and let us sup,
Then we will show you our old tup.[MIDI music sound file] [ABC music notation]
As I was going to Derby.
Upon a market day,
I saw the finest tup. sir.
That ever was fed on hay,
Fay-a-lay, laddigo lay
The horns that grew on this tup's head
They grew so mighty high.
That every time it shook its head
They rattled against the sky.
The hair that grew on this tup's back
It grew so mighty high,
That eagles built their nests in it,
And their young ones did cry.
The butcher that stuck this tup
Saw the danger of his life;
He was up to his knees in blood,
Calling out for a longer knife.
And all the men of Derby
Came begging for his tail,
To ring St. George's passing-bell
At the top of Derby Jail.
And all the women of Derby
Came begging for his ears,
To make them leather aprons
To lasts them forty years.
And all the boys of Derby
Came begging for his eyes,
To make a pair of footballs,
For they were just the size.
And now my song is ended,
I have no more to say;
So please will you give us a New Year's gift
And let us go away.
"The Staveley variant. Contributed by Mrs. Wragg, a young Staveley woman. She wrote out the words and tune, picking it out on the piano, but she was shy about singing it. She said she had known the performance all her life. The boys generally used a real sheep's head fastened on a pole, the actor being covered with a rug; but she can remember, a long time ago, they had a real sheep-skin and a ram's head with horns."
This text is reproduced with the kind permission of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
26th July 2004 - Scanned, OCRed and encoded by Peter Millington