Elsie Marley (William Whittaker)

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  • (Posted 2023-12-20)  CPDL #78377:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-12-20).   Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 760 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Elsie Marley
Composer: Anonymous (Traditional)
Arranger: William Whittaker
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsongFolksong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1913 Stainer & Bell
Description:  Note by Whittaker: Elsie Marley was the wife of inn-keeper Ralph Marley at Picktree, County Durham, in the 18th century. She was attractive in feature, manner, and in conversation to persons of all classes of society and sparked the inn’s success. In, 1788, after a long illness, she drowned in a pond near Bygo, presumably unable to climb out after falling in. Four years earlier, in 1784, the ballad was published by Joseph Ritson in “Bishoprick Garland.”

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Di’ ye ken Elsie Marley, honey,
The wife that sells the barley,honey;
She lost her pocket and all her money
A-back o’ the bush i' the garden, honey.

Elsie Marley’s grown so fine,
She won’t get up to serve the swine,
But lies in bed till eight or nine
And surely she does take her time.

Elsie Marley is so neat,
It’s hard for one to walk the street,
But every lad and lass ye meet
Cries “Di’ ye ken Elsie Marley, honey?”