THE PLAY-PARTY IN INDIANA - online book

Folk-Songs and Games with Descriptive Introduction, Notes, Sheeet music & Lyrics

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The Play-Party in Indiana.
87
c.-d. Mrs. Gomme (Trad. Games, vol. ii, pp. 149-167) gives seven melodies to this, and forty-eight variants, yet no one of either the tunes or the rhymes is the same as that given above. The name is usually, "Water," and that is probably the earlier form.
Mrs. Gomme. Children's Singing Games, vol. ii, pp. 20-21. The music and words of this resemble the game in Ripley County more than the other English variants do.
Mr. Newell prints one variant. (Games and Songs, p. 70) but gives no melody to the song.
John Hornby: The Joyous Book of Singing Games, p. 23.
Mr. Newell makes only one comment and that is, "A ballad situation has been united with a dance-rhyme."
Mrs. Gomme's interpretation of it involves a number of questionable points. She considers the name to have been "Water" in the earlier form. Further, she would believe that this was not originally a surname but had to do with the ceremony of "sprinkling in a pan." She says58 (Trad. Games, vol. ij, p. 174) "I prefer to suggest that 'water' got attached as a surname by simple transposition."
She points out that the relation of the marriage ceremony and water worship or the rites performed with water, among pre-Celtic peoples find more than a parallel in this game. (Trad. Games, vol. ii, pp. 176-7). The sprinkling or pouring of water as a part of the marriage ceremony is, she considers, the origin of this. Further evidence of great age, she finds in the words, "Look to the East and look to the West," which are in nine var­iants, "Choose for the best and choose for the worst." This is thought to have come from the same old marriage formula which was preserved in the vernacular portion of the ancient English marriage service.59
The words, "seven years after," are also believed to be signifi­cant, for ''a year and a day;" and ''seven years" are the two periods for which the popular mind regards marriage binding.60 Further, "the popular belief that a man's cycle of life is not complete until he is the father of a daughter, who, in her turn, shall have a son"61 is shown, Mrs. Gomme thinks, in the line, "First a son and then a daughter." "The 'kissing together' of the married couple is the
58  Many variants have the words, "Lictle Sally Water, Sprinkle in a pan."
59   Palgrave. English Commonwealth. Vol. II, p. 136.
60  Mrs. Gomme. Trad. Games. Vol. ii, p. 178.
61   Ibid.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III