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The Bone Lace Weaver

from Roots&Branches by GreenMatthews

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We heard this song performed by a floor spot at The Bothy Folk Club in Southport and instantly decided to plagiarise it (apparently it only counts as research if you steal material from multiple sources.) The song was originally a poem - in this case written by Leonard Wheatcroft of Ashover in the year 1650. Given the time in which it was written, it’s a surprisingly feminist song. The song also features Sophie's baroque musette - a small 18th century bagpipe of the French court that dies almost overnight with the French Revolution.

lyrics

I am a maid new come to town
but long I will not not tarry
I have but two years for to stay
and then I think to marry
But if a brisk young man come in
and he is no deceiver
To court him then I will begin
Like a bone lace weaver

If that he be a gentleman
and vows he'll love me kindly
then for him I'll do what I can
and strive to please him finely.
Or if he be a yeoman good,
and to me no deceiver,
then I will strive to please his mood
Like a bone-lace weaver.

We get our living with our hands
and have our wits about us.
We hope to purchase house & lands
though young men they do flout us.
But let them all say what they can
We'll trust in no deceiver,
We'll sing you songs of peg and nan,
Like a bone-lace weaver.

We keep our hands both white and neat
our pretty lace to handle,
We sing our sonnets all complete
By daylight or a candle,
And when our task we ended have
Our Mistress shows such fancy
We sport and sing, that all do ring,
O Brave Bone-lace weaver.

And thus we lead most merry lives
We heed no young mens saying
We scorn for to be married wives
We'll keep our fingers playing.
We'll wear brave laces on our heads
We scorn as yeat a beaver,
We'll work apace brave Flanders lace
O brave Bone-lace weaver.

credits

from Roots&Branches, released September 11, 2019
Chris: guitar
Sophie: voice, baroque musette

Lyrics Leonard Wheatcroft (1627-1707)
Music Chris Green (1977-not dead yet)

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GreenMatthews Coventry, UK

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews play English traditional songs and tunes in a thoroughly 21st-century kick-ass style. Using a blend of ancient instruments such as cittern, English bagpipes and shawm as well as modern folk instruments such as guitar, flute and piano accordion, they breathe new life into material from hundreds of years ago, making it fresh and relevant for a modern audience. ... more

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