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058Cover.png058Cover.png  [058Notation]


I live in North Wales and one morning last summer
A letter informed me my Uncle was dead
And also requested I'd come up to London
As he'd left me a large sum of money it said
Of course I determined on making the journey
And to book myself by the first class was fain
Though had I gone third I had never encountered
The charming young widow I met on the train.

The widow and I side by side sat together
The carriage containing ourselves and no more
When the silence was broken by my fair companion
Who enquired the time by the watch that I wore
I of course satisfied her and then conversation
Was freely indulged in by both till my brain
Fairly reeled with excitement I grew so enchanted
With the charming young widow I met on the train.

We became so familiar I ventured to ask her
How old was the child she held at her breast
Ah Sir she responded and into tears bursting
Her infant still closer convulsively pressed
When I think of the child I am well nigh distracted
It's father, my husband, Oh my heart breaks with pain
She, choking with sobs, leaned her head on my waistcoat
Did the charming young widow I met on the train.

By this time the train had arrived at a station
Within a few miles of the great one in town
When my charmer exclaimed as she looked through the window
Good gracious alive, there goes Mr Brown
He's my late husbands brother, dear sir would you kindly,
My best beloved child for a moment sustain
Of course I complied and off on the platform
Tripped the charming young widow I met on the train.

Three minute elapsed when the guard's whistle sounded
The train began moving, no widow appeared
I bawled out Stop! Stop! But they paid no attention
With a spurt and a jerk, starting off as I feared
In this horrid dilemma, I sought for the hour
But my watch, hah! Where was it and where was my chain?
My purse too, my ticket, my gold pencil-case all gone
Oh the artful young widow I met on the train.

While I was my loss thus so deeply bewailing
The train again stopped and I "tickets please" heard
So I told the collector while dandling the infant
The loss I'd sustained but he doubted my word
He called more officials a lot gathered round me
Uncovered the child, oh! How shall I explain?
For behold 'twas not baby 'twas only a dummy
Oh the crafty young widow I met on the train.

Satisfied I'd been robbed, they allowed my departure
Though of course I'd to settle my fare the next day
And I wish now to council young men from the country
Lest they should be served in a similar way
Beware of young widows you meet on the railway
Who lean on your shoulder, whose tears fall like rain
Look out for your pockets in case they resemble
The charming young widow I met on the train.

 

Sources (texts, music) & Publishing data

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Origin Music Hall
Source Title The Charming Young Widow I Met on the Train
Bargery Number 058
Roud 3754
Earliest Date 1863
Evidence for Earliest Date E. Wyn James says "In the August 1863 "the song was being presented at the Oxford Music Hall in London as a new item in the repertoire of...Billy Randall" [E. Wyn James, 'Trains and Ballads in Nineteenth-Century Wales', in Songs of People on the Move, ed. Thomas A. McKean, BASIS: Ballads and Songs - International Studies, vol. 8 (Trier, Germany: WVT Wissenshaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012), 104 24. ISBN 978-3-86821-411-6]
Latest Date 1863
Evidence for Latest Date Publication date suggested by the British Library
Comments on Song The naive country man was a stock figure of fun. The idea of a Welsh countryman would have been inherently comical to a London audience. The choice of north wales as the hero's origin may have been suggested by the melody - a tune which is suited to comic verse.
Source of Text British Library. Shelfmark H.1790.a.23.)
Author Cove, William Henry
Music (Given or Suggested) Tune given as 'Jenny Jones' (a.k.a 'Cader Idris')
Source of Music As text
Composer Parry, John a.k.a. "Bardd Alaw" (1776-1851)
Performer Randall, 'Billy' (1826-98)
Printer or Publisher Duff & Hodgson
Where Printed London
Variant Set There are at least three versions of this song. bar058 beginning "I live in north Wales"; bar521~Taith Y Cardi O Landyssul, a welsh macaronic text ,and a version in the National Library of Scotland [Shelfmark L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071)] beginning "I live in Falkirk" and which place names apart is the same as bar058. and a version in the National Library of Scotland [Shelfmark L.C.Fol.178.A.2(071)] beginning "I live in Falkirk" and which - place names apart- is the same as bar058. A closely related song bar520 also called 'The Charming Young widow I met in the Train' and beginning "Whilst in south wales" tells a story with the significant difference that no crime is committed and that a dead baby is left with the hero.

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