> Folk Music > Songs > If You Will Walk With Me / The Keys of Canterbury / Paper of Pins

If You Will Walk With Me / The Keys of Canterbury

[ Roud 573 ; Ballad Index R354 ; VWML AW/6/52 , HAM/2/2/24 ; Wiltshire 127 ; trad.]

Bob Copper collected The Silver Pin from Mrs Lottie Mabel Chapman of North Waltham, Hampshire, on August 10, 1955. This BBC recording 21860 was included in 1977 on the Topic album of country singers from Hampshire and Sussex recorded by Bob Copper, Songs and Southern Breezes, which was issued to complement his same-named book.

Mrs Matty S. Dameron of Stuarts Draft, Augusta County, VA sang Paper of Pins to Maud Karpeles on August 19, 1955. This recording was included in 2017 on the Musical Traditions anthology of historic recordings of Appalachian singer and musicians 1927-1955, When Cecil Left the Mountain. Mike Yates and Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

First sighted as The Keys of Canterbury in Halliwell's Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales of 1849, though it may be slightly older. It is sometimes titled Madam, Will You Walk?.

Brian Mooney, Glen Tomasetti and/or Martyn Wyndham-Read sang Paper of Pins on their 1965 Australian album Will Ye Go Lassie Go?.

Roy and Val Bailey sang The Keys of Canterbury in 1968 on their album with Leon Rosselson, Oats & Beans & Kangaroos.

Vulcan's Hammer sang The Keys of Canterbury in 1973 on their album True Hearts and Sound Bottoms.

Johnny Doughty sang Marry Me at home in Brighton, Sussex, on October 27, 1976 to Mike Yates and Camilla Saunders. This recording was released in the following year on his Topic album Round Rye Bay for More and in 1998 with the title Will You Marry Me? on the Topic anthology We've Received Orders to Sail (The Voice of the People Volume 12). Tony Engle commented in the album notes:

Although versions of Marry Me only appeared at the beginning of the 19th century—with titles such as The Keys of Heaven / Canterbury, Madam Will You Walk or The Little Row of Pins—it would seem certain that the song is based on an earlier pattern, namely the Elizabethan Stage Jig, a short dialogue song and dance performed by two or three characters. A version collected in 1905 by Henry Hammond, from Mrs. Gulliver of Combe Florey, in Somerset, would seem to confirm this. Hammond’s version is included by Frank Purslow in the book The Wanton Seed and Mr. Purslow notes, “This version is essentially intended for performance. It was sung, presumably, by three characters. At intervals throughout the song … dancing … took place.”

Robin and Barry Dransfield sang a variant called My Man John in 1977 on their Free Reed album Popular to Contrary Belief.

Paul and Liz Davenport sang The Keys of Canterbury on their 2006 Hallamshire Traditions CD Under the Leaves. They commented in their liner notes:

No arranged marriage this. Here the lady is quite clear what makes a lasting relationship and, in her firmly stated opinion, it isn't money. We learned this originally at school probably thanks to the BBC's “Singing Together” series in the 1950s. There are some other versions still in oral tradition in the rugby playing fraternity but these are a little more explicit.

Marilyn Tucker and Paul Wilson sang Blue Muslin in 2008 on their CD of traditional songs from Devon and Cornwall from the collection of Sabine Baring-Gould, Dead Maid's Land. They noted:

This song is known to thousands by one or other of it's many titles—The Keys of Canterbury, The Keys of Heaven, The Paper of Pins. Published widely in the 19th Century, this version, from John Woodrich of Thrushleton [printed in Baring-Gould's Songs of the West], comes with a fresh twist.

Show of Hands sang The Keys of Canterbury in 2009 on their CD Arrogance Ignorance and Greed. A live recording from the following year was published on the festival CD Cambridge Folk Festival 2010.

Steeleye Span sang Madam Will You Walk on their 2009 CD Cogs, Wheels and Lovers.

Brian Peters sang The Devil's Courtship on his 2010 CD Gritstone Serenade. He noted:

Who would have thought that the romantic dialogue of the well-known Keys of Canterbury, the comic song Will You Marry Me? and the innocent children's ditty Paper of Pins would all have their roots in a sinister Scots ballad in which the Devil—for once—succeeds in outsmarting (or at least, bribing) a woman and carrying her off to Hell. The Devil's Courtship comes from the 1826 Andrew Crawfurd collection, but was the only ballad of the fourteen that Crawfurd collected from Ms. Mary Storie that F.J. Child chose not to include in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, apparently because the refrain alters from verse to verse, and he didn't approve of that kind of nonsense. In another version collected around the same time, the singer gave a spoken introduction explaining the diabolic nature of the seducer, and concluded his tale: “And aff he flew wi' her! Noo, lasses, ye seen ye maun aye mind that…” In the Crawfurd text it's the cloven foot—always a bad sign—that lets the cat out of the bag. There was no tune, so I made one op, using the first line of Keys of Canterbury as a starting point.

Henry and Robert Hammond collected Oh! Madam I Will Give to Thee in June 1905 from Jane Gulliford (Gulliver) of Combe Florey [VWML HAM/2/2/24] . Rob Williams sang this version in 2012 on his album of Jane Gulliford's songs, Outstanding Natural Beauty. Henry Hammond commented:

The song differs in tune and words from the Cheshire I will give you the Keys of Heaven (English County Songs, p. 32). Mrs. Gulliver tells me that at intervals throughout the song, dancing, to the polka step, used to take place. Perhaps these intervals are marked by the chorus, “Old Man John“, which would be sung by the dancers and onlookers together or by the onlookers only.

If You Will Walk With Me was collected by Alfred Williams at Tetbury, of Mrs Russell, late of Crudwell. It was published in his book Folk Songs of the Upper Thames (1923) in which he commented: “The version is evidently of great age, and a good specimen.”

Rosie Hood recorded If You Will Walk With Me as a bonus track for the Kickstarter supporters of her 2017 RootBeat CD, The Beautiful & the Actual.

Lyrics

Mrs Matty S Dameron. sings Paper of Pins

'Now I'll give to you a paper of pins
That is the way our love begins,
If you will marry, marry, marry,
If you will marry me.”

“I won't accept the paper of pins
If that is the way our love begins,
For I won't marry, marry, marry,
For I won't marry you.”

“Then I'll give you the keys of my heart
For our love will never part,
If you will marry, marry, marry,
If you will marry me.”

“Then I won't accept the keys of your heart
'Cause our love will never part,
For I won't marry, marry you,
For I won't marry you.”

“Then I'll give you the keys of my desk
Gold and silver by the best,
If you will marry, marry, marry,
If you will marry me.”

“I will accept the keys of your desk
Gold and silver by the best,
For I will marry, marry, marry,
If you will marry you.”

“Ah, ah, ah, that is all,
I will not marry you at all.
For I won't marry, marry, marry,
For I won't marry you.”

Johnny Doughty sings Marry Me

Now I'm a young sailor, I've come across the sea,
I've come to merry England to marry you.
Will you marry, marry, marry, marry?
Will you marry me?

Now if you're a young sailor, you've come across the sea,
You've come to merry England to marry me.
I won't marry, marry, marry, marry
I won't marry you.

Now if I was to buy you a nice string of pearls
That you could flirt with the haughty girls,
Then will you marry, marry, marry, marry?
Will you marry me?

Now if you was to buy me a nice string of pearls
That I could flirt with the haughty girls,
I won't marry, marry, marry, marry
I won't marry you.

Now if I was to buy you a nice buck nigger
To wait upon you and to cook your dinner,
Will you marry, marry, marry, marry?
Will you marry me?

Now if you was to buy me a nice buck nigger
To wait upon me and to cook my dinner,
Then I won't marry, marry, marry, marry
I won't marry you.

Now if I was to give you the keys of my heart
And say that we will never part,
Will you marry, marry, marry, marry?
Will you marry me?

Now if you was to give me the keys of your heart
And say that we will never part,
I won't marry, marry, marry, marry
I won't marry you.

Now if I was to give you the keys of my chest
And every penny that I possess,
Then will you marry, marry, marry, marry?
Will you marry me?

Now if you was to give me the keys of your chest
And every penny that I'd possess,
Then I'll marry, marry, marry, marry?
Then I'll marry you.

Now ha, ha, ha, now ain't it damn funny,
She don't want me, but she wants my bloomin' money.
I won't marry, marry, marry, marry,
I won't marry you.

Rob Williams sings Oh! Madam I Will Give to Thee

“Oh! madam, I will give to thee a new silken gown,
With five and thirty flounces a­bobbing to the ground,
If you'll be my love, my joy and my dear,
If you'll go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“No, indeed, I won't accept of you new silken gown,
With five and thirty flounces a­bobbing to the ground,
I won't be your love, nor your joy, nor your dear,
I won't go a­walking with you anywhere.”

“Oh! madam, I will give thee a little set of bells,
For to call up your servants, when you're not very well,
If you'll be my love, my joy and my dear,
If you'll go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“No, indeed, I won't accept of your little set of bells,
For to call up my servants, when I'm not very well,
I won't be your love, nor your joy, nor your dear,
I won't go a­walking with you anywhere.”

“Old man John, what can the matter be?
You see, I love this lady but she won't love me;
She won't be my love, nor my joy, nor my dear,
She won't go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“Oh! you court her, master, you court her never fear,
For she'll be your love and your joy and your dear;
Yes, she'll be your love and your joy and your dear,
And she'll go a­walking with you anywhere.”

“Oh! madam, I will give thee a cushion full of pins,
To pin up the baby's white musselins,
If you'll be my love, my joy and my dear,
If you'll go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“No, indeed, I won't accept of your cushion full of pins,
To pin up my baby's white musselins,
I won't be your love, nor your joy, nor your dear,
I won't go a­walking with you anywhere.”

“Oh! madam, I will give thee a little greyhound,
Of every hair upon his back 'tis worth a thousand pound,
If you'll be my love, my joy and my dear,
If you'll go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“No indeed I will not accept of your little greyhound,
If every hair upon his back be worth a thousand pound,
I won't be your love, nor your joy, nor your dear,
I won't go a­walking with you anywhere.”

“Old man John, what can the matter be?
You see, I love this lady but she won't love me;
She won't be my love, nor my joy, nor my dear,
She won't go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“Oh! you court her, master, you court her never fear,
For she'll be your love and your joy and your dear;
Yes, she'll be your love and your joy and your dear,
And she'll go a­walking with you anywhere.”

“Oh! madam, I will give to thee the keys of my heart,
To lock it up forever and nevermore depart,
If you'll be my love, my joy and my dear,
If you'll go a­walking with me anywhere.”

“Yes, indeed, I will accept of the keys to thy heart,
I'll lock it up forever and nevermore depart,
For if you'll be my love, my joy and my dear,
Oh! I'll go a­walking with you anywhere.”

Steeleye Span sing Madam Will You Walk?

When you could you would not,
Now you would you shall not.

“O will you accept of me a new silver pin
To wrap up your hair and your fine muslin?
Madam will you walk, Madam will you talk with me?”

“O no, I won't accept a new silver pin
To wrap up my hair and my fine muslin,
Neither will I walk, neither will I talk with you.”

“And will you accept the key to my heart
To bind us together and never, never part?
Madam will you walk, Madam will you talk with me?”

When you could you would not,
Now you would you shall not.

“No, I won't accept the key to your heart
To bind us together and never, never part.
Neither will I walk, neither will I talk with you.”

“And will you accept the key to my desk
And all the money that I possess?
Madam will you walk, Madam will you talk with me?”

“Yes, I will accept the key to your desk
And all the money that you possess,
Yes, I will walk, yes I will walk with you.”

When you could you would not,
Now you would you shall not.

Rosie Hood sings If You Will Walk With Me

[Youth:] “My dear, I will give you a fine beaver hat,
Four red feathers, and a streamer down your back,
If you will walk, walk with me, my dear,
If you will walk with me.”

[Maiden:] “I will not accept your fine beaver hat,
Four red feathers, and a streamer down my back,
Neither will I walk, walk with you, my dear,
Neither will I walk with you.”

[Youth:] “My dear, I will give you a hundred yards of silk,
That you may have a train along the ground,
If you will walk, walk with me, my dear,
If you will walk with me.”

[Maiden:] “I will not accept your hundred yards of silk,
That I may have a train along the ground,
Neither will I walk, walk with you, my dear,
Neither will I walk with you.”

[Youth:] “My dear, I will give you a coach and six,
Six black horses as black as any pitch,
If you will walk, walk with me, my dear,
If you will walk with me.”

[Maiden:] “I will not accept your coach and six,
Six black horses as black as any pitch,
Neither will I walk, walk with you, my dear,
Neither will I walk with you.”

[Youth:] “My dear, I will give you the keys of my heart,
To lock us together that we may never part.
If you will walk, walk with me, my dear,
If you will walk with me.”

[Maiden:] “Then I will accept the keys of your heart,
To lock us together that we may never part.
And will I walk, walk with you, my dear,
And I will walk with you.”