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Of All the Birds
; Ballad Index
; Thomas Ravenscroft]
Tim Hart and Maddy Prior sang Of All the Birds in 1971 on their third duo album, Summer Solstice. Maddy Prior returned to the song in 2012 when she, Hannah James and Giles Lewin sang it on their CD 3 for Joy.
Iona and Peter Opie comment in their Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd ed., 1997, p. 97 (rhyme 50)) on the first verse:
These lines form the opening of a song in Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia or The Seconde part of Musicks melodie, published in 1609. James Orchard Haliwell, The Nursery Rhymes of England (1842) collected the text version in Lincolnshire as as he remarks ‘it is singular that it should have come down to us from oral tradition.’ A writer in Notes & Queries (1915) inquired after ‘an amusing old Yorkshire song, believed to be called The Owl, containing a line—“Of all the gay birds that e'er I did see” ’; and Williams [Folk-Songs of the Upper Thames] found the song still being sung beside the upper reaches of the Thames. Furthermore, the burden of the song, Nose, nose, jolly red nose, which already by 1632 was sung independently, has also survived to the present day.
Sound Tradition sang Of All the Birds in 2017 on their CD Well Met, My Friend. They noted:
Ravenscroft was a collector and writer of songs; this one appeared in his collection Deuteromelia, published in 1609. It seems also to have been popular as a nursery rhyme. It is unusual that the owl should receive such praise as it was considered a bird of ill omen in Britain at this period.
|The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes||Tim Hart and Maddy Prior sing Of All the Birds|
Of all the gay birds that e'er I did see
Of all the birds that ever I see
Tu whit — Tu whoo,
Nose, nose, jolly red nose,
Nose, nose, nose, nose,