minstrel: soule synging

Lisa and Ken Theriot lnktheriot at home.com
Wed Dec 5 14:41:01 PST 2001

Arlys wrote:

[Soul cake, a soul cake,
Good Mistress please, a soul cake,
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for him who made us all.

Anyone know how old it is?]

Depends on which version you do.  If it's the Peter, Paul and Mary 
glue-together of several unrelated nursery rhymes, not very.

Here's a slighted expanded version:

Soul, soul! for a soul cake!
I pray, good mistress, for a soul cake!
An apple or pear, or plum or a cherry.
Any good thing to make us merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
Up with the kettle, down with the pan.
Give us good alms and we'll be gone.

I have not found this dated.  Unless the language has been seriously 
updated, it's fairly modern, as is the idea of addressing someone as "Good 
Mistress" (okay, I mean "modern" in SCA terms, which is to say, 16th 
century).  It may date from right around 1600-1650 as does some of Mother 
Goose; that's what it feels like to me.  The tune I've heard associated 
with it most often is a variation on "Rose"/"Hey, ho, nobody home", etc., 
which is in one of Ravenscoft's, so it's about 1600.


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