Open downloadable pdf file:Begone_from_the_Window
Begone From the Window was published in the Old Cornwall Journal in 1927 from the singing of Jim Thomas. Thomas had been a point of contact for folk song and dance collector, Cecil Sharp when he visited Cornwall in 1913 and 1914. Although only acknowledged by Sharp as “one of his singers”, Thomas was a folklore researcher in his own right as well as being a singer. Thomas introduced Sharp to traditional singers from Camborne, Redruth and Helston and personally provided him with 15 of the 66 songs taken down in Cornwall. Three of Thomas’s songs were arranged and published in the Old Cornwall Journal and eight were included in Ralph Dunstan’s Dialect and folk Songs. He contributed a further 14 articles to the journal on games, rhymes and folklore and was often cited by other contributors.
This is a Cornish version of a song known across Europe and an ancestry in the English-speaking world going back to at least the 16th Century. A tune called “Goe from my Window” written by Thomas Morely is included in a collection of late Elizabethan music donated to Cambridge University by Viscount Fitzwilliam in 1816. The collection is known as the Fitzwilliam Virginal book but was not given a title originally. It appears in one of the earliest folk song collections, William Chappell’s “Popular Music of the Olden Time” published in 1838. Chappell provides two variations on the tune, one minor and one major and discusses the Elizabethan and broadside ballad origins of melody and lyrics. He provides an interesting but tenuous link to “Francis Tregian The Younger” of Probus and suggests that he may have been in possession of the manuscripts at one stage. True or otherwise this is unlikely to have impacted upon Cornish tradition as Tregian spent much of his life abroad.
A variety of lyrics, mostly following the same cuckold theme, appear in later collections including Barrett’s English Folk Songs in 1891 and Baring Gould’s Songs of the West edited by Cecil Sharp in 1905. Baring Gould obtained his version from John Woodrich who had heard it an ale-house near Bideford in 1864, “from an old man, who recited a tale, in which the song comes in snatches”. Whilst the words provided by Jas. Thomas for the Old Cornwall Journal are not particularly unique the tune is quite different from the Elizabethan “Goe from the Window” and those collected elsewhere.
Begone from as collected by the Racca Project 1995-97
See Fooch Vol 1 Kresen Kernow Shelf number: 780.14237
Available Trevada Music https://www.trevadamusic.co.uk/music/other/cornish/fooch-1