Cylinder of the Month

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For February 2000 . . .

This month:   An old love song for your valentine
From 1891, the delightful Third Verse of Mary and John, or, The Lovers' Quarrel sung by Will White.

The Third Verse of Mary and John
Company New Jersey Phonograph Company
Cylinder # Unknown
Category Sentimental ballad
Title The Third Verse of Mary and John, or, The Lovers' Quarrel
Performed by Will White
Circa 1890-1891
Announcement "The following selection, 'The Third Verse of Mary and John, or, The Lovers' Quarrel', sung by Mr. Will White."

A charming ballad well sung by White; too bad we don't have the first two verses on record.

To hear The Third Verse of Mary and John  —

To hear an excerpt   —  
For help playing these sounds, click here.

An 1892 record catalog of the New Jersey Phonograph Company lists 14 "Vocal solos by the English Minstrel Vocalist Mr. Will. White". Inauspiciously, next to this listing is a handwritten order: "Give us these by Spencer & Piano: just as well". White apparently was not able to build a sufficient recording niche for himself amid the likes of other pioneering personalities such as George J. Gaskin, Len Spencer, Dan W. Quinn, John W. Myers, and later, Will F. Denny. The next available catalog, from 1894, of the successor United States Phonograph Company does not list White, and he apparently did not record for Edison. Unfortunate, for this recording makes it clear Will White had the knack.

Mary and John was written by Sir Oswald Stoll (1866-1942) and originally published in 1890. The lyrics, if you wish to follow along, are printed below. Two arrangements on sheet music with slightly differing lyrics are also available:

Mary and John sheet music
Arranged by Emma R. Steiner.
Mary and John sheet music
Arranged by M. W. Forrest.
(Interestingly, neither of these arrangements mentions Stoll as the original composer.)

The lyrics and sheet music were located, through The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. Many thanks and much appreciation to this fine online collection, which contains over 29,000 pieces of popular American music from 1780 to 1960. A quick search of their fully indexed collection turned up the two arrangements of Mary and John along with full scans of the sheet music. The Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music is a part of Special Collections at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of The Johns Hopkins University.

Mary and John, or, The Lovers' Quarrel
First verse.
Mary and John met in a distant old village, 
Fell deep in love, and were engag'd to be wed; 
But one fine day, up went the nose of sweet Mary, 
At what her John of some other girl had said; 
John only smiled, he was much given to teasing; 
And some old song softly he started to sing; 
Mary with rage ev'ry moment grew warmer, 
And at his feet she threw their engagement ring. 

"I won't be your wife", said Mary, 
"Thank goodness for that", said John. 
"I hate such a brute", said Mary, 
"But other girls don't", said John. 
"I'm going back to the dairy", 
"Perhaps it's as well", said he. 
"But I hope you will come to the wedding 
Of Mollie Malone and me!"

Second verse.
Mary turn'd round, and just went a step or two from him, 
Then looked at John, thinking he'd ask her to stay; 
For she felt sure he was already repenting; 
But all he said was, "Why don't you go away." 
Out came his pipe, soon clouds of smoke he was puffing 
Into the air, stretch'd out full length on the green; 
Mary stood by, somehow her heart was nigh breaking -- 
Had John become tired of his village queen?

"Well, am I to go?", said Mary, 
"Don't care a rap", said John. 
"To spite you I won't", said Mary, 
"Oh, may be you won't", said John. 
"Why are you so contrary!  
I'll drown myself now", said she. 
Said John, "On your way dear, Mary, 
Send Mollie Malone to me."

Third verse.
Tears filled her eyes, as with her apron she cover'd 
Her pretty face, heaving a heart-rending sigh; 
All now seem'd o'er, what was the use of her waiting; 
Just turning 'round she softly said, "John good-bye". 
Then like a dart, up sprang the young fellow all smiling, 
Touched to the heart by such a tender fare-well, 
And kissed the tears from off the sweet face of his Mary, 
Told her the tale fond lovers always tell.

Then Johnnie, he cuddled Mary, 
Mary she cuddled John. 
He vow'd that a fairer maiden, 
He never had gaz'd upon. 
Then Johnnie persuaded Mary 
To rest her head down on his breast, 
So with that I'll conclude the story, 
No doubt you will guess the rest.

— This cylinder of the month is from the collection of  The Library of Congress —


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