Magpies Mix Tape: Soulin’

By Shane

I’m a country lad – who’s lived on farms with fruit trees most of my life … we were always told hallowe’en was based on the ‘souling rhyme’.

Poor Men and children would go knocking door to door on the rich folks house and sing to each – for a soul cake (like a hot cross bun) or strong beer. It’s been a folk tune for hundreds of years and changes slightly from place to place.

A soul, a soul, a soul cake,
Hey, good missus, a soul cake,
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him that made us all.

Go down into your cellar and see what you can find
If your barrel is not empty we’ll hope you will prepare(?)
We’ll hope you will prepare(?) with your apples and strong beer
We’ll come no more a-souling until this time next year.

The lanes are very dirty, my shoes are very thin,
I’ve got a little pocket to put a penny in.
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’ penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’ penny, then God bless you.

I think it was Catholic – giving to Peter was to do with fleecing people for building churches! 

Anyway, when I was a kid in the ’70 it had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with our dads getting wrecked on scrumpy while in charge of the kids for the evening.

You will find every county in England has a different idea of the soulin’ song and what was served to the peasants who came knocking. I find it fascinating, you’ll even find my own rhyme before the ‘Spill monster movie.

“A Soul Cake,
A Spill Cake,
A Music Monster Thrill Cake…

I Pray You Good Woman…

An Apple,
A Pear,
Some Wine or a Penny…

Any Good Thing To Make Us All Merry”.

My Great Grandmother was the village keeper of all things traditional – mostly to do with food and drink.. but as she couldn’t read or write – lots of the recipes died with her – but the funniest thing about her obituary in the local paper was the sadness in the loss of all the wine and cider techniques – the writer may well have headlined it “the brewery has gone to heaven”.

Here’s our new Magpies’ Mixtape celebrating Day of the Dead/All Hallows Eve/All Souls

Shane is an artist who lives and works in the UK. He creates Idiosyncratic images often based on the Norwich or Norfolk landscape – using a contemporary collage technique mixing photography, design and ink work – the original works are then heat-pressed in sections onto canvas to produce a unique final result.

Most original works are available from https://www.thereddotgallery.com/Artists/shane/ , exhibitions in East Anglia, UK, or directly from the artist.

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