There are many variations of this song in which the last four objects are arranged in a different order (for example—twelve lords a-leaping, eleven ladies (or dames a-) dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummers drumming). At least one version has "ten fiddlers fiddling," and another has "nine ladies waiting." Still another version alters the fourth gift to "four mockingbirds."
The text of the earliest printed version in English (as reproduced in the Iona and Peter Opies' The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes), is as follows:
The twelfth day of Christmas, | My true love sent to me | Twelve lords a-leaping, | Eleven pipers piping, | Ten ladies dancing, | Nine drummers drumming, | Eight maids a-milking, | Seven swans a-swimming, | Six geese a-laying, | Five gold rings, | Four colly birds, | Three French hens, | Two turtle doves, and | A partridge in a pear tree.
There are some regional variants of the verb in the opening line of each verse. In the United States the true love sometimes "gave" the gifts to the singer. In the British version, the true love "sent" the gifts to the singer, but "said" is also found (for example as sung by Kate Rusby).
In American versions of the song, the fourth day's gift is often four "calling" birds instead of "colly" birds, a British term for the European blackbird. William S. and Ceil Baring-Gould suggest that the “the presents sent of the first seven days were all birds—-the “Five gold rings” were not actually gold rings, but refer to the five golden rings of the ringed pheasant." Others suggest the gold rings refer to "five goldspinks"—a goldspink being an old name for a Goldfinch; or even canaries.
A minor variant includes the singing of "golden" rather than "gold" rings, to avoid having to stretch "gold" into two syllables ("go-old").
|Halliwell, 1842||My mother sent to me||Partridge in a pear-tree||Turtle doves||French hens||Canary birds||Gold rings||Geese a laying||Swans a swimming||Ladies dancing||Lords a leaping||Ships a sailing||Ladies spinning||Bells ringing|
|Halliwell, 1853||My true love sent to me||Partridge in a pear tree||Turtle doves||French hens||Colly birds||Gold rings||Geese a laying||Swans a swimming||Maids a milking||Drummers drumming||Pipers piping||Ladies dancing||Lords a leaping|
|Salmon, 1855||My true-love sent to me||Partridge upon a pear-tree||Turtle-doves||French hens||Collie birds||Gold rings||Geese a-laying||Swans a-swimming||Maids a-milking||Drummers drumming||Pipers piping||Ladies dancing||Lords a-leaping|
|Cliftonian, 1867||My true-love sent to me||Partridge in a pear-tree||Turtle-doves||French hens||Colley birds||Gold rings||Ducks a-laying||Swans swimming||Hares a-running||Ladies dancing||Lords a-leaping||Badgers baiting||Bells a-ringing|
|Clark, 1875||My true love sent to me||Partridge in a pear tree||Turtle doves||French hens||Colour'd birds||Gold rings||Geese laying||Swans swimming||Maids milking||Drummers drumming||Pipers piping||Ladies dancing||Lords leaping|
|Henderson, 1879||My true love sent to me||Partridge upon a pear tree||Turtle doves||French hens||Curley birds||Gold rings||Geese laying||Swans swimming||Maids milking||Drummers drumming||Pipers piping||---||---|
|Stokoe, 1888||My true love sent to me||Partridge on a pear tree||Turtle doves||French hens||Colly birds||Gold rings||Geese a-laying||Swans a-swimming||Maids a-milking||Drummers drumming||Pipers piping||Ladies dancing||Lords a leaping|
|Scott, 1892||My true love brought to me||Very pretty peacock upon a pear tree||Turtle-doves||French hens||Corley birds||GOLD RINGS||Geese a-laying||Swans a-swimming||Maids a-milking||Pipers playing||Drummers drumming||Lads a-louping||Ladies dancing|
|Cole, 1900||My true love sent to me||Parteridge upon a pear tree||Turtle doves||French hens||Colly birds||Gold rings||Geese a laying||Squabs a swimming||Hounds a running||Bears a beating||Cocks a crowing||Lords a leaping||Ladies a dancing|
Other articles related to "variations, variation":
... Carl Czerny wrote Variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" for piano and orchestra or piano and string quartet, his Op. 73 Niccolò Paganini wrote a set of variations on this tune for violin and orchestra in 1828, under the title Maestosa Sonata Sentimentale Henryk Wieniawski ...
... Other variations on this myth state that Coatlicue, the earth goddess, was the mother of the four Tezcatlipocas and the Tzitzimitl ... The most popular variation including Coatlicue depicts her giving birth first to the Tzitzimitl ... Further variations depict the ball of feathers as being the father of Huitzilopochtli or the father of Quetzalcoatl and sometimes Xolotl ...
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Famous quotes containing the word variations:
“I may be able to spot arrowheads on the desert but a refrigerator is a jungle in which I am easily lost. My wife, however, will unerringly point out that the cheese or the leftover roast is hiding right in front of my eyes. Hundreds of such experiences convince me that men and women often inhabit quite different visual worlds. These are differences which cannot be attributed to variations in visual acuity. Man and women simply have learned to use their eyes in very different ways.”
—Edward T. Hall (b. 1914)