The Twelve Days – Postscript 1 – gifts lyrics historical variations

During the course of the Twelve Days postings, several astute commenters remarked on other phrasings used for some of the gifts in versions of the song, as well as some gifts entirely replaced rather than just worded differently. Here is a historical summary of some of those variations, in the form of a table.

This is a large HTML table (long and wide). So it may not display well. I hope on the platforms where this would help that it gets embedded in a scrollable insert box, perhaps. If you have trouble with it here, please just go to the Wikipedia original where you may have more luck, as well as finding more extensive notes than have been quoted here.

From the Wikipedia article on the Twelve Days song.

For ease of comparison with Austin's 1909 version given above:
(a) differences in wording, ignoring capitalisation and punctuation, are indicated in italics (including permutations, where for example the 10th day of Austin's version becomes the 9th day here);
(b) items that do not appear at all in Austin's version are indicated in bold italics.
Source Giver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Mirth without
Mischief, 1780[5]
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
Angus, 1774–1825[10] 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
Halliwell, 1842[11] 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
Rimbault, c. 1846[12] My mother sent to me Parteridge 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[13] 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[14] 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


Caledonian, 1858[15] 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 Fifers fifing Ladies dancing Lords a-leaping


Husk, 1864[16] My true love sent to me Partridge in a pear-tree Turtle doves French hens Colley birds Gold rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Maids a-milking Drummers drumming Pipers piping Ladies dancing Lords a-leaping


Hughes, 1864[17] My true love sent to me Partridge and a pear tree Turtle-doves Fat hens Ducks quacking Hares running “and so on”
Cliftonian, 1867[18] 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[19] 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
Kittredge, 1877 (1917)[20] My true love sent to me Some part of a juniper tree/And some part of a juniper tree French hens Turtle doves Colly birds Gold rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming [forgotten by the singer] Lambs a-bleating Ladies dancing Lords a-leading Bells a-ringing
Henderson, 1879[21] 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
Barnes, 1882[22] My true love sent to me The sprig of a juniper tree Turtle doves French hens Coloured birds Gold rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Hares a-running Bulls a-roaring Men a-mowing Dancers a-dancing Fiddlers a-fiddling
Stokoe, 1888[23] 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
Kidson, 1891[24] My true love sent to me Merry partridge on a pear tree Turtle doves French hens Colley birds Gold rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Maids a-milking Drummers drumming Pipers piping Ladies dancing Lords a leaping
Scott, 1892[25] 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[26] 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
Sharp, 1905[27] My true love sent to me Goldie ring, and the part of a June apple tree Turtle doves, and the part of a mistletoe bough French hens Colley birds Goldie rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Boys a-singing Ladies dancing Asses racing Bulls a-beating Bells a-ringing
Leicester Daily Post, 1907[28] My true love sent to me A partridge upon a pear-tree Turtle doves French hens Collie dogs Gold rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Maids a milking Drummers drumming Pipers playing Ladies dancing Lords a-leaping
Austin, 1909[4] My true love sent to me Partridge in a pear tree Turtle doves French hens Calling birds Gold rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Maids a-milking Ladies dancing Lords a-leaping Pipers piping Drummers drumming
Swortzell, 1966[6] My true love gave to me Partridge in a pear tree Turtle doves French hens Collie birds Golden rings Geese a-laying Swans a-swimming Maids a-milking Pipers piping Drummers drumming Lords a-leaping Ladies dancing

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