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52 Folk Songs: Green

by Phil Edwards

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As I roved out one morning fair, One May morning betimes, I spied a maid, from home had strayed Just as the sun did shine. “What makes you rise so soon, my dear, Your journey to pursue? Your pretty little feet they do tread so neat, Strike off the morning dew.” “I'm going to feed my father's flock, His young and tender lambs, That over hills and over dales Lie waiting for their dams.” “But stay, but stay, you handsome maid, And rest a moment here. For there is none save you alone That I do love so dear.” “How gloriously the sun does shine, How pleasant is the air. I'd rather rest on my true love's breast Than any other where.” “Now I am thine and thou art mine, No man shall uncomfort thee. We'll join our hands in wedded bands And married we shall be.”
Master Kilby 02:54
In the heat of the day when the sun shines so freely I met Master Kilby so fine and so gay. Well, I pulled off my hat and I bowed to the ground, And I said, "Master Kilby, oh, where are you bound?" "I'm bound for the west in hopes to find rest; And in the arms of my dear Nancy I'll build a new nest. And if I was the master of ten thousand pounds In bright gold and silver or in King William's crowns, I would part with it all with my own heart so freely: It's all for the sake of my charming Nancy. She's the girl that I adore, she's the love of my heart; Her skin's like a waxwork in every part. Oh, I gave her some kisses, it was down by the shore; But still she lay asking, lay asking for more."
As I was a-walking down by some shady grove, Down by some shady Nancy, my life, my heart, my love. The young lambs they were playing All on the banks of sweet Mossom, All on the banks of sweet Mossom, all on through lovely Spring. The lark all in the air-O She rises in the morning And brings me cheerful tidings of Nancy my dear. The birds all in the trees, they is now set down to rest I'll write to lovely Nancy, my life, my heart, my love. The young lambs they were playing All on the banks of sweet Mossom, All on the banks of sweet Mossom, all on through lovely Spring. The lark all in the air-O She rises in the morning And brings me cheerful tidings of Nancy my dear. Oh, bring me pen and paper, that I may sit down to write I'll write to lovely Nancy, my life, my heart, my love. The young lambs they were playing All on the banks of sweet Mossom, All on the banks of sweet Mossom, all on through lovely Spring. The lark all in the air-O She rises in the morning And brings me cheerful tidings of Nancy my dear.
Oh, the streams of lovely Nancy are divided in three parts Where the young men and the maidens they do meet their sweethearts. 'Tis the drinking of good liquor made my heart for to sing And the noise in yonder village made the rocks all to ring. At the top of this mountain, a fine castle stands, It's all overbuilt with ivory up above the black sand. It's all overbuilt with ivory and diamonds so bright, It's a pilot for a sailor on a dark winter's night. On yonder high mountain where the wild fowl do fly There is one amongst them that flies very high. If I had her in my arms now, down on that black strand How quickly I would gain her by the sleight of my hand. The bright stars of Ireland, how glorious they shine Her skin is like the lily, her hair is dark brown I delight more in her company than in gold, I declare, Although she does slight me for the love that I bear.
Oh come all you little streamers that walk the meadows gay These are the finest flowers that ever my eyes did see. Fine flowery hills and fishing dells and hunting also At the top of yonder mountain where fine flowers grow. At the top of yonder mountain, there my love's castle stands It's over-decked with ivory to the bottom of the strand. There's arches and there's parches and a diamond stone so bright; It's a beacon for a sailor on a dark, stormy night. At the bottom of the mountain there runs a river clear. A ship from the Indies did once anchor there, With her red flags a-flying and the beating of a drum Sweet instruments of music and the firing of her gun. So come all you little streamers that walks the meadows gay And write unto my own true love wherever he may be For her sweet lips entice me, but her tongue it tells me “No!” But an angel might direct us, oh, it's where shall we go?
One night as I lay on my bed I dreamed about a pretty maid. I was so distressed, I could take no rest, Love did torment me so. So away to my true love I did go. But when I came to my love's window, I boldly called her by her name, Saying: "It was for your sake I'm come here so late Through the bitter frost and snow. So it's open the window, my love, do." "My mum and dad they are both awake, And they are sure for to hear us speak. There'll be no excuse, only sore abuse, Many's the bitter word and blow. So begone from my window, my love, do." "Your mum and dad they are both asleep, And they are sure not to hear us speak, They are sleeping sound on their bed of down And they draw their breath so low. So open the window, my love, do!" My love arose and she opened the door, And just like an angel she stood on the fioor. Her eyes shone bright like the stars at night, No diamonds could shine so. And it's in with my true love I did go.
When a man's in love he feels no cold, like me not long ago, Like a hero bold, to see my love I set off through the frost and snow. The moon did gently give her light along the dreary way, Till I arrived at that sweet spot where all my treasures lay. I rapped at my love's window saying my dear are you within? And slowly, she undid the latch and slyly I stepped in. Her hands were soft, her breath was sweet, her tongue did gently glide, I stole a kiss from her ruby lips and her colours all did fade. "Oh take me to your chamber love, oh take me to your bed, Oh take me to your chamber love, I am tired and very ill." "To take you to my chamber love, my parents would never agree, So sit you down by a good fireside and I'll sit there with you." "O many's the night I've courted you against your parents' will, And I've never asked you to be my bride, so now my love, sit still. Tonight our courtship's at an end, between my love and me Farewell, farewell, my favourite girl, forever adieu to thee. "O many's the night and many's the day I've come to visit you All tossed about by the wind and rain or wet with summer's dew But tomorrow I am going away to far Columbia's shore, And you will never ever see your youthful lover more." "O are you going to leave me, whatever should I do? I would break break through every tie to go along with you. Don't talk of going away, my love, these words do break my heart. Let us go and married be, before that you do part. "Perhaps my parents will forget, perhaps they will forgive, But from this moment I resolve along with you to live. My hand and heart I give to you since true love has begun." So with a kiss the bargain was made, and now they're joined in one.
l once had a sweetheart and I loved her well, I loved her far better than my tongue can tell, But her parents despised me for my lack of years, So adieu to all pleasure since I lost my dear. Then last night I dreamed that my love she came in , So softly she came that her feet made no din. And she laid her hand on me, and this she did say "It will not be long, love, till our wedding day." Then according to promise at midnight I rose But nothing I found there but her down-turned clothes, The sheets were all empty, as plain as you see, And out of the window with another went she. Oh, Molly, my dear Molly, what's this you have done? You have pulled the dry thistle, left the red rose alone; The thistle will wither and fade all too soon, But the red rose will blossom in the merry month of June. I wish I were a small bird and had wings to fly, I would fly to the castle where my love does lie, On a bed of green ivy l would lay myself down, And with my soft feathers my love I'd surround.
'Twas down in Cupid's Garden I wandered for to view The sweet and lovely flowers that in the garden grew First there was the jessamine, the lily, pink and rose, They are the fairest flowers that in that garden grow, That in that garden grow. I had not been in the garden but scarcely half an hour When I beheld two fair pretty maids sitting in shady bower, One was lovely Nancy so beautiful and fair The other was a virgin that did the laurels wear, That did the laurels wear. I boldly stepped up to her and unto her did say, "Are you engaged to any young man? Come tell to me, I pray." "I'm not engaged to any young man, I solemnly declare I mean to live a virgin and still the laurels wear, And still the laurels wear." "Why then," I answered to her, "if that be your intent, I'll give my hand to Nancy, if I have her consent." We both went off together, saying "Wear your laurels still, For she that will not when she may, she shall not when she will, She shall not when she will." "It's down in Portsmouth harbour a ship lies waiting there, Tomorrow to the sea I go, let the wind blow high or fair, And if I do live to return again how happy I shall be With you, my lovely Nancy, sat smiling on my knee, Sat smiling on my knee."
Oh once I was a waiting man and I lived at home at ease, But now I am a mariner and I plough the angry seas. Well, I thought I'd like the seafaring life, so I bid my love adieu, And I shipped as steward and cook, my boys, on board the Kangaroo. Oh I never thought she would prove false, or even prove untrue, Till we sailed away from Milford Bay on board the 'Kangaroo'. “Cheer up! Cheer up! my own true love, don't weep so bitterly.” But she sobbed, she sighed, she choked, she cried, she could not say goodbye. “Oh I won't be gone so very long, about a month or two, And when that I return again, then I'll marry you.” My love she is no foolish girl, her age it is two score, My love she is no spinster, she's been married twice before. And I cannot say it was her wealth that held my heart in sway, She's a starcher at a laundry for eighteen pence a day. Our vessel she was homeward bound from many's the foreign shore, And many's the foreign presents unto my love I bore. I bought tortoises from Tenerife, toys from Timbuktu, And a China rat and a Bombay cat and a Bengal cockatoo. Paid off, I sought her dwelling in a suburb of the town Where an ancient dame upon the line was pegging out her gown. “Where is my love?” “She's married, sir, about a month ago, To a fine young man that drives a van for Chapman Son & Co.” Here's a health to the dreams of married life, to soap, to suds and blue. Heart's true love and patent starch, washing soda too. I'll take me to some foreign shore, no longer will I stay, And on some Chinese Hottentot I'll throw myself away.
An outlandish knight he dreamed a dream He beheld a most beautiful creature. No counsel would he take but a journey he'd make Through England to find this fair creature. He travelled through England and found her at last Through many long weeks he had sought her He came to the door where she stood on the floor She was a poor labouring man's daughter. "I never did see you but once in my life And then in a dream you lay by me And since I have found you and travelled so far I hope, love, that you'll not deny me." "Deny you? Kind sir, pray what is your intent That you are so afraid of denial ? Although I am poor, I will not be your whore So pray put me not to the trial." "Now here is a ring and a guinea in gold, Between us now let it be broken. I pray you forgive me for being so bold Come give me a kiss as a token." "A kiss it is like to a stone in a sling Not fitting for any such poken : So take back your ring and your guinea in gold Between us never let it be broken." "If I should consent your bride for to be, Your family would all be offended Your friends at all times would be frowning on me, Because you are so highly descended." "Father and mother I've none in this world, There is none but myself and a brother. And I know my friends they will not frown on thee. So let us but love one another." So now he has gained her love and delight, They are living in great joy and pleasure, A labouring man's daughter has married a knight. May Heaven protect them together.
Come all ye lads who live at a distance Many a mile from off your love Come and join me this very instant For to pass away some time Singing sweetly and completely Songs of pleasure and of love My heart is with her altogether Though I live not where I love When I sleep I dream about her When I wake I find no rest Every moment thinking of her Her heart fixed within your breast Though great distance might lend assistance From my mind her love to remove Yet I'll stay constant every instant Though I live not where I love The birds shall leave their airy region The fishes in the air shall fly, The world shall be of one religion All living things shall cease to die All things shall change and seem most strange, If ever I inconstant prove Or my love decay in any way Though I live not where I love So farewell lads and farewell lasses Now I think I've made my choice I'll away to yon green valley Where I think I hear her voice If she calls then I will follow Though the ocean be so wide For my heart is with her altogether Thought I live not where I love
Once I had a sweetheart, but now I have none Once I had a sweetheart, but now I have none She's gone and left me, Gone and left me, Gone and left me in sorrow to mourn. Last night in sweet slumber I dreamed I did see My own darling jewel sat smiling by me But when I awakened I found it not so My eyes like some fountains with tears overflowed I'll venture through England, through France and through Spain All my life I shall venture the watery main I'll set sail of silver and steer toward the sun And my false love shall weep for me after I'm gone
My bonny boy 04:36
I once loved a boy and a bonny bonny boy, I loved him I vow and protest, I loved him so well, there's no tongue can tell, And I made him a berth in my breast, And I made him a berth in my breast. All through the green wood and down the long valley Like one who was troubled in mind, I hallooed and I whooped and I played on my flute But no bonny boy could I find. I looked up high and I looked down low The weather being wondrous warm; And who should I spy but my own bonny boy Held tightly in another's arms. He took me upon his dissembling knees He looked at me square in the face, And he gave me a smile and he gave me a kiss But his heart was in another place. Now my bonny boy is across the salt sea And I hope he may safely return; But if he loves another better than he loves me Let him take her, and why should I mourn? Now the girl who's the joy of my own bonny boy Let her make of him all that she can. And whether he love me or whether he don't, I'll walk with that boy now and then, I'll walk with my boy now and then.
When I was in my prime I flourished like a vine There came along a false young man Come stole the heart of mine The gardener standing by Three offers he made to me The pink, the violet and red rose Which I refused all three The pink's no flower at all For it fades away too soon And the violet is too pale a hue I think I'll wait till June In June the red rose blooms That's not the flower for me But then I'll pluck the red rose off And plant a willow tree And the willow tree shall weep And the willow tree shall whine I wish I was in the young man's arms That stole the heart of mine If I'm spared for one year more And if God should grant me that grace I'll weep a bowl of crystal tears To wash his deceitful face
Come all you fair and tender girls That flourish in your prime Beware, beware, keep your garden fair Let no man steal your thyme For when at last your thyme is gone He'll care no more for you And every place where your thyme was waste Shall spread all o'er with rue O woman is a branchy tree And a man a single wand And from her branches carelessly He takes what he can find
One morning fair to take the air Down by Blackwaterside 'Twas in gazing all around me That the Irish lad I spied. All through the first part of that night We lay in sport and play, Then this young man he arose and he gathered his clothes, Saying, “Fare thee well today.” "Well, that's not the promise that you gave to me When first you lay upon my breast, You could make me believe with your lying tongue That the sun rose in the west." "Then go home, go home, to your father's garden, You go home and weep your fill. And think on your misfortune That you bought with your own wanton will." O there's not a girl in this whole wide world So easily led as I, It's fishes they'll fly and the seas run dry, 'Tis then he'll marry I.


Includes three album-only bonus tracks - As I was a-wandering, Rosemary Lane and Box 25/4 Lid - as well as full lyrics, notes and artwork.


released March 10, 2012

Phil Edwards: vocals, whistles (D, G and C), recorder, flute, melodica, drums, zither, concertina (on Rosemary Lane)




Phil Edwards Manchester, UK

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