Yet another song that takes place “one morning in May.” In this case smooth-talking young man takes advantages of a young woman out in the countryside. Great singing, as always, from Christa Burch.
One Morning in May
One morning in May, as I carelessly did stray
to view the green meadows, and the lambs sport and play,
in the clear morning dew, as I lay down to muse,
a fair maiden of honour appeared in my view.
Says I, “Pretty maid, how happy we could be
for it is so ordained, love, that married we should be.
Let me not see you frown, for this heart is your own.”
But as these words were spoken, sure the tears trickled down.
“Come dry up your tears. You have nothing to fear.
I have roamed through the green fields for many’s the long year.”
But as the birds sang so sweet, this young man proved his deceit,
saying, “Adieu, pretty fair maid. We shall never more meet.”
“With my snuffbox and cane, the whole world I would range,
like Venus or Diana in search of her swain.
While the moon does shine clear, I will mourn my dear
over mountains, clear fountains, where no-one would hear.”
“And there’s one thing I know; and that before I go.
I shall never return, love, to hear your sad woe.
And there’s another thing I know; and that before I go.
That the ranger and the stranger have many’s the foe.”
Rita Gallagher of County Donegal is a multiple winner of the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann‘s English singing competition. Rita is considered by many to be one of the best living singers in the tradition. Here she sings another “As I Roved Out” song. This one goes under many names, but most frequently “Blackwaterside” and “Lonely/Bonnie/Lovely Irish Maid.”
Lonely Irish Maid/Blackwaterside
As I roved out one morning fair,
Bright and early as I strayed,
It being in the merry month of May
As the birds sang in each glade.
The sun it shone so merrily
And billowing with pride,
Where primroses and daisies there,
Down by Blackwaterside
The song collector Cecil Sharp said of this song, “I find that almost every singer knows it; the bad singers often know but little else.” It’s a broadside ballad published by Henry Such of the Borough, London. The song may have originated in Somerset, but this is uncertain. Here’s a melancholy version by Kate Rusby.
Alternate titles: The Ploughboy; We’re All Jolly Fellows That Follow the Plough
The Jolly Plough Boys
‘Twas early one mornin’, at the break of the day
The cocks they were crowing and the farmer did say,
Rise up my jollw fellows, arise with good will,
Your horses want something their bellies to fill.
When four o’clock came me boys, it’s up we did rise,
And off to the stable we merrily flies
With a rubbin’ and a-scrubbin’ our horses we’ll go,
For we’re all jolly fellows what follers the plough