Thanks for all your posts, folks. Anglo, your posting isn't very helpful! The point of my posting is: a. it may *not* be metaphor, so if not, what is the story behind the song?; b. if it *is* metaphor, what's it a metaphor *for*? This isn't obvious in the song. Tim, I cannot, therefore, "Let the words be what they are" if I don't don't know what they are intended to mean! A song isn't meaningful if it doesn't have any meaning - if you follow my tautology! But I certainly agree that singing it transports me into another time and place. Malcolm, you're erudite and helpful as usual. I'm not sure I'm convinced by the Corpus Christi argument myself (why does the fallow doe die, after all?), but I will certainly seek out your references. Thank you all. Anyone else?