The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13441   Message #113024
Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
09-Sep-99 - 09:07 PM
Thread Name: Help: Lemady - Confusion
Subject: Lyr Add: LIMADIE (from Cornwall)

Oh early one morning as I was walking
The fields and the meadows they looked so green and gay
The birds sang so sweetly, so pleasant and so charming
So early in the morning at the break of the day.

Oh hark, oh hark how the nightingale is singing
The lark she is taking her flight in the air
The turtle dove in every green bower is building
The sun is just glimmering, arise then, my dear.

Arise, love, arise, I have plucked you a nosegay
The sweetest of flowers that grow in yonder grove
Oh I have plucked them fresh from the lily, pink and rosetree
And it's all for my Limadie, the girl that I love.

O Limadie, O Limadie, thou art the fairest flower
Thou art the sweetest flower that e'er mine eyes did see
And the tunes that I will play to thee shall be on flute of ivory
For my heart is so full of soft love melody.

Oh why should my true love be banished from me?
Oh why should she die and I never see her more?
Because that her parents look so slightingly upon me
I too will die for Limadie, the girl I adore.

As promised, a version from Mawgan in Cornwall, kindly sent to me by Jeremy Main. I don't have details of the book from which it was taken, but I gather that any copyright would belong to Inglis Gundry (1966). From the accompanying notes:

" the papers of the late Grand Bard, Morton Nance, at Truro Museum, together with the Cornish translation made by his predecessor, Henry Jenner....It now seems clear that originally this song was an aubade sung by a group of young men (or sometimes young women) to their "lemans" or sweethearts early on midsummer morning, or "leman-day", and that the imaginary person known as Lemady, or Limadie, or Lemminy (in the Catnach ballad with much the same words as ours) came into existence only after this custom of "sweethearting" fell into disuse and was no longer understood."

This version was collected by Jenner from William Gilbert of the Vale of Lanherne; Sabine Baring Gould had a (different) version from Gilbert's father, Samuel, who kept the Falcon Inn there.

Malcolm Douglas