The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13441   Message #1695329
Posted By: Anglo
16-Mar-06 - 01:21 PM
Thread Name: Help: Lemady - Confusion
Subject: RE: Help: Lemady - Confusion
From Frank Purslow, "The Foggy Dew":


As I was walking one fine Summer's morning,
The fields and the meadows were pleasant, green and gay,
The birds sweetly singing, the boughs were adorning,
So early in the morning by the break of day.

It's hark! Oh, hark! how the nightingales are singing,
The larks they are taking their flight up in the air,
The small birds and turtle doves un every bough are building,
The sun is just glimmering, arise, my dear!

Arise, love, arise, and gather your love a posy,
The sweetest flowers that grow in yonder grove.
I will pluck my love a posy, sweet lilies, pinks and roses,
But none so sweet as Lemminy, the girl I love.

Oh! Lemminy, thou art the fairest creature,
All on her spinet so sweetly she does play,
I will play her a tune all on the pipes of ivory,
So early in the morning by the break of day.

It's why should they banish my true love from me?
Why should she die and I never see her more?
Because her cruel parents look so slightly upon me,
All for the white robes I'd have her wear.

Hammond Dt.779. Mrs Marina Russell, Upwey, Dorset. January/February, 1907.

As was usually the case with this singer, she had only portions of the text; in this instance they amounted to three verses, but these were not very consistent. I have therefore used the text printed by Pitts, slightly amended as per Mrs Russell. The origin of the song has puzzled many people, and it is obviously incomplete if not actually confused. Both Cornish and North Country origins have been claimed for it. Publications in the Journal of the Folk Song Society gave rise to various explanations and conjectures. (See also Baring Gould's "Songs of the West" - 'Midsummer Carol' - and "A Garland of Country Song" - 'Lemonday'.) About the only thing that commentators agree on is that the various names given to the young lady are in some way connected with the old English name for a sweetheart - Leman. At the risk of being considered a crank, I will stick my neck out and say that I am almost certain the song is of Irish origin even possibly a translation from the Gaelic. I therefore found it interesting to read Ann Gilchrist's comments (in the F.S.S. Journal) regarding the similarity of this tune, and that of Samuel Lover's once well-known song 'The Angel's Whisper', with folk tunes of undoubted Irish origin.