The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #5717   Message #2580294
Posted By: Artful Codger
03-Mar-09 - 11:07 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: 'Twas on a Monday Morning, O
Subject: Lyr Add: The Green Willow
This post relates to the song originally sought: "April Morning" (="['Twas] on One April Morning"), sung variously by Cyril Tawney, Louis Killen, Tony Rose and June Tabor.

As I was searching for Tawney's source version, Google Books pulled up a mention of the song in a 1914 issue of the Journal of the Folk-Song Society—sadly, unviewable. However, the first two lines could be gleaned (agreeing with the Killen/Rose transcription), as well as the source: "sung by Mr. R. Bryant, Cowley, nr. Exeter, March 1908" (all in caps). If someone has access to the 1914 issues, could you please post that version of the song, or at least indicate differences from the Killen/Rose transcription? My crafty attempts to pull up more failed, but as the text broke words into syllables with space-delimited hyphens, I suspect the entire song is there, with music.

Further surfing led me, through another song fragemnt, to the broadside, "The Green Willow". The Bodley copies of this broadside contain clear relatives of all of the "April Morning" stanzas except the first. You can draw your own conclusions.

Bodley Ballads: Harding B 11(1432) [between 1813 and 1838]
Published by J. Catnach, 2, Monmouth-court 7 Dials
Also Harding B 11(1433) [1819-1844] with differences shown in brackets.
Published by Pitts, 6, Gt. St. Andrew Street, Seven Dials

The Green Willow.

Young men are false and they are so deceitful,
Young men are false and they seldom will prove true,
For rangling and jangling their minds are always changing,
They're always see[k]ing for some pretty young girl that is true.

It's all round my hat I will wear a green willow,
It's all round my hat for a twelvemonth and a day,
If any one should ask you the reason why I wear it,
O tell them I have been slighted by my own true love.

You false hearted young men you know you have deceived me,
You false hearted young men you caused me to rue,
For love it does grow older & seldom does grow bolder,
All fades away like the sweet morning dew.

O that I had but my own heart to keep it,
O that I had but my own heart again,
Closely in my bosom I would lock it up for ever;
[O] Never would I ramble so far far again.

For many a long hour have I spent courting,
For many a long hour have I spent in vain,
But since 'tis my misfortune that I must die a maiden,
O never would I ramble so far far again.


The fragment mentioned earlier (consisting of the first two verses above) was printed in The History of Signboards from the Earliest Times to the Present Day (1908) by Jacob Larwood, L.R. Sadler, John Camden Hotten, on page 247. It was quoted a passage discussing the use of the willow as a symbol of sadness and forsaken love. The writer(s) had heard it sung by an old Northumberland woman, but had never seen it in print.

He/they also wrote (possibly quoting Douce at this point):
'[...] the Agnus castus or vitex was supposed by the ancients to promote chastity, "and the willow being of a much like nature," says an old writer, "it is yet a custom that he which is deprived of his love must wear a willow garland."—Swan's Speculum Mundi, ch. vi, sec. 4. 1635.'

Other threads here have discussed the relationship (by parody?) between "The Green Willow" and the later "All Around My Hat".