The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59070   Message #2627777
Posted By: Jim Dixon
09-May-09 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: May Morning / Shady Green Tree
This ballad sounds oddly modern to me, in that it is a bit more explicit than others of the era—not so many coy euphemisms.

The Bodleian broadside collection has two versions of this: Harding B 25(1754) and Harding B 11(3461). Where they differ, I have selected what I consider the best phrases, and added some punctuation.


As I was walking one midsummer morning,
Down by a shady green tree,
There did I behold a most beautiful virgin,
Sitting all under a shady green tree.
I steppèd up to her and said, "My dear jewel,
You are the finest girl that ever wounded me.
You shall not want for gold nor silver
If you will set your mind on me."

She said, "Kind sir, you are better deserving.
I am a poor girl of low degree;
Besides your parents will always be scoffing,
So in my station contented I'll be."
"Talk not of friends nor any relations;
They have no portion at all to give me.
As I am a young man and you are a virgin,
Married to-morrow to you I will be."

She sat herself down. I sat myself by her.
There did I rifle her beautiful charms.
With sweet melting kisses and fond embraces,
We slept together in each other's arms
The space of three hours all in the green grove,
All under the shady green tree.
And when I awakèd and found her no virgin,
"Married to you I never will be."

She said, "Kind sir, you are my undoing.
O can you, O can you so cruel be?
How can I pass any more for a virgin,
Since you have had your will of me?
Come all pretty maidens, now take warning.
Never trust a young man in any degree,
For when they've enjoyed the fruits of your garden,
Then they will leave you, as he has done me."