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Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life

Ian HP 22 May 99 - 04:27 AM
wysiwyg 23 May 02 - 12:02 PM
wysiwyg 23 May 02 - 12:05 PM
DMcG 23 May 02 - 12:07 PM
little john cameron 23 May 02 - 12:08 PM
DMcG 23 May 02 - 12:08 PM
GUEST 23 May 02 - 12:54 PM
Jim Dixon 26 Mar 10 - 02:11 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Mar 10 - 04:29 AM
greg stephens 26 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Mar 10 - 07:21 AM
Howard Jones 26 Mar 10 - 09:18 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Mar 10 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 26 Mar 10 - 01:14 PM
Joe Offer 26 Mar 10 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 26 Mar 10 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 27 Mar 10 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,mayomick 27 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM
Joe Offer 27 Mar 10 - 06:57 PM
MGM·Lion 28 Mar 10 - 02:24 AM
MGM·Lion 28 Mar 10 - 02:32 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SEVEN VIRGINS / THE LEAVES OF LIFE
From: Ian HP
Date: 22 May 99 - 04:27 AM

In THE SEVEN VIRGINS (a.k.a. THE LEAVES OF LIFE) what are "the leaves of life"? Is it a metaphor for something? Do leaves have some symbolic importance? Here are the words:

1. All under the leaves and the leaves of life
I met with virgins seven,
And one of them was Mary mild,
Our Lord's best mother in heaven.

2. 'O what are you seeking, you seven pretty maids
All under the leaves of life?'
'We are seeking for no leaves, Thomas,
But for a friend of thine.'

3. 'Go down, go down into yonder town
And sit in the gallery,
And there'll you see sweet Jesus Christ
Nailed to a big yew tree.'

4. So down they went into yonder town
As fast as foot could fall,
And many a bitter and a grievous tear
From them virgins' eyes did fall.

5. 'O peace, mother! O peace, mother!
Your weeping does me grieve,
But I will suffer this,' he said,
'For Adam and for Eve.'

6. 'O how can I my weeping leave,
My sorrows undergo,
While I do see my own son die
And sons I have no more?'

7. He's laid his head on his right shoulder
And death has struck him nigh.
'The Holy Ghost be with your soul.
Sweet mother, now I die.'

8. O the rose, the gentle rose,
The fennel it grows so strong.
Amen, Good Lord, your charity
Is the ending of my song.


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Subject: RE: THE LEAVES OF LIFE - what are they?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:02 PM

REFRESH


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Subject: RE: THE LEAVES OF LIFE - what are they?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:05 PM

DT note:

"This spring-time carol tells a story based on the Apocryphal Gospels, concerning a trip made by Mary to see her son at Calvary, in the company of seven virgins. The opening recalls the handsome illuminations in the Arundel Psalter, showing the sombre tree of death with its dismal birds, and the dazzling tree of life with iridescent leaves. The parallel between the death and resurrection of Christ and the ritual slaying and renewal of the divine kings of pagan belief (echoed in the mumming plays) needs no stressing." - A.L. Lloyd

~S~


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Subject: RE: THE LEAVES OF LIFE - what are they?
From: DMcG
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:07 PM

I don't know, but I've another question. Are these seven virgins any relation to the ones who kept oil for their lamps? Mary was not, presumably, one of the ones in the parable but is there any other reason for the seven in this song, since six of them seem to fade quietly from the song?


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Subject: RE: THE LEAVES OF LIFE - what are they?
From: little john cameron
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:08 PM

This spring-time ballad-carol tells a story based on the Apocryphal Gospels, concerning a trip made by Mary to see her son at Calvary, in the company of seven virgins. The opening recalls the handsome illuminations in the Arundel Psalter, showing the sombre tree of death with its dismal birds, and the dazzling tree of life with iridescent leaves. The parallel between the death and resurrection of Christ and the ritual slaying and renewal of the divine kings of pagan belief (echoed in the mumming plays) needs no stressing. Norma Waterson sings it. -- From the liner notes by A. L. Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: THE LEAVES OF LIFE - what are they?
From: DMcG
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:08 PM

WYSIWYG answered my question before I asked it. Tha's smart!


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Subject: RE: THE LEAVES OF LIFE - what are they?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 02 - 12:54 PM

No DMcG, Bert Lloyd answered it *grin*


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SEVEN VIRGINS
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:11 AM

Shropshire Folk-Lore: A Sheaf of Gleanings edited by Charlotte Sophia Burne from the collections of Georgina Frederica Jackson (London: Trübner & Co., 1883), page 566:

THE SEVEN VIRGINS.

Copied from a small chap-book collection of carols (title gone), by Mr. Hubert Smith. A nearly identical copy in a chap-book Selection of Christmas Hymns, printed by J. Wrigley, 30, Miller Street, Manchester.

1. All under the leaves, and the leaves of life,
I met with Virgins seven,
And one of them was Mary mild,
Our Lord's mother in heaven.

2. O what are you seeking, you seven fair maids,
All under the leaves of life?
Come tell, come tell, what seek you,
All under the leaves of life?


3. We're seeking for no leaves, Thomas!
But for a friend of thine,
We're seeking for sweet Jesus Christ,
To be our guide and thine.


4. Go down, go down, to yonder town,
And sit in the gallery [= Galilee?],
And there you'll see sweet Jesus Christ
Nailed to a big yew tree.

5. So down they went to yonder town
As fast as foot could fall,
And many a grievous bitter tear
From the Virgins' eyes did fall.

6. O peace, mother, O peace, mother,
Your weeping doth me grieve,
I must suffer this, he said,
For Adam and for Eve.

7. O mother, take you John Evangelist,
All for to be your son,
And he will comfort you sometimes,
Mother, as I have done.


8. O come, thou John Evangelist,
Thou'rt welcome unto me,
But more welcome, my own dear son,
Whom I nursed on my knee.


9. Then he laid his head on his right shoulder,
Seeing death it struck him nigh,—
The Holy Ghost be with your soul,
I die, mother dear, I die.

10. Furthermore for our enemies all,
Our prayers they should be strong.
Amen, good Lord; your charity
Is the ending of my song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:29 AM

A beautiful version of this was included on the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library cassette 'Leaves of Life', sung by Gypsy singer May Bradley of Shropshire.
The cassette was compiled from the recordings made by Fred Hamer and is unfortunately now unavailable - nice work if you can find it!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 06:55 AM

Someone is I think working on a compilation of all May Bradley recordings, which has never happened yet. Which is odd, as she is such a stunning singer with such an astonishing repertoire.
I think Musicxal Traditions may be going to do it...anyway, it is on the way. It'll be the must-have record, when it comes out.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 07:21 AM

Good news; there is still unpublished materal in the Hamer Collection at Cecil Sharp House as far as I remember from working on the casstte along with Malcolm Taylor.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 09:18 AM

There's a very brief clip of May Bradley singing this on the Mustrad website, as part of a review of VOTP Vol 11:

Musical Traditions

It's a little over half-way down the page. Tantalisingly short, but better than nothing.

However, if you have Spotify, the full track (together with 2 others of her singing from the VOTP series) is there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 11:19 AM

From A Garland of Christmas Carols: Ancient and Modern by Joshua Sylvester (London: John Camden Hotten, 1861), page 71:

THE SEVEN VIRGINS.

This is another Carol which has hitherto eluded the search of all collectors of such religious antiquities. The legend is extremely ancient. The line towards the end which alludes to "our king and queen" is evidently a modern interpolation. The metre, occasionally faulty, is here given just as it occurs on the original old Birmingham broadside.

[The text is identical to the one shown above, from Shropshire Folk-Lore, with this additional verse:]

10. O the rose, the gentle rose,
And the fennel that grows so green,
God give us grace, in every place,
To pray for our king and queen.

11. [Same as 10 in Shropshire Folk-Lore.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 01:14 PM

Does anyone know which of the Apocryphal Gospels Lloyd was referring to? Barnabas, for example, has Mary weeping but has nothing about Seven Virgins? Has anyone got more about Lloyd's sources - or knows the field better and can give details?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 02:05 PM

Hi, Georgina-
I've looked and looked, but didn't find anything specifically on this subject. This Folk Music Journal article (which is only partly available) gives a list of songs that are based on apocryphal stories of Jesus. I've researched a number of these songs and haven't found any direct reference in the so-called "Apocryphal Gospels." Mind you, there are many "apocryphal tales" about Jesus that have been handed down over the years - many seem to be medieval in origin, rather than from the first and second century "Apocryphal Gospels." I like to call them "old nuns' tales." I heard some from old nuns in Catholic grade school - we never quite believed them, but they were very colorful and often a bit strange.

John 19:25-26 has four women at the cross [his mother and her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene], along with the "disciple whom Jesus loved." This disciple is not identified by name, but has been thought to be John the Evangelist/John the Revelator. Progressive scripture scholars aren't so certain of the identity of this disciple - some have even said the beloved disciple was Mary Magdalene.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 06:16 PM

Joe - Thank you very much for responding. Like you, I've come across a few references to Mary being accompanied by two virgins (in 'transitus mariae') or, as you indicate, two named women (whether Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene would be as virgins is a moot point) but not as many as seven. Like many English researchers, I now questions whether everything Lloyd wrote is totally reliable and this reference to 'apocryphal' gospels, without a more specific citation, becomes problematic without more definite information.

It's still a beautiful carol though.

Georgina


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 09:22 AM

Joe - Re 'old nuns tales'
As I recall, these were a fascinating set of fabulates. And given that there are now so few nuns - of any age - around in schools now, I wonder whether their stories are being told by anyone else. Before they cease to circulate, it may be worth noting that at primary school in Yorkshire, I was told about:

The good angel (possibly the same as my guardian angel) who sat on my right shoulder, whilst a devil sat on the left and each prompted the associated set of behaviours;

That Judas has committed suicide by hanging himself on an elder tree and that was why elder won't burn;

That both Jesus and Judas had red hair. (One of the apocryphal gospels says their appearance was so similar that they were mistaken for one another).

Do you know these - or any others?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: GUEST,mayomick
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 12:22 PM

Friends tell me that old people in Dublin used to say that Jesus was "six foot even" ,meaning exactly six foot tall . I haven't a clue how they arrived at that one. A century ago a six-footer was considered tall , but that height isn't so much of a big deal these days .

Why was it a yew tree that Jesus was nailed to - are there magical connotations ? Or is the yew mentioned in the gospel ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Mar 10 - 06:57 PM

Hi, Georgina -
I've often thought these religious folk tales should be collected. Some are well-known and "canonized" by the building of shrines, like the shrine of Loretto, Italy, location of the home of the Virgin Mary - angels flew it there, apparently from the Holy Land.

The one I heard in school that struck me most, was the story of the robbers who broke into a tabernacle and stole a consecrated host, and then stabbed it several times with a knife. The stabbed host started bleeding, says the story. I recall it as a story we laughed at when I was in grade school - but I was very upset when I learned that my son had heard the same story in second grade from a Spanish-born nun (I was a bit older when I heard the story). I suppose my kid didn't get hurt by the story, and he loved the teacher.

Then there were the stories of children who had a special relationship with the Lord since birth. They usually had the name "Little So-and-So," and people would make pilgrimages to visit these holy children, who were invariably invalids dressed in white and surrounded by flowers.

Then there were the little color booklets with one-page lives of the saints - many of the stories were really weird. I liked reading them when I was a kid, but I purged them from the parish religious education library in the 1980s because I thought the stories were so awful. I think I'm a little more hesitant about doing such purges nowadays, because I see that weird stuff as wonderful folklore.

But weird, still....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 02:24 AM

Desecration of the Host, which often bled as a result, by the Jews, was a common late-mediæval antisemitic folktale. It turns up quite often in literature, and there is a famous section of the Corpus Domini predella by Paolo Uccello in the Ducal Palace in Urbino which shows such an episode ~~ Google: Uccello Corpus Domini Host Desecration.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Seven Virgins / The Leaves of Life
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Mar 10 - 02:32 AM

Further to above: I remember our guide on a tour of Urbino looking embarrassed describing and interpreting the scene to our group, and calling the character performing the desecration "a merchant" rather than "a Jew", which was obviously what the artist had intended and expected viewers of his work to recognise. The point of the painting is that the blood runs under the door and brings a mob who burn the Jew & his family!

How fascinating to discover this tale still apparently current as least as recently as Joe's children's childhood!


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