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Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme

DigiTrad:
CARELESS LOVE
THYME IT IS A PRECIOUS THING


Related threads:
(origins) Lyr Add: Careless Love (various versions) (39)
Origins: Bunch of Thyme (15)
Loveless/Careless Love- WC Handy (31)
Lyr Req: Careless Love (Dr John) (2)
African- American folksong by Odum 1911 (7)
Lyr Req: Let No Man Steal Your Thyme (June Tabor) (12)
Lyr Req: Now my apron strings don't tie (12)
Lyr Req: Careless Love (Bessie Smith version) (35)
Help: Careless Love / Bunch of Thyme (8)
Tune Req: Thyme It Is a Precious Thing (3)


Leadfingers 18 Mar 18 - 05:45 AM
GUEST 18 Mar 18 - 06:20 AM
Bonzo3legs 18 Mar 18 - 06:26 AM
Richard Mellish 18 Mar 18 - 06:39 AM
FreddyHeadey 18 Mar 18 - 09:24 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Mar 18 - 09:44 AM
Senoufou 18 Mar 18 - 09:57 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Mar 18 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 18 Mar 18 - 12:30 PM
Senoufou 18 Mar 18 - 12:38 PM
Michael 18 Mar 18 - 01:41 PM
Senoufou 18 Mar 18 - 01:53 PM
David Carter (UK) 18 Mar 18 - 03:18 PM
Steve Shaw 18 Mar 18 - 04:32 PM
Senoufou 18 Mar 18 - 04:58 PM
Senoufou 19 Mar 18 - 03:17 AM
Leadfingers 19 Mar 18 - 04:16 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 18 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 19 Mar 18 - 06:58 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 18 - 09:26 AM
Mrrzy 19 Mar 18 - 09:27 AM
Gordon Jackson 19 Mar 18 - 11:56 AM
Jim Carroll 19 Mar 18 - 12:24 PM
Steve Gardham 20 Mar 18 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 20 Mar 18 - 02:50 PM
Steve Shaw 20 Mar 18 - 09:22 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 18 - 04:27 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 18 - 04:53 AM
Iains 21 Mar 18 - 04:56 AM
Gordon Jackson 21 Mar 18 - 08:19 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 18 - 09:11 AM
Gordon Jackson 21 Mar 18 - 09:53 AM
Senoufou 21 Mar 18 - 09:54 AM
Gordon Jackson 21 Mar 18 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 21 Mar 18 - 02:33 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Mar 18 - 03:10 PM
Iains 21 Mar 18 - 03:31 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Mar 18 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 22 Mar 18 - 10:45 AM
Jim Carroll 22 Mar 18 - 11:37 AM
Bonzo3legs 22 Mar 18 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 23 Mar 18 - 01:50 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Mar 18 - 02:23 PM
GUEST 24 Mar 18 - 04:06 AM
Leadfingers 24 Mar 18 - 08:02 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Mar 18 - 08:50 AM
Chris Amos 24 Mar 18 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 24 Mar 18 - 02:30 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Mar 18 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 25 Mar 18 - 03:16 PM
Bonzo3legs 25 Mar 18 - 03:30 PM
JeffB 25 Mar 18 - 03:41 PM
Steve Gardham 25 Mar 18 - 05:55 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Mar 18 - 08:06 PM
JeffB 26 Mar 18 - 08:41 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 10:39 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 11:07 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 11:08 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 01:58 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 02:07 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 02:23 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Mar 18 - 02:33 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 26 Mar 18 - 03:44 PM
JeffB 26 Mar 18 - 06:02 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Mar 18 - 08:44 PM
Bonzo3legs 27 Mar 18 - 02:46 AM
Rusty Dobro 27 Mar 18 - 03:49 AM
Kenny B 27 Mar 18 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 28 Mar 18 - 01:48 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 18 - 07:13 PM
Gordon Jackson 29 Mar 18 - 02:22 AM
Senoufou 29 Mar 18 - 03:08 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 18 - 05:00 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 18 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 29 Mar 18 - 12:36 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 18 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,JeffB 29 Mar 18 - 02:11 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 18 - 02:14 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Mar 18 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,JeffB 29 Mar 18 - 06:23 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Mar 18 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 30 Mar 18 - 01:51 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Mar 18 - 01:53 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Mar 18 - 01:55 PM
Steve Gardham 30 Mar 18 - 02:05 PM
The Sandman 31 Mar 18 - 04:17 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Mar 18 - 04:26 AM
The Sandman 31 Mar 18 - 08:29 AM
Jim Carroll 31 Mar 18 - 08:38 AM
JeffB 31 Mar 18 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 31 Mar 18 - 12:59 PM
Kenny B 31 Mar 18 - 03:59 PM
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Subject: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 05:45 AM

Can anyone say when this song dates from ? Is it an old lyric that someone set to Careless Love's melody ? Or is the melody original !


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 06:20 AM

Thyme?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 06:26 AM

Superb version by Carrie Mulligan in the recent remake of Far From the Madding Crowd


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 06:39 AM

Anonymous guest asked
> Thyme?

Surely one feature of this song is the homophone. It is both "time", which brings all things to an end, and "thyme", which is said to be a symbol of virginity.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 09:24 AM

btw
the MainlyNorfolk page

https://mainlynorfolk.info/joseph.taylor/songs/sprigofthyme.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 09:44 AM

"Oi think the answer loies in the soil", as an old BBC gardener used to say
Thyme symblises woman's strength of character - it has gradually lost it's folkloristic meaning.
This, From the Funk and Wagnall 'Standard dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend'
Jim Carroll
   
Thyme
Thyme is an herb of Venus and Mars and is a symbol of strength. It is loved by the bees and fairies especially in the north of England. In the Middle Ages, ladies gave their knights a sprig of thyme to increase their strength and courage in battle. On St. Agnes’ Eve if a young girl places a sprig of thyme in one shoe and a sprig of rosemary in the other, and one on either side of the bed, she will dream of love and the man she will marry. In ancient times thyme was strewn about the house to drive out vermin and provide a pleasant odor
Medicinally it was considered good for depression and to strengthen the head, brain, stomach, and lungs. Used in baths it cleared the skin and soothed the nervous system. It was a cure for insomnia, and the 17th century Parkinson recommended distilled water of thyme and vinegar of roses applied to the head to guard against “frensye” or nightmare.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Senoufou
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 09:57 AM

I well remember this song when I frequented the Edinburgh Folk Club in the early sixties. I only know the version as sung by Foster and Allen (it's on Youtube) I called it Bunch of Thyme. It isn't the same tune as that sung by Carrie Mulligan.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 10:09 AM

Isla Cameron always rang my bells - I quite liked her singing this too!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 12:30 PM

The 'Foster & Allen' was frequently sung in Scotland on my visits there in the 1960s....

I asked Pete Shepheard of the song's origins & he said as far as he knew, the then current version came from Sheena Wellington's grandmother


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Senoufou
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 12:38 PM

Ha Jim B, we may have crossed paths!
This 'Thyme' song and 'Will Ye Go Lassie Go?' used to pierce my heart. I always wore an Edinburgh Uni thick scarf, and sobbed into it all evening. It was soaked by the time I left the premises!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Michael
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 01:41 PM

"Oi think the answer loies in the soil" frequently said by Kenneth Williams in the BBC comedy show " Round the Horne" of the 1960's.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Senoufou
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 01:53 PM

I think Ralph Wightman used to say that on Gardeners' Question Time on the radio a long time ago. Kenneth Williams was probably parodying it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: David Carter (UK)
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 03:18 PM

Ralph Wightman was on Any Questions. Garderner's Question time was Fred Loads of Lancaster, Bill Sowerbutts of Ashton-under-Lyme, and Professor Alan Gemmell of Keele University. But I think you are right, it was Ralph Wightman that Kenneth Williams was parodying.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 04:32 PM

Christy sang it on "the Iron Behind The Velvet." Very nice it was too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time
From: Senoufou
Date: 18 Mar 18 - 04:58 PM

David, I think Ralph Wightman was born in Piddletrenthide in Dorset, where he got his rich country accent. You may be right about his not being on Gardeners' Question Time, but I seem to have a rusty memory of him saying, "The answer lies in the soil" on the radio many years ago. I also remember Kenneth Williams of course, as 'Arthur Fallowfield', but I reckon that was a bit later.
Imagine if somebody asks you where you come from and you reply 'Piddle trenthide'. They'd think you were having them on!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Senoufou
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 03:17 AM

But then, the next village on from ours is called Fustyweed...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 04:16 AM

Thanks for all the thread creep - Anyone want to answer the original query ??


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 04:50 AM

Sorry for creeping
Personally, I think it's difficult - virtually impossible, in fact, to date any particular traditional song unless it comes with specific historical references or a composer - an in-depth knowledge of the ort tradition dates back no earlier than the beginning of the twentieth century and published, particularly broadside, references are pretty meaningless
This song is made up of a number of motifs which are centuries old and can be traced to formal literature as well as other tradition songs
It's as likely to have evolved from other songs as to have landed in the present form
My opinion
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 06:58 AM

Senoufou
             we may well have crossed paths in Edinburgh, although my sister Kath was a EUFC stalwart in the early 60s.
   The F&A version is VERY similar to the one current then- I didn't know Christy had recorded it, but he's a man of taste, and I'd venture he too picked it up in Scotland in the 60s.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 09:26 AM

This is the note of Isla Cameron's version Let No Man Steal your Thyme from the album she did with MacColl in 1958, Still I lLove Him.

"5 LET NO MAN STEAL YOUR THYME. One of the most famous of all English love-songs, and a celebrated piece of erotic symbology. Out of this song grew another, still more famous, called The Seeds of Love which was the first folk song Cecil Sharp ever noted (from the vicarage gardener of Hambridge, Somerset). Also known as The Sprig of Thyme, it has wandered across to Ireland, and it is an unpublished Irish version that Miss Cameron sings here, learned from a recording in the BBC's Recorded Programmes Library."

THe Irish version referred to was
SPRIG OF THYME
Singer: Patrick Green                                                                        Ballinalee, Co. Longford.
26.8.47

I don't know if it is of any significance, but the Singer, (in Irish, Padraig McGreine) was a noted expert in Irish Traveller life and taught their children
He died a few years ago aged over 100
Jim Carroll

He die


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 09:27 AM

Cynthia Gooding has a lovely version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 11:56 AM

Christy Moore recorded this on Whatever Tickles Your Fancy, and has the tune most people are familiar with today. In The Christy Moore Songbook he writes:

"I learned this from Muriel Graves from the Lake District in England in a folk club in 1967. Little did I think that by bringing it back to Ireland I was going to write a page in the annals of folk history and launch Foster and Allen to stardom"!

Sharp published The Sprig of Thyme (and The Seeds of Love) in 1916, in One Hundred English Folksongs with a different tune. A decade earlier George Gardiner had published a different version (in Marrowbones, 2007).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Mar 18 - 12:24 PM

I'm pretty sure that Isla Cameron's version was the first commercially available one - could be wrong!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 02:31 PM

The earliest versions I have obviously predate 1766 as they are both very different. Both are in Standard English and both printed by William Forrest of Edinburgh but one looks to be anglicised Scottish. The English one 'The Maid's Lament for the Loss of her Maidenhead' dated 1766 has only 7 stanzas whereas the other undated 'The New Lovers Garland' has 8 stanzas and a chorus with a 4-stanza answer. Later versions printed in England show a wide variety.

The song was definitely sung at the London pleasure gardens in the middle of the 18th century and that is its likely origin. The British Harmony, part the Second, being a choice Collection of Most of the New Favorite SONGS sung This and Last Season at both the Theatres, Vauxhall, Ranelagh, Sadler's Wells &C. Here it is titled 'The Encouraging Gardener' with 8 stanzas, again very different to the 2 Edinburgh printings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 02:50 PM

Am not too bothered about origins iof songs- good that academics do it but I'd say the version current in Scotland in the 60s became very widespread in the folk clubs nationwide.
   Christy as a frequent folk club guest around then was always in the market for a good song whoever & wherever it came from.... a good policy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Mar 18 - 09:22 PM

"Christy sang it on 'The Iron Behind The Velvet'. Very nice it was too."

No he didn't - I got the wrong album. It was on "Whatever Tickles Your Fancy." Sorry about that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 04:27 AM

"The song was definitely sung at the London pleasure gardens in the middle of the 18th century and that is its likely origin"
Why?
The theme is timeless, as are those the motifs of all folk songs
Your two-way suggestion for the origin of folk songs seems to have gone by the board Steve and we are back to the folk never having produced anything for themselves
What an uncreative, unimaginative people the English seem to have been!

Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 04:53 AM

"Am not too bothered about origins iof songs- good that academics do"
Jim
Far from being an academic exercise, some singers find that a knowledge of where the song comes from and who is likely to have sung it helps to put it in context and is an aid to singing it - (the singers identification with the song)
Not important to everybody, but certainly not exclusive to academics
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Iains
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 04:56 AM

The Sprig of Thyme, The Seeds of Love, Maiden’s Lament, Garners Gay, Let No Man Steal Your Thyme or Rue is a traditional British and Irish folk ballad that uses botanical and other symbolism to warn young people of the dangers in taking false lovers. The song was first documented in 1689 and the many variants go by a large number of titles.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sprig_of_Thyme#cite_ref-Let_No_Man_Steal_Your_Thyme_1-0


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 08:19 AM

Jim, I think you're spot on. When I sing I like to feel a certain amount of empathy with the narrator, and a feeling of identification with the song's context, which includes some knowledge of its provenance. For me, it's a practical, not an academic, exercise.

I remember Christy Moore once saying pretty much the same thing in an interview - I think he referred to it as 'getting right inside the song' or something similar.

Gordon


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 09:11 AM

"and a feeling of identification with the song's context"
Thanks for that Gordon
Virtually every one of the older singers we interviewed on this "saw" their songs as moving pictures - Walter Pardon, the Irish singers and the Travellers
If there was no described location they provided one for themselves - Mikeen McCarthy used to say of one character in a song, "we used to travel past that feller's cottage regularly"
Walter used to picture his 'Pretty Ploughboy' "ploughing in that field" (opposite his house).
Even blind-from-birth Traveller, Mary Delaney used to describe her characters' clothes
This approach elevates songs to more than just a collection of words.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 09:53 AM

Yes, and it elevates a traditional song above the concept of 'genre'. By that I mean that while we have song genres - pop, rock, jazz, lieder, etc - they are collections of words set to a tune.

A traditional song, on the other hand, is a microcosm of, or perhaps, an aspect of, a way of life - a tradition.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Senoufou
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 09:54 AM

That's why I used to sob piteously into my University scarf when listening to these songs at the Edinburgh Uni Folk Club. They weren't just a collection of words but an expression of poignant situations and emotions. I too used actually to picture the characters and feel for them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 12:45 PM

... and that's why we love these songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 02:33 PM

Yes I accept it is good to get 'right inside a song'but to do justice to any 'traditional'song, it is surely not necessary to know the details of its ancient origins?

Most singers would choose a song after a reaction on an emotional level rather than anything else- that's surely not the way to go -

I'd always take the first course, but that's personal really. My quotation marks around traditional above only repeat my reluctance to talk about 'genres' or categories of song.

I do think that to describe all pop, rock, jazz,lieder etc as 'collections of words with a tune' is rather strange, and I hope that Gordon intended no denigration of non-traditional' material? You're on dangerous ground if you did!

ps please don't let us get into a definitions swamp!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 03:10 PM

"The song was definitely sung at the London pleasure gardens in the middle of the 18th century and that is its likely origin"
Why?

Perhaps we should both append all postings with (IMHO)

I base that 'likely origin' opinion on many years studying the output of the pleasure gardens and London theatres of which this piece is absolutely typical, along with other sources and traditional song. What do you base yours on, Jim?

Iains, the 1689 date is asserted for the 'Seeds of Love' and comes from an assertion of one person with absolutely no proof whatsoever.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Iains
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 03:31 PM

Steve Gardham. You may well be correct. The only counter argument I would offer is that so many variants are found in so many places that this fact in its self would argue a degree of antiquity, simply to give an adequate timeframe for the variants to travel and evolve. Also any source with wiki as a prefix requires rigorous questioning.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Mar 18 - 04:28 PM

"Perhaps we should both append all postings with (IMHO)"
Perhaps we should just admit that nobody has a clue and leave it there
If the foplk were able to make songs they have asmuch claim to any folk songs as any hack writer
If you don't believe they could you should say so and be done with it
I don't base my view on anything but the fact that ordinary working people were making songs from the time of the Venerable Bede and were still doing so up to and beyond the middle of the twentieth century
Nonbody even knows who "probably" made our folk songs and all the paper-chases in the world won't change that one iots until known authors are established beyond any doubt
"it is surely not necessary to know the details of its ancient origins?"
Speak for yourself Jim
If I started telling you what is important and what is not, you'd be soon up on your "folk police" cair.
Why should I not feel the same?
For singers like Walter Pardon, dates were an important thing and he displayed that importance each time he talked about them - nobody would edescribe him as an "academic"
Doesn't come more authoritative than that for me
"ps please don't let us get into a definitions swamp!
ps - please doint tell me what I can discuss and what I can't
If we can't discuss the definition of folk song on a forum that styles itself "a community of musicians, historians and enthusiasts that collect and discuss traditional folk and blues songs, folklore, lyrics, instruments, music, kid stuff and more where the hell can we discuss it ?
Folk police indeed!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 22 Mar 18 - 10:45 AM

Nobody's telling you anything, Jim, trying to is pointless- I'm just aware of the kind of 'definitions' morass you seem to enjoy & I don't want to be part of that- maybe others will oblige you?
Apart from anything else, such a diversion is irrelevant to the subject, so I suggest it's time to return to that.
You have a knack of turning a polite discussion into an argument- can we agree it's a very old song, and worth singing whatever its history?
All I said is that I react to a song on an emotional level, not because of its provenance- I don't care if it was written this morning
even if chapter and verse is essential to your enjoyment.
Can you understand that?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Mar 18 - 11:37 AM

"Nobody's telling you anything,"
"ps please don't let us get into a definitions swamp!"
Doesn't sound like that to me Jim
In fairness, you are not the first, 'definitions' and MacColl have long been no-go areas, thanks to people who don't wish to discuss these topics intelligently
I don't "enjoy" any sort of morass - I respect folk song enough to believe that its needs to be discussed fully without people creating walls around aspects they don't approve of or don't wish to think about
If you believe expressing controversial views is "turning a polite discussion into an argument" then we live in different worlds - debating serious subjects should never be carried out by 'nodding dogs'
It has become a recurring habit on this forum to debate something until you find yourself at a loss then cry "thread drift" or "irrelevant to the subject"
I have put a fair amount of information up about this subject already - it wasn't me who put up claims of "probabilities" - I responded to it.
What makes Steve's claim any less controversial than mine?
My objection was 100% on topic when I challenged his view about this song probably originating from the Pleasure Gardens - where is the thread drift in that?
" I react to a song on an emotional level"
And others choose more, which includes provenance
Do you object to those who wish to bringing in their point of view because it doesn't coincide with yours?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 22 Mar 18 - 01:57 PM

And having listened to Carrie Mulligan's version again, I say that it's probably one of the best versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 23 Mar 18 - 01:50 PM

Thanks Bonzo for a return to the subject!

Now MacColl has (inevitably!!) been dragged into Mr Carroll's diatribe, I'd like to leave him to argue without me-

I haven't time nor the inclination to deal with anyone unable to accept that other people may have valid opinions too..... bit like MacColl, come to think of it- ok Jim, carry on regardless


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Mar 18 - 02:23 PM

"Now MacColl has (inevitably!!) been dragged into Mr Carroll's diatribe, "
Hardy surprising Jim with people like yourself who haven't got the decency at accept his contribution to folk song and need to reg him out of his grave and give him a kicking to make up fro their own inadequacy
Peggy once lambasted people in an article in the Living for attacking a dead man who was no longer around to answer for himself - fell on deaf ears as far as you are concerned - obviously
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 04:06 AM

Actually, the OP asked about the origin of the song. We got into why knowing the origin isn't particularly important. To some of us, knowing is important (or simply interesting), whilst to others it's not.

However, I'm very happy to hear Bonzo's opinion on his favourite version as well, one I'm not familiar with.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 08:02 AM

The reason for my query is not the song as such , but the commonly accepted tune , and its similarity to W C Handy's 'Careless Love'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 08:50 AM

"W C Handy's 'Careless Love'"
Handy's appears to be a blues version of the song - quite common, of course
The Unfortunate Rake - House of the Rising Sun - Streets of Laredo genre is probably the most widespread of a song taking dozens of identities
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Chris Amos
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 01:20 PM

Here is the entry in the Roud Index

Here

Chris.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 02:30 PM

Jim, people have different opinions about all sorts of things. but that seems to be a concept which is beyond you- it must be great to know everything- how did you do it?
Please answer without reference to Ewan MacColl or Peggy Seeger.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Mar 18 - 03:16 PM

Please answer without reference to Ewan MacColl or Peggy Seeger."Therer you go telling me what I can and can't say again Jim
And you describe MacColl as a domineering bully!!
I know what I know - not everything, but obviously more than you, otherwise, why should you make such a stupid statement - through putting the time in and taking an interest in the subject
I never created no-go (academic) barriers from my research
I discovered quite early that, if I had any confusion about what constituted folkk-song, I only hd to ask people like Walter otr Mikeen or Mary DElaney - they didn't aal use the same vocabulary, but they could sort out one type of music from another just by listening to it.
Failing that, I could pull down a book off our shelves and read what those who came before us thought about it.
Does it not strike you ludicrous to accuse someone you never knew (MacColl) of being a bully and an all round unpleasant individual while at the same time taking every opportunity to malign and smear him thirty years after his death
If MacColl had acted in one fraction of the vicious way his detractors (you included) do he would have desrved all the abuse he still gets
As it happens, he didn't, but you and yours do
Work out for yourself who the unpleasant bully is
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 03:16 PM

Mr Carroll- Not sure where you get all this fiction!!.
I cerainly never called MacColl a domineering bully or any of this other stuff- somebody must have rattled your cage, but I'm NOT GUILTY!! you're cracking up, I think.
Sit in a comfy chair and have a nice cup of tea & calm down

I never mentioned MacColl at all till you did!! and I didn't want to inflict another pointless arguments about the man on other readers- hence my suggestion of getting back to the subject of the thread.

I have reservations about the man, although I admire his song output as well as his collecting work, again with some rservations, but I don't suppose that would be good enough for you
.
Can we leave it at that- I see the music from a totally different point of view than you- can't you just accept that?   don't really need to receive any more unfounded accusations and insults from the likes of you.

If you want to apologise, I'll accept it, but if you want to continue arguing about this, please do it on your own- others might like to get back to the subject.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 03:30 PM

I only listen to music I like the sound of. I like the sound of Carrie Mulligan singing Let No Man Steal Your Thyme. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination like the sound of MacColl or Peggy Seeger singing anything, it sounds quite hideous to my ears.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: JeffB
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 03:41 PM

Jim Gardham – Like you and others on this thread I find the origins and evolution of songs to be a fascinating subject. Would you mind being a little more specific about the different songs you mentioned in your post of 20 March where you talk about three versions published about the same time, two in Edinburgh and one in England. In what way are the Edinburgh songs “versions”? You say they are very different (I assume from each other) but do they just have a similar theme but no significant resemblance in text or tune to the song we now sing? Or do you think either could have influenced the version sung in London's pleasure gardens? And how close is the London song to the modern version?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 05:55 PM

Whilst the versions are different enough to suggest an earlier ur version they are all easily recognisable as the same song. Alas I don't think any of these early versions come with tune. The pleasure garden version could well be the earliest. If I get time tomorrow I'll post all 3 versions, that's if they don't vanish when I press submit.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Mar 18 - 08:06 PM

"
Mr Carroll- Not sure where you get all this fiction!!."
I choose to call myself "Jim Carroll"
Your choice leaves me with the impression of a somewhat superior schoolteacer talking down to a pupil
"I cerainly never called MacColl a domineering bully or any of this other stuff-"
OtHers have - you certainly have suggested he tried to imposee his views on others - pretty much as you do by telling them what they can and can't talk about
"I never mentioned MacColl at all till you did!!"
So?
You have certainly done your share of grave dancing
"don't really need to receive any more unfounded accusations and insults from the likes of you."
Yet you feel free to insult me "tHe likes of you" is a fine example of your insulting attitude
I have responded to your attitude in kind - no more
I certainly have never at any time told you what you can and can't discuss
I don't care whether you or anybody likes MacColl's singing - this has never been what this is about
Maccoll made a massive contribution to folk song far beyond his singing and songwriting
While the rest of the 'superstars' were getting on with their own careers (and occasionally taking time off to take a pop at MacColl) he and Peggy chose to give a night a week and the freedom of their home and library to less well-known singers who wished to improve their own singing (at their request)
Neither of them were compelled to do so - they felt it might help popularise the music they cherished
At no time did they ever slag fellow performers publicly(unlike those who are still slagging him off)
The behaviour towards Maccoll in my opinion, is unwarranted and grotesquely unethical
No performer should stand in front of an audience and slag off any other fellow enthusiast Pat and I were recipients of Ewan and Peggy's generosity, the type of which I never really experienced anywhere else in the revival apart from other members of the Group, yet efforts to discuss the work we did and pass some of the ideas on are always met with garbage like this
It's not as if the revival is buzzing with idea at present
Lets hope the next generation have more open minds than this one had (I speak in the past tense)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: JeffB
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 08:41 AM

Thanks Steve. I will be very interested to see it and it will be a valuable contribution to this topic.

I googled British Harmony in hopes of finding the melody used in London's pleasure gardens but didn't find it. Is it available anywhere on-line?

I did find the song in the Bodliean Ballad website (by typing “thyme” into the search box) and it came up under the title “Sprig of Thyme” (published by Bebbington, Manchester, in the 1850s, and sold in Leeds). It has six verses, one of which has floated in and has nothing much to do with the song. The rest of the text is fairly close to modern versions. No tune is named.

The plant symbology in the song is both fascinating and beautiful. I was intrigued by Jim Carroll's entry of 18th March which pointed out that thyme stands for (or can we say “also stands for”) strength of character. Presumably a herb of both Mars and Venus could also represent virginity in the Battle of the Sexes, and either attribute (and “Time” as well of course) could be read into the way thyme is used in the song. Some internet sources (I looked at angelfire.com) say that “Thyme” derives from the Greek thymon, meaning courage; however the etymological dictionary I often use at etymonline.com, which always seems to be thoroughly researched, says that thymon comes from a very ancient root meaning something like “to rise in a cloud”, possible indicating either a strong scent or use as incense. Does anyone speak Ancient Greek?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 10:39 AM

Here's the version sung in the pleasure gardens c1750 in The British Harmony item 11.

The Encouraging Gardener

Come all you pretty Maids, that are now in your prime,
I'd have you all beware, and have your Garden clear,
and let no one steal your Thime.

For once I had Thyme enough, and it grew both by Night and Day,
And there came by a jolly post-boy,
and stole all my Thyme away.

When all my Thyme was gone, and I had not planted any more,
In the very same place where my Thyme grew,
was all gone over with Rue.

O Rue is a runny runny root, a root that runs underneath,
O I'll pluck up that runny runny root,
and plant a jolly old tree.

Stand up you jolly old tree, and tell no man dare touch,
That all the world may plainly see,
I bore one flower too much.

My Gardener standing by, he offered to choose for me,
He chose me out the Lilly, the Violet, and the Pink,
But I refus'd all three.

The pink I refus'd the first, because it would fade so soon,
The Violet and the Lilly I overlook'd
and resolv'd to tarry till June.

In June there is a red rosy bud, and that is the flower for me,
Oftentimes I have aim'd at the red rosy bud,
but I join'd the willow tree,

(I think there were probably further stanzas to this version.)

The willow tree will twist etc.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 11:07 AM

Just typed out a long version and it disappeared. I'm not a happy bunny. This happens far too often.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 11:08 AM

I'll have one more go at typing it up in Word and copying and pasting, but then that's it!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 01:58 PM

The Garden of Thyme, giving good Advice for every Virgins Care.
While Flowers in their tender Buds do grow
Let no young Men into your Garden go;
Lest these young Buds upon their tender Stem
Should be cropp’d off by these unruly Men.

You pretty Maidens all,
That now are in your Prime,
Be sure you lock your Gardens well,
Let no Man steal your Thyme:
For I delight in my Thyme,
That flourish’d Night and Day,
Then came a young Man craftily,
And stole my Thyme away.

This young Man oft did come,
With Words most sweet and fine,
And stole into my garden,
And pluckt up all my Thyme:
And when that he had stole my thyme,
The young Man came no more,
To look for Thyme in my garden,
As he had done before.

And when my Thyme was gone,
And I could plant no New,
The very Place where it did grow,
Was over-run with Rue;
The Rue it will run over all,
If that you’ll give it scope,
But I’ve preserv’d one little Plant,
To plant in Time of Hope.

The Gilly-flower is sweet,
That grows near to the Wall,
And so is the Yellow-pegell,
But Thyme is the best of all:
But still cry’d out this pretty Maid,
Stand up my Hope, said she,
For if my Hope should chance to fade,
Then quickly I should die.

I got my Garden digged,
And planted it a-new,
My Hope got Root in little Time,
And up I pluck’d the Rue:
And when it was but newly set,
With Hope and Thyme all round,
Fine Flowers then grew prettily,
With Marjoram on the Ground.

I view’d my garden well,
And found both Hope and Thyme,
Did both begin to flourish,
As they did in their Prime:
Then the young Men they came again
My garden for to see,
But I kept shut my Garden Door,
Lest they should ruin me.

They found my Thyme preserv’d,
Then one amongst the Rest,
Did beg of me most heartily,
To grant him one Request;
That he might my Gardener be,
Then he would take such Care,
If I would let him keep the Key,
He’d keep my Garden clear.

Up on this Promise made,
That he would careful be,
This young Man of my Garden Door,
I made him keep the Key:
He digg’d my Garden round about,
And planted it a-new,
Of Hope and Thyme he kept good Store,
But not one Bit of Rue.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 02:07 PM

Looking carefully at the version I've just posted it has all the hallmarks of a piece very close to a probable original. It is unnecessarily repetitive, the language is somewhat stilted, but the format and metre are much tighter than later versions; it has a long involved title and a preamble typical of early broadsides. The imagery is in places slapdash and not always consistent.

The successful imagery/cliche is very thin and easy to follow. The shorter 19thc versions are in my opinion much more successful.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 02:23 PM

Here is a related piece printed in Darlington c1776. I have other quite different versions of this which perhaps is different enough to be regarded as a separate song.
From: A Garland Containing Six excellent NEW SONGS, The Lillies of France, Sailor Jack, Nancy Dawson, The Posie of Thyme, Kitty Fell, God Save the King.                Licenced and entered according to Order.

The Posie of Thyme

It was in the merry Month of May,
When the Flowers were all in their Prime!
A pretty damsel young and gay,
Was gathering a Posie of Thyme.

As sure as the Thyme grows wild,
In April, May and June.
My dearest Love has proved to me unkind,
And has ruin’d me quite in my Bloom.

But since he is gone to Sea,
And blasted my youthful prime,
I never more shall have ease;
So I will wear the Posie of Thyme.

In the County of Stafford I was born,
Near Newcastle under line;(sic)
Pretty maidens they laugh me to scorne,
For wearing the Posie (of) Thyme.

The Time it goes swiftly away,
And the Tide for no man will stay,
May the Time and the Tide with him side,
And send my dear Love from the Sea.

May the Heavens protect him from Harm,
Be his Gaurdian (sic) ye Angels devine (sic);
For if I had my dear Baby in my Arms,
I wou’d wander the length of my Time.

Hugh Stephenson give ear to my Moan,
Since you’ve brought my Complaints into Ryme,
Since my dearest Love have prov’d unkind,
I am weary Woman weary of my Time.

To all Pleasures I will bid adue (sic),
And my sorrows to you I’ll resign,
Since my dearest Love hav prov’d unkind,
I am weary Woman weary of my Time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 02:33 PM

BTW someone mentioned earlier in the thread The Seeds of Love. Sometimes presented as a separate song, this has exactly the same imagery and so many stanzas in common with Sprig of Thyme that they are better regarded as the same song. The earliest versions I have of Seeds of Love, in which the plant imagery is developed a little further, are those printed by Pitts and Catnach c1820.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 03:44 PM

not sure what happened there!

Good man Steve for getting back to the subject after that totally unjustified (unbalanced?) vitriol from that eejit Carroll.

No hint of an apology from JC (the Messiah?) for the pack of lies you told about me- I repeat- I NEVER SAID ANY OF THAT!!!!!

Seems I've become the collective victim of every criticism, valid, vituperative, constructive or otherwise, ever made of MacColl on mudcat or in the history of the spoken or written word!

Jim, you didn't take my advice (the concept is probably alien to you) but do try again, although it may take more than a cup of tea to calm you down- back to the subject now...

END OF MY CONTRIBUTION TO THIS THREAD- may it thrive as a discussion about a lovely song, which I never intended to develop into this- apologies to all it may have irritated, except Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: JeffB
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 06:02 PM

Thanks very much indeed Steve. Your efforts are much appreciated.

“The Encouraging Gardener” is obviously an ancestor of the song we all know, and I find it interesting that even at this early date the song was already being conflated with what we now call “I sowed the Seeds of Love”.

These old songs introduce more flower symbolism. Some are well-known even today - oak for endurance (it's not named as such in “The Encouraging Gardener”, though the verse from the Hammond collection has “Stand up! Oh, stand up my jolly oak!”), willow for sorrow, and rue for regret (the association is from just an accident of etymology). Less obvious are the marjoram, which stands for remembrance, and the gilly-flower. Wiki says the gilly-flower could be either the carnation, the stock, or the wall-flower. The carnation symbolises the ties of love, and the stock is for beauty. But as “The Garden of Thyme” says the gilly-flower grows close to the wall I suppose the wall-flower is meant, and it stands for “fidelity in adversity”.

I haven't heard of a plant called hope, but no doubt (like rue) it means what it says. And I don't know what the yellow pegell is either - the colour might be significant, but I'll keep my thoughts on that to myself.

Thyme remains a little ambiguous. Though it obviously means virginity in the songs, Jim Carroll's post about it standing for strength, either physical or mental, has merit too. After all, to resist the advances of jolly sailors or randy postmen, a girl is going to need a bit of strength of character, so perhaps there is a blending of meanings here.

I have to say though that I disagree that “The Garden of Thyme” could be close to an original source of “Let no man steal your thyme”. There is little textual similarity, and it ends with reconciliation, not regret and determination. Did you mean “The Encouraging Gardener”? I think too that “I sowed the seeds of love” is a different song, even though it is tacked onto “The Encouraging Gardener”. The verses are completely different, and the symbolism of flowers in “I sowed the seeds of love” is much more complex.

Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Mar 18 - 08:44 PM

" I repeat- I NEVER SAID ANY OF THAT!!!!!"
And I repeat - any enthusiast who attacks another enthusiast he had never met and attributes to him things that are not true is somewhat despicable
Anybosy who continues to do so three dacades after his death is a necrophobic ghoul
Your abuse of me is just as unreasonable - I met you once and we never discussed any of this so you have no idea what I do and how I think
I offer opinions on folk song - no more
Finis
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 02:46 AM

And having listened to Carrie Mulligan's version again just now, I say that it's probably one of the best versions.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 03:49 AM

This thread reminds me that in my very first posting to the 'Cat' I confused 'Let No Man Steal Away Your Thyme' and 'I Sowed The Seeds Of Love'. I also notice that until this one, I have posted exactly 666 times.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Kenny B
Date: 27 Mar 18 - 10:07 AM

Rusty Dobro.... did you post with a devilish gleam in your eye?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 28 Mar 18 - 01:48 PM

more ignorant untruths, I did meet MacColl- you know nothing do you, JC? I don't remember meeting you -nor do I care- back to the subject


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 18 - 07:13 PM

Whty should I lie - how should I know you met MacColl
You give every impression that you don't now the slightest thing about
him
Do not accuse mme of lying 0- I don't tell lies
If I hadn't known MacColl for twenty odd years I would have had no trouble making up my mind about him by tha behaviour of those who spend so mu7ch time slagging him off
A bunch of largely untalented no-marks working off their inadequacies an a dead man
Ignorant untruths is an oxymoron by the way - if you are ignorant about something you can't tell lies about it (you may be mistaken, of course)
Just thought I'd mention it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Gordon Jackson
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 02:22 AM

This is getting really tiresome.

Can you two start your own exclusive thread where you can slag each other off to your heart's content?

I know we'll still get 'It's not me, it's him' posts - but really, the rest of us just want to talk about thyme!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Senoufou
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 03:08 AM

(Ignoring the tiresome ongoing Clash of the Titans...)

Regarding the symbolism in this song, I always took the bunch of thyme to represent Virginity, although rosemary is often used to represent this, particularly with regard to the Virgin Mary.

The 'lusty sailor who gave to her a rose, a rose which never would decay' was a flowery way of saying he infected her with a sexually transmitted disease (syphilis?)

In the song 'Will Ye Go Lassie Go?' the lad suggests they go off to pick wild mountain thyme, which I used to assume amounted to much the same thing (taking her virginity)

It amuses me when even today, young women refer coyly to their 'lady garden'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 05:00 AM

Sorry all - I attempted to participate in this thread and got waylaid
I'm out of that side of it now - hopefully that's the end of it
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 08:40 AM

Senoufou,
I think the 'Garden of Thyme' version given earlier presents the most obvious answers to meanings, although meanings can change over thyme.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 12:36 PM

I think I apologised to almost all on this thread some time back for leaving the subject?
I think all I said a while ago was that I thought the version current in Scotland in the sixties had come from Sheena Wellington's grandma and a mild observation that FOR ME, a song's origins, while valuable and maybe interesting, would not be important in my choice of a song!

This is a personal view, and it doesn't seem unreasonable to me, and how Ewan MacColl became part of it, I really don't understand.

I certainly don't have the extreme views on the man credited to me by JC, and I've tried to explain that to him without success.

So I have no interest in further argument, and as previously suggested at least twice,please carry on discussing what is a grand song in all of its versions....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 01:12 PM

Hi Jim,
>>>FOR ME, a song's origins, while valuable and maybe interesting, would not be important in my choice of a song<<<

Couldn't agree more. I spend an awful lot of time looking into the origins and evolution of songs, but when it comes to singing 'em this has no bearing whatsoever on my choices.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 02:11 PM

Senoufou - Can't say why, but I never connected the symbolism of thyme with Wild Mountain Thyme. Hmmm ... so he's not building her a bower just so they can have a picnic.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 02:14 PM

"would not be important in my choice of a song"
s a singer - me neither - as a researcher with an interest in local and social, it's essential
ential
But then again, I'm an outsider revivalist so any identification I have as a singer needs to be personal
That is not the same for the traditional singers we met for whom social identification was an element in how they sang their songs - they took ownership of them   
Jim Caaarroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 02:23 PM

Could Sid Kipper's version 'The Wild Mounting Time' have some bearing on this?

I'm pretty certain 'Will ye go, Lassie go' has no symbolism in it. What would suggest that it had? Just the mention of the word 'thyme' doesn't suggest any double meaning.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 29 Mar 18 - 06:23 PM

Oh well, it looks like I'm the kind of person who likes double meanings, and no doubt whenever I now hear thyme mentioned in any song I'll leer like the old lecher I am. When I stop leering I'll start worrying.

Of course, no one will want to sing a song just because it happens to have an interesting history or an ancient origin, but occasionally a bit of research might improve one's appreciation, as understanding the poetry of the flower symbolism in this song did for me.

Anyway, as Leadfingers has plaintively pointed out a couple of times, (are you still there Leadfingers?) we have gone way off-topic and should be getting back to his original request for information about the melody. I have three melodies in my collection – one is from Marrowbones and another is related to it. On looking at the Marrowbones tune I can see that there are similarities to 'Careless Love'. I looked W. C. Handy up on Wiki, where it says that he did indeed “use elements of folk music” (which he acknowledged), though the article doesn't specifically mention English folk. But looking at the list of Compositions in the article, Wiki doesn't list 'Careless Love' as one of his. Instead it has 'Loveless Love', and says it is “based in part on the classic Careless Love”. Clicking on the link to 'Careless Love', Wiki says it is “a traditional song of obscure origins … the song's melody is also used in other blues [!] songs, notably 'A Bunch of Thyme'”.

Sorry about that bit of nit-picking about authorship. No doubt Cambridge Systemica now has me marked as a pedant as well as a lecher.

Anyway, there seems to be a link (no doubt we can politely debate how tenuous it is) from the pleasure gardens of London in the 1750s (the earliest we know of, though of course it could go back even further) to Basingstoke in the 1850s (or whenever Mr Marlow, who gave the song to Henry Hammond, first learned it), to America in perhaps the early 20th century. Unfortunately we don't know what tune those distant singers used so my link could be highly fanciful, but not impossible. Of course, I'm talking about mutations of the Marrowbones tune, which is what I assume Leadfingers means when he says “the commonly accepted tune”. It's a lovely melody, but the one I prefer is the third in my collection, a beautifully poignant tune collected by Cecil Sharp from William Stokes of Somerset. There are a couple more on The Full English website. I haven't looked closely at them yet so I can't say if they are variants or completely different.

As always when one tries to make sense of historical evidence, more questions arise. How did the Marrowbones tune get to America and who turned it into 'Careless Love'? Is there an American version of 'Let no Man Steal Your Thyme'? And if so, what does it sound like? And for that matter, to what extent can we regard LNMSYT as a blues song? (I expect that if anyone answers that it will ignite another fierce argument. Perhaps it should go in a separate thread.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Mar 18 - 01:50 PM

Damn and blast. Lost it again! I have other early versions and proof the song existed prior to 1696.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 30 Mar 18 - 01:51 PM

OK we seem to have resolved something there- it's all down to the needs of the individual in the end!

I think, Jim, that your comment re 'traditional' singers taking possession of a song is important.

Fred Jordan probably learned the 'Spinning Wheel' song from Ruby Murray, but he didn't perform it anything like she did- he made it his own, singing it as only Fred could AND rightly so.... he'd made it his own


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Mar 18 - 01:53 PM

In the Pepys Collection there is 'The Young-Man's Answer to the Maids Garden of Tyme'. There will be a copy at UCSB website EBBA.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Mar 18 - 01:55 PM

The Answer is full of sexual imagery, even moreso and more obvious than the progenitor, which must have been something like The Garden of Thyme given earlier.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Mar 18 - 02:05 PM

If you want to hear a masterful traditional rendering of the song I strongly recommend the Joseph Taylor recording made by Percy Grainger on a cylinder in 1906. It was track 1 on the Leader album 'Unto Brigg Fair' but is available on more recent recordings such as Vol 12 of the Topic Voice of the People series, (still available) there track 23; among others.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 04:17 AM

Fred Jordan was both a tradtional singer and a revival singer
.Revival singers make a song their own as well, as does any singer of any worth regardless of how they are labelled, it makes no difference if they are a revival singer a jazz singer or a tradtional singer a good singer will make the song their own


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 04:26 AM

"Fred Jordan was both a tradtional singer and a revival singer"
He can't be both Dick - one can be influenced by the other
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 08:29 AM

WHY NOT? he learned a small part of his repertoire from his family ,he then learned the rest of his repertoire ion the same way as revival singers ,he was both


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 08:38 AM

"WHY NOT? he learned a small part of his repertoire from his family"
Not arguing with you here Dick
Most,   if not all our traditional singers learned songs after the tradition died - that does not make them rivval singers
Sorry, please leave it there and agree to disagree - this thread has been naused up quite enough with my arguments
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: JeffB
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 09:41 AM

I think 'The spinning Wheel' was recorded by Delia Murphy.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 12:59 PM

Yes it was, and the better version, but I think Ruby Murray had the commercial hit......

and I'm not going to start distinguishing between 'revival' and 'traditional' singers - that way lies aggro- a review one of my CD's contained the wonderful words below..

'Jim just goes on singing the songs he likes'

what's the alternative?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme
From: Kenny B
Date: 31 Mar 18 - 03:59 PM

Nice one JB


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