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Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)

GUEST,Jo 02 Feb 01 - 03:55 PM
NightWing 02 Feb 01 - 04:12 PM
MMario 02 Feb 01 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 02 Feb 01 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Jo 03 Feb 01 - 04:52 PM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 01 - 07:09 PM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Feb 01 - 09:42 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Feb 01 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 04 Feb 01 - 03:19 PM
Le Scaramouche 02 Aug 05 - 05:44 AM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Aug 05 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Le Scaramouche 03 Aug 05 - 10:22 AM
Malcolm Douglas 03 Aug 05 - 11:11 AM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 10 - 06:23 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Nov 10 - 06:51 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Nov 10 - 10:42 AM
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Subject: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: GUEST,Jo
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 03:55 PM

Hope I've titled this thread correctly this time.Anyone got the lyrics for this?

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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: NightWing
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 04:12 PM

Give us some more lyrics. I'm not even coming up with a clue with just "Bloody Gardener".


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLOODY GARDENER (from Martin Carthy)^^
From: MMario
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 04:16 PM

Sung by Martin Carthy on Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick's
Byker Hill LP (and the CD re-release), and re-released on Martin
Carthy: A Collection.


It's of a girl so fair and a shepherd's daughter dear
She was courted by her own dear heart's delight
But his mother laid a snare and false letters did prepare
Saying, Meet me in the garden here this night

So this young girl arose and into the garden goes
Expecting there to meet her heart's delight
Oh she searched the garden around but no true love could be found
Till at length the bloody gardener came in sight

Said he, Me pretty maid and what brings you this way
Oh have you come to rob me flowers so gay
She cries, No thief I am but I am in search of some young man
Who promised that he'd meet me here today

But he took out his knife and cut her tender thread of life
And he laid her virtuous body to bleed on the ground
And with those flowers fine and gay this girl he did over lay
In a way her body never would be found

Then her true love arose and into the garden goes
And a milk-white dove come fluttering where she lay
And with battering wings so sweet all around this young man's feet
But when he rose this dove she flew away

Oh the dove she flew away and into some myrtle tree
And the young man followed after full of pain
And it's from this tree so tall down on her grave did fall
The fresh blood from off her breast like crimson rain

The young man in anger rose and back to his home he goes
Crying, Cursed be my mother here this day
Oh you've robbed me of my joy, my jewel and my toy
And I rue the life you ever gave to me


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 02 Feb 01 - 05:47 PM

For many much longer versions search the title index for 'bloody gardener" on the Bodley Ballads website (Mudcat's Links)

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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: GUEST,Jo
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 04:52 PM

Thanks, MMario . That's the one, and in fact I now remember that I heard Martin Carthy sing it a couple of years ago.

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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 07:09 PM

Any more background information on this song? This sounds like such a classic that I'm surprised I couldn't find a version in the database - is there a version that that I missed?
-Joe Offer-

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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Feb 01 - 09:42 PM

There are a good few broadside examples -some very long indeed- at the  Bodleian Library Broadside Collection;  Go to "Browse Index" and enter "bloody gardener".


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 11:53 AM

I somehow overlooked Bruce's earlier reference to the broadside examples.  Carthy's sleeve-notes say this:

"A.L. Lloyd first 'discovered' The Bloody Gardener in a Vauxhall Gardens songbook of c. 1770, but it did appear in several broadsides in a form very close to the one sung here.  It is curious that the ballad has not attracted more attention among scholars, for the story contains very old folkloric notions.  Curious too that such a primitive-fantasy song should have been sufficiently popular in 18th century pleasure gardens to have earned a place in the annual printed songbook."

If Lloyd was involved, we will probably never know any more than that about it!


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Bloody gardener
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 03:19 PM

Steve Roud's folksong index only lists one traditional version, that in Maud Karples' 'Folk Songs from Newfoundland', which I don't have.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 05:44 AM

The other day I was lucky enough to find a Martin Carth CD, "Selections" and in the sleevenotes they credit the "Bloody Gardener" (and Davy Lowston) to Bert Lloyd!

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Aug 05 - 06:26 PM

Ah, those compilations! Lloyd was Carthy's immediate source, though, and had recorded the song himself in 1956 or thereabouts. Although (see above) Lloyd said he had found a text "in a Vauxhall Gardens songbook of c.1770", I've still not come across any other reference to such, though it certainly did appear on broadsides and in chapbooks from the mid-18th century onwards. It's likely that Lloyd re-wrote the words himself from printed and traditional sources, setting them to a tune that Maud Karpeles found with the ballad in Newfoundland, again modified by himself; so a partial writer's credit is fair enough, though it's a pity that he wasn't more forthcoming about his own interventions.

There are two sets of the song from genuine tradition (both Newfoundland) at

The Bloody Gardener
The Bloody Garden

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)
From: GUEST,Le Scaramouche
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 10:22 AM

Yes, I think trad. arr. Lloyd would have been more in order. Does anyone know if it was vredited to Lloyd in the original 1971 "Selections"?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 03 Aug 05 - 11:11 AM

Yes, it was; and so was Davy Lowston. In the case of 'The Bloody Gardener' at least, there was a good bit of Lloyd in it; but copyright here will be in that particular form of the song, of course, not a claim to have to written the whole thing. You had to do that sort of thing in those days in order to make sure that any royalty went to you rather than somebody who had had nothing to do with it.

A friend of mine once conscientiously checked the copyright details for 'Reynardine' (most people just assume it's public domain and don't bother to check when they record an arrangement of it) and found Lloyd's name on that, too; again with some real justification as it turns out.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 10 - 06:23 PM

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

    Bloody Gardener, The

    DESCRIPTION: A lord loves a shepherd's daughter. His mother pays the gardner to kill and bury the shepherdess. The mother confesses and reveals the body. The lord kills himself. The lovers are buried together and the gardener is hanged.
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: before 1764 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 1(100)); ; c.1705 (broadside, NLScotland S.302.b.2(063))
    KEYWORDS: courting love virginity burial suicide murder bird father mother gardening money punishment execution
    FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
    REFERENCES (2 citations):
    Peacock, pp. 668-670, "The Bloody Garden" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Karpeles-Newfoundland 25, "The Bloody Gardener" (1 text, 1 tune)

    Roud #1700
    Bodleian, Harding B 1(100), "The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty" or "The Shepherd's Daughter Betrayed," W. and C. Dicey (London), 1736-1763; also Harding B 1(101),"The Bloody Gardiner's Cruelty" or "The Shepherd's Daughter Betrayed"; Douce Ballads 3(2b), Harding B 1(103), "The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty" or "The Shepherd's Daughter Betray'd"; Harding B 1(102), Harding B 1(94), Firth c.18(7), "The Bloody Gardiner's Cruelty" or "The Shepherd's Daughter Betrayed"; 2806 c.17(39)[parts faded to illegibility], Harding B 5(113), Harding B 11(330), "[The] Bloody Gardener"; Harding B 1(104), "The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty"
    NLScotland, S.302.b.2(063), "The Bloody Gardener's Cruelty; Or, The Shepherd's Daughter Betray'd," unknown, c. 1705 [poorly printed and nearly illegible]

    File: Pea668

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Bibiography
    Go to the Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bloody Gardener (from Martin Carthy)
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Nov 10 - 06:51 PM

Joe, from my indexes all I can add quickly is the versions in Madden Collection, at least 3, You can get the proper references from the Roud Broadside Index. There's one by Aldermary Church Yard (=Dicey), one by Pitts and one without imprint. My own index throws up numerous versions. Just about all the well-known printers printed it, mostly in 28 stanzas but some with less. Armstrong of Liverpool had a 17 st version.

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLOODY GARDENER'S CRUELTY (Bodleian)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 10:42 AM

From the Bodleian Library broadside collection, Harding B 1(100), "between 1736 and 1763":

The Bloody GARDENER'S Cruelty;
Or, The Shepherd's Daughter betrayed.

[1] Come all you constant Lovers, and to me lend an ear,
And mind this sad relation, which I do give you here:
It is of a Maiden fair, a Shepherd's Daughter dear;
But Love did prove her utter overthrow.

[2] She was of beauteous mold, fair and clear to behold,
And by a noble lord she courted were.
But was too young, we find, as yet fond love to mind;
Yet little Cupid did her heart ensnare.

[3] His Parents they were all of high degree,
They said, She is no match at all for thee.
If you'd our blessing have, grant us but what we crave,
And wed with none but whom we shall agree.

[4] Dear son, for you we have chosen out a bride,
With store of gold, and beautiful beside;
Of a temper kind and free, she is the girl for me,
But not a shepherd's daughter of mean degree.

[5] And if by us you'll not be ruled or led,
You from our presence shall be banished:
No more we will you own to be our only son:
Then let our will be done, to end the strife.

[6] Madam, said he, if a Begging I should go,
I should be well contented so to do
If that I could but have the girl that I do crave,
No cursed gold should part my love and me.

[7] Was she as poor as Job, and I of royal robe,
And lord of all the globe, she should be mine.

His mother said in scorn, Thou art most nobly born,
And with a beggar's brat shall never join.

[8] He hearing of his mother to say so,
His eyes did then with tears like fountains flow;
Saying, A promise I have made, and her heart betray'd,
Therefore no other for my bride I chuse.

[9] A cruel snare then for her life she laid,
And for to act this thing, oh! then she did,
With her gardener she agreed, to do this bloody deed,
And butcher her forthwith, and dig her grave.

[10] To the bloody gardener she gave fourscore pound,
To murther her, and lay her under ground,
All in a grave so deep, in everlasting sleep,
Hoping her fair body would not be found.

[11] She wrote a letter, and sent it with speed:
Saying, My dearest, with haste now proceed,
Meet me this night, I've something to declare
Poor girl, she little thought upon the deed.

[12] The youthful shepherdess of this nothing knew,
But went to meet her true love as she used to do:
She search'd the garden round, but no true love she found.
At length the bloody gardener did appear.

[13] What business have you here, madam, I pray?
Are you come here to rob the garden gay?

Cries she, No thief I am, but wait for a young man
Who did this night appoint to meet me here.

[14] He spoke no more, but strait a knife he took
And pierc'd her heart before one word she spoke,
Then on the ground she fell, crying, Sweet love, farewel.
O welcome, welcome, Death, thy fatal stroke.

[15] Was this done now, my dear, by your design?
Or by your cruel parents most unkind,
My life is thus betray'd?—farewel, vain world,
she said,
I hope in heaven I a place shall find.

[16] But when he saw her life was really gone,
Immediately he lay'd her in the ground.
With flowers fine and gay her corpse did overlay,
Intending that her body should not be found.

[17] Now all the time this lord he nothing knew,
But went to meet his true love as he used to do;
He search'd the vallies round, but no true love he found.
The little lambs went wand'ring to and fro'

[18] Lamenting greatly for their shepherdess.
Then he did lay him down upon the grass.
The heavens he did implore, to see his love once more.
Oh! then, ye gods above, I am surely blest.

[19] Oh! whither shall I seek that angel bright?
Who is alone my pleasure and delight:
Pray, if alive she be, let me my true love see,
Or else my soul will quickly take its flight.

[20] Whereat the woods and groves began to mourn,
The small birds they did sing a mournful tune,
Crying, Your love is gone, and you left quite alone.
Then on a mossy bank he laid him down.

[21] He had no sooner clos'd his eyes to sleep,
But a milk-white dove came to his breast.
Her fluttering wings did beat, which wak'd him out of sleep,
And then the dove took wing, and he was blest.

[22] To his mother's garden strait he did repair,
For to bemoan the loss of his own dear.
Here the dove once more he see, sat on a myrtle tree,
With dropping wings disconsolate she did appear.

[23] Oh! dove disconsolate, why do you come?
Have not you lost your love, as I have done?
That you do dodge me here, no comfort can I bear.

Then thus the dove replied, and then flew down.

[24] Saying, It was your mother order'd it so.
Then from her milk-white breast the blood did flow.
To the grove he did repair, but found no true love there,
Homewards the<>n to his mother he did go.

[25] And said, Mother most cruel and severe,
I fear you've kill'd my joy and only dear:
For a dove, I do declare, did all in blood appear.

He said, If she is dead, her fate I'll share.

[26] His mother, hearing what the son did say,
She turn'd as pale as death, and swoon'd away:
Then into distraction run, and told what she had done,
And where the virgin's body it then lay.

[27] He said no more, but straitways took a knife,
And said, Farewel to the comforts of my life,
Then into the garden flew, and pierc'd his body thro',
And said, 'Twas cursed gold caused all this strife.

[28] These loyal lovers in one tomb were laid,
And many a briny tear for them was shed.
And the gardener, as we hear, was apprehended there,
And hang'd in chains for being so severe.

Printed and Sold at the Printing-Office in Bow-Church-Yard, London.

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