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Origins: May Morning Dew

DigiTrad:
CORNISH MAY CAROL
DRAWING NEARER TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY
MAY DAY CAROL
MAY DAY CAROL (2)
MAY MORNING CAROL
MAY MORNING DEW
QUEEN OF THE MAY


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Lyr Req: Come Lasses and Lads (4)


Ella who is Sooze 13 Mar 01 - 05:22 AM
Joe Offer 13 Mar 01 - 05:36 AM
nutty 13 Mar 01 - 06:04 AM
Ella who is Sooze 13 Mar 01 - 06:21 AM
MartinRyan 13 Mar 01 - 06:26 AM
Ella who is Sooze 13 Mar 01 - 06:47 AM
gnu 13 Mar 01 - 08:33 AM
gnu 13 Mar 01 - 08:39 AM
Alice 13 Mar 01 - 09:03 AM
gnu 13 Mar 01 - 09:29 AM
gnu 13 Mar 01 - 09:37 AM
gnu 13 Mar 01 - 10:19 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 13 Mar 01 - 11:57 PM
Eldergirl 02 Sep 13 - 09:39 PM
Reinhard 03 Sep 13 - 01:17 AM
Eldergirl 03 Sep 13 - 04:52 AM
Reinhard 03 Sep 13 - 12:06 PM
Eldergirl 03 Sep 13 - 04:06 PM
MartinRyan 03 Sep 13 - 05:53 PM
Reinhard 03 Sep 13 - 08:43 PM
Reinhard 03 Sep 13 - 09:25 PM
medievallassie 17 Jul 18 - 05:00 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 18 - 06:03 AM
medievallassie 21 Jul 18 - 02:32 AM
medievallassie 21 Jul 18 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 21 Jul 18 - 10:16 AM
michaelr 21 Jul 18 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 21 Jul 18 - 02:35 PM
Noreen 22 Jul 18 - 08:38 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jul 18 - 03:12 AM
medievallassie 24 Jul 18 - 05:56 PM
Jim Carroll 25 Jul 18 - 01:38 AM
medievallassie 25 Jul 18 - 11:36 PM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 02:04 AM
Jim Carroll 26 Jul 18 - 02:12 AM
medievallassie 26 Jul 18 - 02:22 AM
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Subject: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 05:22 AM

Hallooo all

Just done a forum search and couldn't find it...

But I am looking for the lyrics to The May Morning Dew, as sung on the Chieftans, Water from the Well CD.

Goes something like,

How pleasant in winter to sit by the hearth

etc

hope someone can help..

Ell


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 05:36 AM

Hi, Ell - it's best not to search by song title. I searched for pleasant in winter and came up with this (click) in the Digital Tradition. The lyrics say you're supposed to "sit by the hob"? Hearth sounds better to me.
Here are the Digital Tradition lyrics. Anybody know where they're from?

MAY MORNING DEW (DT Lyrics)

How pleasant in winter to sit by the hob
Listening to the sounds and the bark of a dog
Or in summer to wander the wide valleys through
And to pick the wild flowers in the May morning dew

Summer is coming, Oh, Summer is near
With the leaves on the trees and the sky blue and clear
And the small birds are singing their fond notes so true
And the wild flowers are springing in the May morning dew

The house I was born in is but a stone on a stone
And all round the garden the weeds they have grown
And all the fine neighbours that ever I knew
Like the red rose have perished in the May morning dew.

God be with the old folk, they are all dead and gone
And likewise my brothers, young Denis and John
As we tripped thrugh the heather, wild hares to pursue
Our joys they did mingle in the May morning dew

@Irish
filename[ MAYMRNDW
MR
apr97

The Traditional Ballad Index has very little on this song.

May Morning Dew

DESCRIPTION: Winter is pleasant but summer is coming with memories of old times when "we tripped through the heather" The old house has fallen, garden overgrown, and all the neighbors "like the red rose they are faded from the May Morning Dew"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1979 (Tunney-StoneFiddle)
KEYWORDS: flowers nonballad family home
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Tunney-StoneFiddle, pp. 30-31, "May Morning Dew" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, MAYMRNDW

Roud #5405
RECORDINGS:
Kitty Hayes, "May Morning Dew" (on IRClare01)
File: DTmaymor

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: nutty
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:04 AM

The "HOB" is what we used to call ( in Yorkshire ) that part of the old iron fireplaces that held the pans and swung onto and off the fire so that the heat could be controlled


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:21 AM

Thanks Joe... I missed off an a at the end of my name... lol

Can always rely on the mudcat can't you, great stuff... ta.

Hearth sounds better to me too... easier to sing too.

Cheers

Ella


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:26 AM

hob...dog - the assonance is very Irish.
hearth...dog? Naah!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: Ella who is Sooze
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:47 AM

lol martin... I know... it is very Irish.... hob dog...

etc... lol


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:33 AM

....by the HOB. HOB HOB HOB !!!!!

gnu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:39 AM

If nobody has Coneff's version in type, I'll type it up as soon as I can and post it. His rendition is priceless. Who says Hran players have no talent, besides Kevin ?

gnu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: Alice
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:03 AM

Also on a Foltrax tape 60-161 available from John Moulden's Ulstersongs, collected from the singing of Annie Jane Kelly. "Arriving at Sarah Makem's house... greeted the 2 collectors... "You're as welcome as the flowers in May"... Annie Jane sang them some of the most lyrical love songs they had ever recorded....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:29 AM

Was saddened to hear about Sarah. Haven't heard any details, though. Anyone know the scoop ? Was going to send condolences, but only heard about two weeks after, from my cousin who learned from Evans & Doherty on their return trip from the services, so I felt it was a bit late.

gnu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 09:37 AM

Just got an email correcting me - Mary Makem passed in early February...NOT Sarah. My sincerest apologies to all.

gnu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: gnu
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:19 AM

Another email from another buddy of mine who sometimes follows 'Cat discussions. Yes, I know who Sarah Makem was, and I know the difference as per the reference by Alice above, but I was told Tom's wife was also named Sarah. Again, my apologies for being less than clear in both of my posts re Tom's late wife. No need to beat a dead gnu.

gnu


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew Lyrics- Please?
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:57 PM

George and I got this song from Annie Jane Kelly in 1952 or '53, my "Fulbright year" in Ireland, England & Scotland. It was in Sarah Makem's house in Keady, and a good part of the town was there, all with songs, banjos, pipes, fiddles and tin whistles. Sarah was an incredible singer and we traded songs until the crowd came. When Annie Jane started to sing, "May Morning Dew," Sarah said, not to softly, "AH- I was going to sing ye that one myself!" The lyric given above has the same form as Annie Jane's, but her words are subtly different most all the way through (e.g. last verse, AJ's says, ..."and we'll mingle our tears in the May morning dew..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew (Chieftains)
From: Eldergirl
Date: 02 Sep 13 - 09:39 PM

Does anyone have the variant lyrics for this song? I'm sure I heard it sung by Peta Webb (I think) about 20 years ago, and her lyrics were not same as those in the D.Trad. er, help?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew (Chieftains)
From: Reinhard
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 01:17 AM

Peta Webb recorded May Morning Dew on her 1980 Topic album with Alison McMorland. The sleeve notes say that she got it from John Lyons. He got it from Paddy Tunney and sang it as the title track of his 1974 Topic album.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew (Chieftains)
From: Eldergirl
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 04:52 AM

Thanks Reinhard, I will have to track it down. Amazon, here I come..


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Subject: Lyr Add: MAY MORNING DEW (from Peta Webb)
From: Reinhard
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 12:06 PM

This is Peta Webb on her Topic album:

MAY MORNING DEW
(from Peta Webb)

How pleasant in winter to sit by the hob,
Listening to the bark in the house of the dog,
Or in summer to wander the wide valleys through
And to pluck the wild flowers in the May morning dew.

Summer is coming, oh, summer is here
With the leaves all so green and the sky bright and clear.
And the birds they are singing their loved ones to woo
And the flowers they are springing in the May morning dew.

God be with the old folks who are now dead and gone
And likewise my brothers, young Michael and John,
As they tramped through the heather the wild hare to pursue
And their joys they would mingle in the May morning dew.

The house we were reared in is but a stone on a stone
And all around the garden with weeds is all grown.
And all the kind neighbours that ever I knew,
Like the wild rose they are withered in the May morning dew.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew (Chieftains)
From: Eldergirl
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 04:06 PM

Thanks again Reinhard. This proves that I can't trust my ears as much as I thought I could. This'll put me straight!
Mudcat is a wonderful thing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew (Chieftains)
From: MartinRyan
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 05:53 PM

"Listening to the bark and the howls of the dog" - or very slight variation on it - is the usual second line, verse 1.
Click here to hear a fine version by Sean Keane.
Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The May Morning Dew (Chieftains)
From: Reinhard
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 08:43 PM

Thank you for the correction Martin. I surely misheard what Peta sang.


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Subject: Lyr Add: MAY MORNING DEW
From: Reinhard
Date: 03 Sep 13 - 09:25 PM

A few more versions:

Annie Jane Kelly sang The May Morning Dew on July 14, 1952 in Kead, Co Armagh, to Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle. This recording was included in 2011 on Sarah Makem's Musical Traditions anthology As I Roved Out. The verses are from the accompanying booklet:

How sweet it is in yule times to sit by the hearth,
It's in winter when the dark clouds are crossing the earth.
In summer to wander the green meadows through
And the lark it will be rising on the May morning dew.

Oh it's summer is coming, oh, it's summer once more
Brings with it the soft sun and four motley birds
For the birds they'll be singing and the skies they'll be blue
And the flowers will be springing on the May morning dew.

For it's God be with old times that is faded and gone,
Likewise my two brothers, young Emmett and John.
For it's […] them where the wild hare 'tis viewed
And we'll mingle our tears on the May morning dew.

We will stand on the hill side and just gaze all around
Where all the kind people and its pleasure was found.
And all the kind neighbours which in new times I knew
Like the green fields are fading on the May morning dew.

On the home of our homesteads not a stone upon stone
For our gardens will blossom while the weeds they are growing.
For we'll curse the old tyrants which caused them to rue
And we'll fish the bright waters on the May morning dew.


Mike Taylor sang May Morning Dew in 1994 on Incantation's Cooking Vinyl CD Sergeant Early's Dream. Again the verses are copied from the liner notes:

How pleasant, in winter, to sit by the hob,
Listening to the barks and the howls of a dog,
Oh in summer to wander the wide valley through
And to pluck the wild flowers in the May morning dew.

Summer is coming, oh, summer is here
With the leaves on the trees and the sky blue and clear.
And the birds they are singing their their fond notes so true
And the flowers they are springing in the May morning dew.

The house I was reared in, there's not a stone on a stone
And all round the garden the weeds, they have grown.
And all the kind neighbours that ever I knew,
Like the red rose they've withered in the May morning dew.

God be with the old folks who are now dead and gone
And likewise my brothers, young Dennis and John,
As they tripped through the heather, the wild hare to pursue,
With their joys they were mingled in the May morning dew.


Joan Mills sang The May Morning Dew in 2000 on Frankie Armstrong's Fellside CD The Garden of Love:

How pleasant in winter to sit by the hob,
Listening to the dogs as they howl and they bark,
Or in summer to wander the wide valleys through
Picking wild heather in the May morning dew.

Oh, summer is coming, oh, summer is here
And the leaves on the trees and the sky's bright and clear.
And the birds they are singing songs so sweet and so true
As I walk through the heather in the May morning dew.

I long for my old friends who are now long since gone,
Also my brothers, young Dennis and John,
As they ran through the meadows the wild hare to pursue
There's nothing left now but the heather in the May morning dew.

And the house I was born in now is nothing but stone
And all o'er the garden the weeds they have grown.
And all the kind neighbours that ever I knew,
Like the red rose they have faded in the May morning dew.

And how pleasant in winter to sit by the hob,
Listening to the dogs as they howl and they bark,
Or in summer to wander the sweet meadows through
Picking wild heather in the May morning dew.


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Subject: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: medievallassie
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 05:00 AM

For the past few years I have been introducing the song "May Morning Dew" by discussing the Crossroads and the ban on Irish language and music. I then mention that this song is one of the first sean-nos songs to be written in English. Well, after singing it this weekend it occurred to me that I had gotten that information from somewhere but I had no clue "where" that somewhere was! A quick check online and in the search results here yielded no reliable information. Does anyone have some information about the origins of this lovely song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 18 - 06:03 AM

You can listen to it HERE
As you can see from my note, I was unable to find much information on it
It is obviously a post Famine song (latter half of the 19th century) so it is hardly one of the first sean-nos songs to be written in English, I would have thought
The term, sean-nos (old style) is misleading; I don't believe this particular song is particularly old style - that is usually applied to the highly ornamented songs in Irish
Thiis is one of many thousands laments made during the emigrations, most of which have a distinctive style of their own
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: medievallassie
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 02:32 AM

Thank you Jim. I realize that in most cases sean nos is highly ornamented but it is very definitely regional with regard to how much ornamentation is placed in the song. The term sean nos meaning "Old style" is generally more of a nod to being sung without accompaniment which...because it was not embellished with an instrument....became ornamented as a way to interpret the song. When I sing it, it is without accompaniment and it is "somewhat" ornamented but very definitely in the old style. Modal notes and lots of up and downs, lol!

I see your point about it being too late for being a sean nos in English but frankly no one seems to be able to verify its origin so without knowing just how old it is, it's anybody's guess sadly. Unless I can find the information I recalled from years ago, I guess I will just change the introduction of the song to "This is a beautiful song. It's old but that's all I know. I hope you enjoy it." :-) That should work.


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: medievallassie
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 02:43 AM

Immediately after posting the item above, I started another search for information and came across this recent blog post. It seems we are not the only ones curious about the origins of "May Morning Dew".

https://www.colcannon.com/blog/blog/about-the-song-the-may-morning-dew


I also did a quick look in the Sam Henry tome "Songs of the People" and May Morning Dew was not even mentioned. I find that very peculiar especially since it is old enough to be mentioned by Paddy Tunney. Although I sing the more common version of song that is listed several times in this thread, I do have a different version that has a much more archaic language I suspect is older but again I have no proof. The search continues....


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 10:16 AM

In the Irish language, "sean-nós" refers to a style of SINGING, rather than a type of SONG. That style does show a good deal of regional variation - just like the language itself! Partly due to tradition and partly due to the influence of competition (the term first appears in connection with Feiseanna around the end of 19C.), certain songs are strongly associated with the style and that repertoire is often loosely referred to as "sean-nós songs".

A native speaker of Irish would never refer to a song in English as "sean-nós", even if when singing such s/he used elements of sean-nós style.

Some elements of sean-nós style have, of course, transferred into traditional singing in English - and many of the airs have been adopted to carry such, making the use of ornamentation, for example, quite natural.

So, the idea of "a sean-nós song written in English " is not a particularly helpful way of characterising any song.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: michaelr
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 12:53 PM

I didn't know this was a song, having only encountered this Moving Hearts instrumental played on the low whistle by Davy Spillane. Would you say it's the same tune?


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 21 Jul 18 - 02:35 PM

'A native speaker of Irish would never refer to a song in English as "sean-nós", even if when singing such s/he used elements of sean-nós style.'

Never say never Martin. At the Willie Clancy singing recital last week something very close to that was said about a song sung by (I believe) Étáin Ní Churraoin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: Noreen
Date: 22 Jul 18 - 08:38 AM

Hi michaelr, yes that's the same beautiful tune, though it wouldn't be easy to sing along...

Thanks very much for posting that link- I'll be listening to as much of the rest of that concert as I can find on youtube for the rest of the day :)


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jul 18 - 03:12 AM

"though it wouldn't be easy to sing along..."
I'm not sure what that means
What has always struck me about most of the emigration songs is that they are private expressions of grief, to be felt rather than 'performed'
To over-perform them can be to kill them
Even though I come from a family that first turned up in Britain as 'Famine Refugees', when we started collecting songs in Ireland and were given so many of these laments, I found myself thinking, 'Oh dear, not another one!'
That was until I realised their importance to the Irish as a people
Living in Ireland now, it's chastening to realise that I don't know a single family which has lost large number to emigration - and that has almost certainly been the case since the middle of the 19th century.
I think information like that is the secret to singing these songs - nothing to do with ornamentation or any other technique

For me, THIS is by far the most poignant song we ever came across on the subject
A daughter of the singer once described him singing this song at family gatherings each Christmas and reducing the entire room to floods of tears when they remembered how many relatives they had lost through emigration - it's not hard to understand why it had that effect   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: medievallassie
Date: 24 Jul 18 - 05:56 PM

Thank you, Jim, for the link to Blessed Christmas Day. By any chance do you have access to the tune or the sheet music?


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 01:38 AM

If you click the "THIS on my message you will open up the singer singing it and a set of words
Beyond that, I'm not aware that it's ever been published
I can send you a recording of it being sung
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: medievallassie
Date: 25 Jul 18 - 11:36 PM

Jim, I did click the link and all I was able to see were the lyrics. There was not a singer singing it at all. If you are willing to share a recording I would be most grateful.


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 02:04 AM

Open the link again and you should find a bar above the lyrics - click the left hand side aroow abd toy ahould be able to listen to it - on tor computer - perhaps headphones are necessary
If you can't, PM me your e-mail address and I'll send it to you - it's probably small enough to attach it to an e-mail
I am able to send it to you up to Sunday, then I'm away for a few days
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 02:12 AM

The sound link works - just tested it
HERE
Jim


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Subject: RE: Origins: May Morning Dew
From: medievallassie
Date: 26 Jul 18 - 02:22 AM

Thanks for mentioning the bar thingy above the lyrics, lol! For some strange reason it was a solid black bar when I would go to the page so I thought it was just a fat line, lol! No buttons no nothing..just a wide black shape. Since you said that was the file I went ahead and put the mouse over it and sure enough I got a message that asked if I wanted to run flash. I have no idea why it did that since I use a flash player all the time and it never asked for permission before. Strange...

Anyway, thank you. I have what I needed. :-)


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