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Origins: Bunch of Thyme


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Let No Man Steal Your Time / Thyme (92)
(origins) Lyr Add: Careless Love (various versions) (39)
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)

Ezio 07 Feb 98 - 02:54 AM
Susan of DT 07 Feb 98 - 05:11 AM
Bruce O. 07 Feb 98 - 12:27 PM
Bruce O. 07 Feb 98 - 12:51 PM
Art Thieme 18 Feb 98 - 08:43 PM
danl 22 Jun 99 - 02:28 PM
Alice 22 Jun 99 - 02:36 PM
Legal Eagle 22 Jun 99 - 04:19 PM
Susanne (skw) 22 Jun 99 - 06:18 PM
Margo 22 Jun 99 - 11:37 PM
Barbara 23 Jun 99 - 01:52 AM
Sandy Paton 23 Jun 99 - 03:50 AM
danl 24 Jun 99 - 02:28 PM
Art Thieme 28 Jun 99 - 12:12 PM
Joe Offer 30 Apr 16 - 02:40 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: BUNCH OF THYME
From: Ezio
Date: 07 Feb 98 - 02:54 AM


Come all ye maidens young and fair
And you that are blooming in your prime
Always beware and keep your garden fair
Let no man steal away your thyme

For thyme it is a precious thing
And thyme brings all things to my mind
only me with all its flavours, along with all its joys
Thyme, brings all things to my mind

Once I had a bunch of thyme
I thought it never would decay
Then came a lusty sailor
Who chanced to pass my way
And stole my bunch of thyme away


The sailor gave to me a rose
A rose that never would decay
He gave it to me to keep me reminded
Of when he stole my thyme away


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: Bunch of thyme
From: Susan of DT
Date: 07 Feb 98 - 05:11 AM

Search for thyme to find 19 songs, several of which are close cousins to this

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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: Bunch of thyme
From: Bruce O.
Date: 07 Feb 98 - 12:27 PM

There is a song said to be from a Mrs. Habersham and from the late 17th century called "Seeds of Love", which is a version of "The Garden of Thyme". There seems to be no extant version of a "Garden of Thyme" song on a broadside ballad of the 17th century, however, there is an answer to it, "The Young Man's Answer to the Maid's Garden of Thyme". This you can find in the internet braodside index. I suspect that the unknown original "The Maid's Garden of Thyme" was an early version of the Child balld "The Gardener Lad".

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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: Bunch of thyme
From: Bruce O.
Date: 07 Feb 98 - 12:51 PM

My memory turned out to be slightly off. It was claimed the Mrs. Habergham, who died in 1703, wrote the song. You can see the song (Seeds of Love/ Garden of Thyme) that's claimed to be her's in Bell's 'Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs'. On internet go to:

and find Bell's book on the homepage there, and click on 'large ftp file'. Song 'Seeds of Love' is about 20 pieces from the end of the book.

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Subject: RE: LYR ADD: Bunch of thyme
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Feb 98 - 08:43 PM

I once formed a group with Elvis Presley, Patty Page, Rosemary Cloony & me. We called ourselves Presley, Page, Rosemary and Thieme!

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Subject: Bunch of thyme
From: danl
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 02:28 PM

A Bunch of Thyme

does anyone know anything about this song? its in the database but i was wondering if anyone knew any trivia about it that i can dazzle my choir teacher with. he made us sing a three part adaptaion of it at a concert a few years ago. although it sounded wonderfull we all had great big grins on our faces and were watching all the old ladies and the head mistress at the back of the hall! they looked a bit confused when they started to realise what the words were about but we arried on regardless....! anyway, we revived it this evening at choir practice and taught it to all the new members and i wondered if anyone knew anything else about it that i can tell them. (also ive been telling my choir teacher about this site for ages and want to show off a bit so please someone come up with something good for me to prove how great you all are!!)

thanks! love ivy b*

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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Alice
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 02:36 PM

Ivy, all I can say is that I wish someone had impressed the warning message of this song into my brain when I was a teenager, and it would have saved me from alot of troubles in my life. You go, girl. -alice

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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Legal Eagle
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 04:19 PM

I thought my wife's collection had a learned book with stuff on it, but when I looked I couldn't find it! Sorry.

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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 06:18 PM

Enough trivia?

[1975:] The first song Cecil Sharp ever collected, from a gardener called John England(!), was a variant of this song, in which flower symbolism is used in a manner reminiscent of Ophelia's mad speeches in 'Hamlet'. (Shakespeare probably knew the song, since it is a good deal older than Sharp; it was first noted in 1689.) (Karl Dallas, notes 'The Electric Muse' 12)

[1979:] [Bunch of Thyme] Versions may be found in Ireland and Britain. It is closely connected with another song using symbols, The Seeds of Love. Thyme stands for hope and/or virginity. (Loesberg III, 76)

[1984:] 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. (Christy Moore Song Book 44)

[1984:] [Bunch of Thyme] This is perhaps one of the finest of all songs heard in the seventies. The words are reminiscent of those in Schubert's Heideröslein - yet they say more, especially the chorus. James Reeves in his chapter on "The Lingua Franca" in 'The Everlasting Circle' deals with the relation between specific flowers and human qualities. He defines thyme as virginity (though clearly it means far more than this in the above song), the rose as wanton passion, etc. It is difficult to know whether to write "thyme" or "time" at several places where either word would make sense, for there is a very subtle overlap between the two words. [...] The song is not one of the most popular but is still well known and is heard fairly regularly. (Ailie Munro, Revival 163)

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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Margo
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 11:37 PM

I must be losing my touch or something. I searched the DT and couldn't find "A Bunch of Thyme". I would like to see the lyrics. Could you tell me what words will bring it up?



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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Barbara
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 01:52 AM

I searched for "thyme" and got 20 hits, including Sprig of Thyme. didn't check them all to see if any had bunches of thyme, but if they do, possibly they have a bonny bunch of thyme. These dang search engines only do what you tell 'em, more's the pity.

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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 03:50 AM

I suspect the song in question is "THYME IT IS A PRECIOUS THING" in the DT (the second title that pops up when you ask simply for "thyme." You'll find a "bonny bunch" there. One of the major contributions of the Reeves books has been to remind us that Sharp kept all of his original notes, including the bawdy texts that he collected. He may have dressed many of them in polite language for fig-leafed publication (his were more restrictive times), but he did save them. Let's hear a rousing cheer for the man!


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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: danl
Date: 24 Jun 99 - 02:28 PM

susanna - thanks! thats great (trivia is a wonderful thing!)

sorry, perhaps i should have been more clear, the version i was referring to was the 'Thyme it is a precious thing' one.

love ivy b*

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Subject: RE: Bunch of thyme
From: Art Thieme
Date: 28 Jun 99 - 12:12 PM

QUARTET: Elvis, Patti Page, Rosemary Clooney & me.

Presley, Page, Rosemary & Thieme

Close, but no cigar I guess.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Bunch of Thyme
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Apr 16 - 02:40 PM

Can't say the Traditional Ballad Index entry is very helpful:

Thyme, It Is a Precious Thing

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments her precious thyme, which she had and lost. A sailor gave her a rose "that never would decay" to remind her of "the night he stole my bonny thyme away." She warns others against the same mistake
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: loneliness sailor seduction virginity
FOUND IN: Britain
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Roud #3
cf. "In My Garden Grew Plenty of Thyme"
cf. "The Gowans are Gay"
cf. "Garners Gay (Rue; The Sprig of Thyme)"
NOTES: In flower symbolism, thyme stood for virginity. For a catalog of some of the sundry flower symbols, see the notes to "The Broken-Hearted Gardener."
Thyme songs are almost impossible to tell apart, because of course the plot (someone seduces the girl) and the burden (let no man steal your thym) are always identical. For the same reasons, verses float freely between them. So fragmentary versions are almost impossible to classify.
The Digital Tradition has a version, "Rue and Thyme," which seems to have almost all the common elements. Whether it is the ancestor of the various thyme songs, or a gathering together of separate pieces, is not clear to me.
The chorus, "Thyme, it is a precious thing; Thyme brings all things to your mind. Thyme with all its labours Along with all its joys, And it's thyme brings all things to an end," is quite characteristic in its lyric strength. The plot is less diagnostic. - RBW
File: DTthymep

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

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