Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man

DigiTrad:
WHAT'S THE LIFE OF A MAN


Related thread:
(DTStudy) Lyr Add: The Fall of The Leaf (8)


Bentley 25 Sep 02 - 06:09 AM
Nigel Parsons 25 Sep 02 - 06:15 AM
Nigel Parsons 25 Sep 02 - 06:18 AM
IanC 25 Sep 02 - 07:17 AM
Susanne (skw) 25 Sep 02 - 05:59 PM
Herga Kitty 25 Sep 02 - 06:55 PM
Herga Kitty 25 Sep 02 - 06:58 PM
Snuffy 25 Sep 02 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,Storyteller 25 Sep 02 - 10:17 PM
Joe Offer 26 Apr 20 - 01:27 AM
JHW 26 Apr 20 - 07:21 AM
Steve Gardham 26 Apr 20 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,Starship 26 Apr 20 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,JIm I 26 Apr 20 - 02:09 PM
Reinhard 26 Apr 20 - 02:35 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: lyrics req. please
From: Bentley
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 06:09 AM

Has any one got the lyrics for a song that goes What's the life of a man, Any more than a leaf. A man has his seasons So why should he grieve, Although in this life We appear fine and gay, Like a leaf he will wither And soon fade away. Many thanks.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 06:15 AM

It's Here

Just going out so no time to cut'n'paste the lyrics

Nigel


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: WHAT'S THE LIFE OF A MAN?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 06:18 AM

On Second thoughts.

WHAT'S THE LIFE OF A MAN?

This is a completely unaltered transcript of a traditional English folksong. I don't know its provenance, but it has more of the feel of a sentimental Victorian song than a true traditional number. Although it's still quite popular on the folk circuit I know of only one recorded version, on the Cumbrian duo Paul and Linda Adams' album Farewell to the Fells, a copy of which I inherited from my Dad when he upgraded to CD. It should be just about impossible to find.

Anyway, it seems highly suitable for Fyvrians...

As I was a-walking one morning at ease
A-viewing the leaves that had fell from the trees
All in full motion appearing to be
And those that had withered, they fell from the tree.

What's the life of a man any more than a leaf?
A man has his seasons so why should he grieve?
For although in this world we appear fine and gay
Like a leaf we must wither and soon fade away.

If you'd a' seen the trees but a few days ago
How beautiful and green they all seemed to grow
A frost came upon them and withered them all
A storm came upon them and down they did fall.

What's the life...

If you look in the churchyard there you will see
Those that have passed like a leaf from the tree
When age and affliction upon them did call
Like a leaf they did whither and down they did fall.

NP


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please
From: IanC
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:17 AM

Nigel

If you'd looked in DT, you'd have found it here.

There's also some discussion of the original broadside version here.

:-)
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please - What's the life of a man
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 05:59 PM

It was also recorded by Alex Campbell.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please - What's the life of a man
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 06:55 PM

Johnny Collins gave me one of the verses from Harkness on the previous thread, but it was interesting to see that there's yet another one:-

The season is over, the leaves are all gone
Back to the trees they can never return
'Tis not so with Man, the scriptures say plain
Out of the dust we shall all rise again.

The scriptures plainly tell us of something more beside,
We must stand in judgement there to be tried,
Before our Blessed Saviour both rich and poor must stand,
And happy will they be who go to his right hand.

Kitty


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please - What's the life of a man
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 06:58 PM

I'm afraid that some members of Herga also perpetrated:

"What's the life of a man any more than a tent?
A tent has its tent pegs though they are often bent
Although with its guy ropes it may be held tight
Like a man it will wither, and fall in the night.

Kitty


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please - What's the life of a man
From: Snuffy
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 07:50 PM

Anybody got the Kipper's version? I can only remember bits of it.

WassaiL! V


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: lyrics req. please - What's the life of a man
From: GUEST,Storyteller
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 10:17 PM

This song has been recorded from the singing of Jeff Wesley, of Northamptonshire on the cassette issued by Veteran Tapes Brisk and Bonny Lad VT116.

Without wishing in any way to endorse their products I shall just note here that Peter Kennedy's Folktrax has two recordings; one from Jim Small of Cheddar, Somerset, on FTX 138 (the text of this is given by Kennedy in his Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland #264), and a recording of Bob Copper of Rottingdean, Sussex, accompanying himself on concertina on FTX 239.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Apr 20 - 01:27 AM

Any more on this song? Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry:

What's the Life of a Man?

DESCRIPTION: Singer, walking, observes the leaves that have fallen, noting that a few days ago they were green and growing. He calls attention to the churchyard, and to those who have withered and passed like a leaf." (But man, unlike leaves, will rise to be judged.)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (Sharp mss.; Vaughn Williams collection)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer, walking, observes the leaves that have fallen, noting that a few days ago they were green and growing, but a frost has withered them and a storm knocked them down. He calls attention to the churchyard, and to those who have withered and passed "like a leaf from a tree." (But man, unlike leaves, will rise again, according to scripture, and be judged.) Chorus: "What's the life of a man any more than the leaf?/A man has his seasons so why should he grieve?/For although in this world we appear bright and gay/Like a leaf we must wither and soon fade away"
KEYWORDS: age disability death nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) Canada(Ont)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Williams-Thames, p. 238, "What's the Life of a Man Any More Than a Leaf?" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 513)
Kennedy 264, "What's The Life of a Man?" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-ECS, #129, "What's the Life of a Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hamer-Green, pp. 25-26, "What's the Life of a Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #149, "The Life of a Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, LIFEMAN*

Roud #848
RECORDINGS:
Mrs. William Towns, "What Is the Life of a Man Any More than the Leaves?" (on Ontario1)
NOTES [28 words]: Some folks really know how to brighten up a day. - PJS
According to Palmer, this originated as a broadside, "The Fall of the Leaf," but was much improved by tradition. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: K264

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 2020 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man
From: JHW
Date: 26 Apr 20 - 07:21 AM

I sang this at a funeral a year ago (2019), by request. What I sing comes from the Ken Stubbs collection thin book The Life of a Man (EFDS 12/6d) though I sang (as requested) the well known melody rather than that in the book which I prefer. I'm sure I changed some words here and there.
That service was in the Reformed Church that the deceased attended regularly.
The song mentions churchyards but not belief.

Collected from Harry Holman, Copthorne Surrey
Fingers crossed for us all, April 2020.

As I was a-walking one morning at ease,
A-viewing the leaves as they hung from the trees,
They were all in full motion or appearing to be
And those that were withered, they fell from the tree

(Then what is the life of a man, any more than the leaves,
A man has his seasons, so why should he grieve;
Even though in this wide world he appears bright and gay,
Like the leaves we shall wither and soon fade away)

Did you not see the leaves but a short time ago?
They were all in full motion appearing to grow,
When the frost came upon them and wither'd them all,
Then the rain came upon them and down they did fall

(Chorus)

If you go down to yonder churchyard, many names there you'll see
Who have fallen from this world like the leaves from the trees;
What with age and affliction upon us all,
Like the leaves we shall wither and down we shall fall.

(Chorus)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Apr 20 - 08:22 AM

Hi Joe,
This actual song usually known as 'The Fall of the Leaf' on broadsides doesn't appear to be very old in that format. The earliest I've got is one printed by Swindells of Manchester which could be as late as c1850.
However the song was obviously inspired by very similar pieces from the 17th century titled 'The Life of Man' in the Roxburghe Collection, available to view on the UCSB EBBA website.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 26 Apr 20 - 08:57 AM

https://mainlynorfolk.info/steeleye.span/songs/whatsthelifeofaman.html

More info at Mainly Norfolk.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man
From: GUEST,JIm I
Date: 26 Apr 20 - 02:09 PM

I'm surprised no one has mentioned that the McCalmans sang this on one of their early LPs. I think about 1969


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: What's the Life of a Man
From: Reinhard
Date: 26 Apr 20 - 02:35 PM

You got me there, Starship. Mainly Norfolk was woefully outdated; I had to add information on a dozen more recordings by Harry Holman, Jumbo Brightwell, Archer Goode, Jeff Wesley and some recent recordings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 25 January 3:48 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.