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Lyr Req: May Morning / Shady Green Tree

23 Apr 03 - 01:21 PM (#938622)
Subject: Lyr Req: May Morning
From: Bearheart

Looking to the words for this Cecil Sharp song on Waterson-Carthy's A Dark Light CD.

Starts out in the usual way (as I walked out one May morning)

"I met there a most beautiful damsel, she sat there a sighing"
"She was the very first damsel that ever wounded me"

Tried Mudccat and a general net search...


24 Apr 03 - 08:31 AM (#939134)
Subject: Lyr Add: MAY MORNING (from Waterson:Carthy)
From: GUEST,Eliza C

As I walked out one May morning, one May morning so early
Was down by the side of a shady green tree
Oh there I beheld a most beautiful damsel
She sat there a sighing all underneath a tree

I stepped up 2 this fair maid I wished her good morning
She was the very first girl that ever wounded me
You never shall want for gold or bright silver
If you will only place your reflections on me

I thank you kind sir but I think you are a joking
You think you are more fitting for higher girls than me
Besides your own friends they will always be afrowning
They'll always be a frowning and scolding of me

Come all you pretty fair maids that go now a courting
Never trust a young man of any higher degree
For when they've enjoyed all the flowers of your garden
Then they will go and leav you as my love left me

Is my pronunciation that bad?!
x e

24 Apr 03 - 08:32 AM (#939135)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Morning
From: nutty

Thanx Eliza

24 Apr 03 - 01:46 PM (#939330)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Morning
From: Bearheart

Thanks so much!

Unfortunately I don't own the CD-- it's my sister's-- but she doesn't as a rule lend out her CDs (at least not her Eliza Carthy CDs)and I didn't have time get all the words! (but the tune won't leave me alone...)


25 Apr 03 - 10:32 PM (#940460)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Morning
From: Malcolm Douglas

Did Sharp get a set of that one? H.E.D. Hammond and Vaughan Williams did, but at the moment those are the only traditional examples I can find references for. There are a couple of broadside editions at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The shady green tree

09 May 09 - 01:36 PM (#2627777)
From: Jim Dixon

This ballad sounds oddly modern to me, in that it is a bit more explicit than others of the era—not so many coy euphemisms.

The Bodleian broadside collection has two versions of this: Harding B 25(1754) and Harding B 11(3461). Where they differ, I have selected what I consider the best phrases, and added some punctuation.


As I was walking one midsummer morning,
Down by a shady green tree,
There did I behold a most beautiful virgin,
Sitting all under a shady green tree.
I steppèd up to her and said, "My dear jewel,
You are the finest girl that ever wounded me.
You shall not want for gold nor silver
If you will set your mind on me."

She said, "Kind sir, you are better deserving.
I am a poor girl of low degree;
Besides your parents will always be scoffing,
So in my station contented I'll be."
"Talk not of friends nor any relations;
They have no portion at all to give me.
As I am a young man and you are a virgin,
Married to-morrow to you I will be."

She sat herself down. I sat myself by her.
There did I rifle her beautiful charms.
With sweet melting kisses and fond embraces,
We slept together in each other's arms
The space of three hours all in the green grove,
All under the shady green tree.
And when I awakèd and found her no virgin,
"Married to you I never will be."

She said, "Kind sir, you are my undoing.
O can you, O can you so cruel be?
How can I pass any more for a virgin,
Since you have had your will of me?
Come all pretty maidens, now take warning.
Never trust a young man in any degree,
For when they've enjoyed the fruits of your garden,
Then they will leave you, as he has done me."

11 May 09 - 02:56 PM (#2629176)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Morning
From: Snuffy

Things have moved on since Malcolm mentioned only two known versions collected from the tradition: now there are at least five.

Martin & Shan Graebe recorded a version on their 2005 CD Parallel Strands under the title Maiden under Willlow. This is a collation of two versions collected by Baring Gould in 1890/91.

There is also a version collected in Newfoundland under the name of "AS I WALKED FORTH IN THE PRIDE OF THE SEASON", No.9785 in the Roud index, which both Mary Humphreys and Jack Crawford have recorded in Britain.

19 Oct 11 - 04:26 PM (#3241514)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Morning / Shady Green Tree
From: GUEST,Andy Turner

The link to "Maiden Under Willow" given above no longer works - Martin & Shan must have moved their pages. The correct link is now

19 Oct 11 - 04:29 PM (#3241515)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: May Morning / Shady Green Tree
From: GUEST,Andy Turner

I discovered this thread while checking out some info for the latest blog post on my "A Folk Song a Week" blog.

Rather than copy the entire post here, please have a look at
Week 8: As I Roamed Out