Cupid’s Garden


Jon hits the bullseye with this one saying, “A lovely one from the Coppers. Sam Lee did a splendid balletic version at the Bellowhead Dirty Weekend, which ended with him leaving the stage with a sailor-suited Benji Kirkpatrick, although it’s not on YouTube sadly. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I hope you all got cards. I must say this has a couple of intriguing elements and you can link to the Coppers’ site here. It’s also worth a quick look at Mainly Norfolk as Reinhard has some nice details. I’m quite taken with this as a song, but it has a curious shift from first to third person point of view, which makes it seem like two songs and I’m still struggling to make sense the story… I also picked this Mudcat thread as it goes into the symbolism of laurels and the wearing thereof. Those lusty Greek deities it seems.

Bonus track: Young Banker (Live at The Hive, Shrewsbury, 13th Feb 2011)


You can buy the February digital album now from all good download stores.


33 Responses to “Cupid’s Garden”

  1. Maureen Musson says:

    May not be on YouTube, but there are photos available on musicfestivalphotos website.

    It was fun to hear this song again at Cheltenham on Friday – thanks Jon

  2. Jane Ramsden says:

    Fascinating discussion about Daphne on Mudcat, which was the frist story I learnt when studying Classical Greek at ‘O’ level many moons ago. I can’t remember all the details now, but Robert Graves offers a slightly different version in his ‘Greek Myths’ than the Bullfinch Mythology:

    Daphne was a mountain nymph, a priestess of Mother Earth, and a daughter of the river Peneius in Thessaly. When Apollo pursued and overtook her, she cried out to Mother Earth who, in the nick of time, spirited her away to Crete, where she became known as Pasiphae. Mother Earth left a laurel tree in Daphne’s place, from which Apollo made himself a wreath to console himself.

    Good old Robert Graves! I like this version because Daphne does not become all wooden!

    If laurel stands for constancy, then the English woodland equivalent is the bluebell, whose leaves are just beginning to appear in my garden. Very lovely song, nicely sung, Jon. Happy Valentine’s Day all!

  3. Jane Ramsden says:

    Frist? It’s all Greek to me….

  4. Shelley says:

    Seconded Maureen! (Benji in a sailorsuit was fine, but I’ve still not quite recovered from seeing Pete in a dress!)

  5. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Loved the song/performance…………I feel sorry for poor old Nancy…no laurels for her…her exploits are plastered all over ye ancient folk tabloids.

  6. muzza(s.e.England) says:

    Just listened to the bonus track……..there were some naughty boys in that audience!
    Oh yes there was!!!

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelley Rainey, Jon Boden. Jon Boden said: Latest Post: Cupid's Garden […]

  8. Maureen Musson says:

    Agreed Shelley – and what was more worrying was Paul’s ability to dance in high heels!

  9. Dave Rogers says:

    As a rather irrelevant (irreverent?) aside, Hammersmith Morris do a made-up Longborough style dance to this tune.

    But, being Hammersmith, it’s called Kew Bridge Gardens.

  10. Phil says:

    On the point about the song not making sense: I’ve seen another version, collected on the Isle of Wight, which doesn’t have the last verse about the ship in the harbour & resolves the Nancy/virgin situation by having our hero go off with Nancy. Really it’s quite a straightforward story, once you realise that Cupid’s Garden refers to a real place in London (I think its real name was Coupar’s Gardens). Boy goes to garden (to look at the flowers, of course!); boy meets not one but two girls, viz. ‘lovely Nancy’ and a committed virgin; boy tries his luck with the latter but gets a predictable brush-off, and goes off with the co-operative Nancy instead.

    Not quite on the level of Greek myth, but there you go.

  11. Maureen Musson says:

    In the Dirty Weekend version, there were two girls – but both rejected Sam. Hence him going off with sailor Benji!

  12. Jane Ramsden says:

    Thank you, Phil, for the extra information about Cupid’s/Coupar’s garden. True, hardly the stuff of Greek myths & legends but then again, nothing new under the sun.

    If Daphne really did become Pasiphae, she was billed as a daughter of Helios, the Sun God – her name means ‘all-shining’ – and married King Minos of Crete, with whom she had 6 children. However, she also had a lustful liaison with a bull, by whom she produced The Minotoaur. Maybe it was just Apollo she didn’t fancy! Though to be fair, she was made lustful by Poseidon as a punishment against her husband, for not sacrificing the beautiful creature to him as requested.

    The Athenian artificer. Daedalus, constructed a portable wooden cow with a cowhide covering, within which Pasiphae was able to satisfy her strong desire. The effect of the Greek interpretation was to reduce a more-than-human female, daughter of the Sun itself, to a stereotyped emblem of grotesque bestiality and the shocking excesses of female sensuality and deceit! Sounds like the stuff of folklore and folk song to me!

  13. Jane Ramsden says:

    Also, the mention of Nancy above reminded me that Phil Beer is planning a new double album this year with the working title of, ‘Boys called William, Girls called Nancy’. I have always liked him singing ‘Adieu, sweet lovely Nancy’ but there are a lot of them about obviously!

  14. LadyD says:

    What is the significance of the laurels in the hair?

  15. Simon says:

    Lady D if I’m not too late with a reply, it mostly seems to be about victory, but that Greek mythology alluded to above is at the root of it. You can Wiki here for more should you wish.

  16. Peter Walsh says:

    Follow Simon’s link to Reinhard’s Mainly Norfolk site for more on Cupar’s Garden (not Coupar, apparently). Also he’s transcribed the full lyrics to the version of Cupid’s Garden that Jon sings here; splendid job Reynard! Oh, and well performed Jon – I must have missed this one last year; wonder why, hahaha! Happy Valentine’s to one and all from Pewter.

  17. Diana says:

    Another lovely sentimental ballad sung well as usual.

    @Pewter: Happy Valentine’s Day to you. I do what you have done – I go to Reynard’s site befor I listen to Jon singing, I enjoy the song more if I know the words beforehand.

    How’s things where you are – as usual I am awating TLOTMS, the darned stuff is frozen stiff. Still play same and enjoy.

  18. Peter Walsh says:

    Mild enough to be out washing my car Diana! Am tired now though…

  19. Daina says:

    Not surprised you are tired Pewter, washing cars is flipping arduous work. Awfully hard to get in dry in this weather, going over and over it with a chamois leather doesn’t accomplish much. Never mind that’s a job done for a short while, its a nuisance that they get dirty again so quickly though.

  20. Daina says:

    Jane there is another 38degrees petition on FB, which you might be interested in signing as you have supported the others. It seems their work does bring results. Of course they may sent emails direct to you now as they obviously want as many signatures as possible.

  21. Phil says:

    You can find my take on Cupid’s Garden over at my Green Album.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to anyone who’s noticed (we haven’t here).

  22. Jane Ramsden says:

    I hadn’t given it much attention either, Phil, but Happy Val’s Day to one and all anyway! (Including to the unknown poet… but we know who you are, Old Frog! Hahahahahaha! Not surprised you don’t sign yer name to it! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!)

  23. Jan says:

    Not a single valentine did I receive – Muzza must have lost my address – I know he’s been slaving away making cards!

  24. Jane Ramsden says:

    Happy Val’s Day, one and all! I got a card… but of course, the admirer must remain secret! I can reveal that it’s not Old Frog, so he must have shelved his card-making this year!

    Loads about Val’s Day on Wiki:'s_Day

    But ref folk traditions, it says: “While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated in the UK, Valentine’s Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England. In Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person.” Does anyone know if this tradition still survives?

    It also says: “Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring. Valentine’s Day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love. The day of love was traditionally March 12, Saint Gregory’s Day, or February 22, Saint Vincent’s Day. The patron of love was Saint Anthony, whose day has been celebrated on June 13.”

    Saint Gregory is, very appropriately here, the patron saint of musicians, singers, students, and teachers. St. Vincent has a connection with ravens, who often appear in folk songs. After he was martyred, they protected his body from being devoured by vultures until his followers could recover it. Vincent is also the patron of vintners and vinegar-makers. Apart from a patron for love, St. Anthony is also the patron saint for lost articles and people, so perhaps lost love?

    But, according to the Catholic Church, whilst St Valentine is the patron saint for those who have already found their partner, if you are still looking for your soul mate, the actual patron saint is St Raphael. According to legend, he helped Tobias enter into marriage with Sarah, who had seen seven previous bridegrooms perish on the eve of their weddings! Verily, the stuff of folk songs, but I wonder Tobias wasn’t seriously frit!

    Beautiful song, beautifully sung, Jon.

  25. Diana says:

    Nice ballad.

  26. Little old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    Note to self………keep away from ladies called ‘Sarah’!

  27. Linda says:

    Cheers Muzza……..Just got back from Band in the Walls Graham Miles concert with The Youngs Uns ..The Wilsons..Unthanks and more really good night…

  28. Old Muzza(N.W.Surrey.UK) says:

    Hi Linda…you come home from a gig and straight onto AFSAD……wey hey…that’s devotion!
    Don’t eat all those St.V’s chocolates all at once !

  29. Old Muzza (NW Surrey UK) says:

    Waiting , waiting for the post
    Wondering who will love me most
    The postman’s gone, my house he’s missed
    Again the girls my charms resist!

  30. Linda says:

    Happy Valentine’s Muzza

  31. Old Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    Happy Birthday Lindy Lou

  32. OldMuzza(NWSurrey UK) says:

    Happy birthday Lindy Lou
    and Valentine wishes to all you ladies that frequent AFSAD.
    Spare a thought for poor old St.Valentine for whom this would be a dreadful anniversary!
    Just noticed that somebody( who shall be nameless) in a comment years ago, put that St. Vincent’s Day was 22Feb….but it is actually 22January.
    I’m such an old pedant in my dotage!…(old blokes-I ask yer!)

  33. OldMuzza(NW Surrey UK) says:

    Happy birthday Lindy lou and Happy Valentine’s Day to all
    Rain down south but hope all up North cope with the impending snow for you next week

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