Jon refers to this as “A beautiful aubade sung quite widely in a variety of versions. This is from Martin Carthy who sung it on Lark Rise to Candleford. I’m not sure where he got it from – sounds a bit more broadside-ish than the Copper family’s version so perhaps he compiled it from written sources? That’s a guess though.”
Not wishing to disagree, but this actually comes across as a mixture of Martin’s version on Larkrise and Eliza’s, although without the latter’s heartbreaking of parting at the end. Have a look at the various versions on Mainly Norfolk and you’ll see what I mean. I was also getting set up for delving into the name Lemandy and the possible midsummer tradition that Malcolm Douglas refers to in his notes (scroll down the page for his Cornish version.) That was until I followed the link over to Mudcat and got the sense that Malcolm disowned that line of thinking. There is no doubt that leman is archaic for lover or sweetheart, so there might be a simple word link. The idea of some sort of Leman Day, however, is not something I’ve been able to gather any evidence for, although I was rather taken by ‘aubade’ being obviously French in origin and ‘leman’ at least sounding as if it is. If someone can point us in the direction of something that verifies Leman Day that would be good, as it all sounds rather appealing. While we’re at it, an aubade is serenade at the other end of the day, morning rather than evening, but you probably knew that already! As usual the trouble with all this ferreting is I’m actually not much the wiser as to the origins of this. It was collected by the Coppers, but as Jon notes versions seem to be fairly well spread. If you follow the Mudcat thread down, there’s even a suggestion that it’s actually an Irish song. Like many songs there is the sense of only fragments surviving, with some knocked into shape and printed as broadsides. In many ways, therefore, Jon’s suggestion of a composite is probably not far off the mark.