There Once Was A Lover And He Loved A Lass


Jon intrigues with “I’ve written a lot of scores for professional plays, but I think my favourite theatre experience is still writing music for As You Like It as a university  production (, which toured for two weeks around various beautiful country houses in the south of England. The cast sang and played all the music and I loved every minute of it. Somehow professional theatre has never quite matched up to it. This is one of the better known songs from As You Like It, but with a folkier tune than the standard one.”

One of seven songs to feature in the play and I’m assured that the original scores have long been lost thus leaving them open for interpretation. A fine job Jon does of it too. You might like to follow this link through to see more about Shakespeare’s songs that also sets the scene for this one.  I’d like to claim more insight and knowledge of The Bard, as there’s an undeniably clever contradiction involved in the delivery of this. Is it me or are we on a roll this month? Perhaps it’s just the lighter evenings, the blossom on the trees and the air filled with birdsong. Perhaps I should get a grip (see what I’m doing here?)



26 Responses to “There Once Was A Lover And He Loved A Lass”

  1. SRD says:

    Lovely, dare I say it out loud here but it’s sent me off to re-listen to Cleo Laine & John Dankworth’s take on Shakespeare’s songs.

  2. Jane Ramsden says:

    SRD, you very may say it out loud!

    Good rendition, Jon, and I have not heard this tune before. I used to sing the standard one at school though. so a song I know and have sung. They are rare!

    And just a quick compliment to Fay, out of context, but for the record. I have now listened through ‘Looking Glass’. I would like to think, if I could sing better, that yours was the kind of singing I could aspire to. Ab fab, lass!

  3. Pippa says:

    Wonderful! I’d love to emulate this performance. Lends itself to harmonising freely as well.

  4. Simon says:

    I’m very sorry to hear of all the pet related tragedy, but glad to see some sensitivity and support being offered. I’m happy to let your discussions take any direction you please, providing decency remains intact, so there’s no need to apologise for straying off topic. We frequently do.

    John B, I’ve been mostly immune to the charms of Ms. Rusby too, but there are three songs on the latest Cambridge DVD that have caused a rethink. I find it interesting when people borrow from the folk tradition, either in style or story. It’s common place in tune-sets for people to add their own compositions into the mix. I guess I see it as confirmation that the form is alive, not simply preserved.

    As for the Shakespeare question, well, I’d draw your attention to this and Rain It Rains back on 20th July.

  5. Reynard says:

    I wouldn’t call it borrowing from the folk tradition but continuing the folk tradition. The old songs didn’t fall from heaven but have been created by other people too, just so long ago that we usually don’t know them anymore.

    Regarding Ms Rusby I have a bit of mixed feelings. I do like her songs – have all her CDs – and she is a very nice and interesting person but I can listen to her voice in small doses only.

  6. Diana says:

    Thank you Simon for your kind words, they are much appreciated and I am sure that I speak for John as well.

    What a refreshing change the music was for this sonnet – I am so used to the original version it was a lovely surprise. I know “the rain it raineth evey day” from Twelth Night and Spiers and Boden’s singing of same. Will Shakespeare certainly had a way with words.

  7. John Biggs (Welsh Marches) says:

    I am with you all the way Diana, both in your thanks to Simon and in your comments on todays song which is a delight.
    But, how did I do that ? I just mentioned The Bard in commenting on yesterday’s song, and up he pops in today’s offering. Perhaps I had better start picking horses ! And don’t say I could have remembered it from last year, I cant usually remember what I did last week.

  8. Linda says:

    Got half way through this one before I realised there was only Jon singing. Maybe Jon you enjoyed the university production because the “fun” was still there and maybe a few rough edges. Always enjoyed the amateur Gilbert and Sullivan [two of my Uncles were involved for many years one doing lead rolls the other in the chorus] found the professional versions seemed to serious.

  9. Diana says:

    @ Linda, thank you very much for your lovely words, I know exactly what you mean. It hasn’t really sunk in yet – I keep leaving all the doors ajar so she can move around the house. Silly isn’t it? The only consolation is the right decision was made.

  10. Linda says:

    @Diana it’s many years since we had a cat and we still leave the doors open ,infact I never settle if we shut our middle door. On a better note won’t be long till you go to Sheffield lucky devil.

  11. Diana says:

    @ Linda I am so glad that I am not alone then. On a happier note it will soon be “Sheffield here we come” – looking forward to it. I was pleased to see you were at Buxton Opera House the other night. It’s rather nice there isn’t it? Saw Bellowhead for the first time as a live performance there and were on the front row of the circle – smashing!

  12. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    HALLOOOOOO……… there anybody out there……………reply by the end of the day or the puppy gets it!

  13. Jan says:

    I’m here, Muzza, so spare the puppy!
    I’m a bit shell-shocked as No. 3 Daughter has been struggling with intermittent paralysis of the legs (no, nothing to do with alcohol consumption) and has just returned from long-awaited appointment with no more idea what’s causing it than when it all started.

  14. Linda says:

    Hi Muzza also still here, still drop in most days. There’s always something you missed on previous years .

  15. Sarah says:

    I still stop by most days too.

  16. Jane Ramsden says:

    @ Muzza: How very dare you, Old Frog! Spare that puppy! I am still here now and again.

    @ Jan: How worrying about your daughter. I have one suggestion which might be worth a try. Find a good osteopath, as they know more about bio-mechanics than the average GP and even some specialists. In any event, they are non-invasive in their assessments and very gentle in their treatment, so it is unlikely any harm could be done. Paying for one session will give you an informed opinion & whether osteopathic treatment will help or not, what to expect over how long, for how much money & whether to consult the NHS further/what to ask a doctor to investigate. I went to one once and worth every penny. Maybe it’s a sciatic issue like I had. Hope all resolves soon.

  17. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    @Jan/Linda/Sarah/Jane…………Phew-you saved the puppy….(I’d have had to catch one first)….just needed to know that you were out there. Chin up Jan.

  18. Muzza (N.W.Surrey-UK) says:

    “When the birds do sing-hey ding ding ding!”
    You Northern folk have got some funny brids flying about!……
    I wonder why the bard (whom we now know to be a hoarder of grain to sell at inflated prices in times of shortage)..
    I wonder why the words :-“and the BELLS do ring hey ding a dinga ding” did not spring to his mind.
    And I also trust that all is well with a silent Diana.

  19. Diana says:

    Hey hey the gangs all here! Even I Muzza. Been silent for too long. Time flies doesn’t it?

    A nice Shakespearean sonnet.

  20. Old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    Well lookee here………….just checking the AFSAD site and found the comments all about the Bard…
    and who went on a coach trip to Stratford on Avon yesterday..MOI!..
    I am Shakespeared up to the gunnels….what a lovely town……and all the Spring flowers/camelias/magnolias/daffodils……….Hey ding a blooming ding!

    Methinks my trip to Stratford town
    Didst cleanse me of my winter’s frown
    The flowers, the trees the birds at play
    And bliss to have folk songs each day

  21. Jane Ramsden says:

    Ha ha, Muzza. I see your Stratford visit has revived your versification!

    I really like this song, but I do prefer the tune I used to sing at school. It is not a million miles different from the one Jon sings, but methinks easier to retain, pacier and somehow more jolly to the sentiments of the song.

    So I have Wiki-ed Thomas Morley (1557/8-1602), who wrote the original music, and part of the entry reads: ” Usually his madrigals are light, quick-moving and easily singable, like his well-known “Now is the Month of Maying” (which is actually a ballett); he took the aspects of Italian style that suited his personality and anglicised them.” Spot on what I thought! And I did not know he also composed ‘Month of Maying’ that I also sang at school.

    More of Thomas Morley here:

    And the original tune on YouTube here (Stony Brook Chorale). Imagine me in the school choir! Lol:

    There are other tunes no doubt, such as one by a composer called Gerald Finzi (1901–56) who knew Vaughn Williams, who became one of the most characteristically “English” composers of his generation. Despite being of Jewish descent & an agnostic, he wrote some inspired and imposing Christian choral music.

    Wiki also says he married the artist Joyce Black (Joy Finzi), settled with her in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, where he devoted himself to composing and apple-growing, saving a number of rare English apple varieties from extinction. He also amassed a valuable library of some 3000 volumes of English poetry, philosophy and literature, now in the library of the University of Reading, and a fine collection (some 700 volumes including books, manuscripts and printed scores) of 18th-century English music, now at the University of St Andrews. I wonder if that archive could have any relevance for The Full English?

    Joy Finzi did a sketch of Vaughn Williams, now in the National Portrait Museum.

  22. Old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    Wey Hey Janey……….thank goodness…….the Bradford cat botherer liveth!
    Gerald Finzi might have known Vaughn Williams….BUT….Lloyd George knew my father

  23. Jane Ramsden says:

    I am alive, Muzza! True, only 2 legs, not 4, but the cat-bothering continues. I have done Tilly and Tippoo the Tyger. Cheeky Boy (aka Chico) is up for the snip next, as well as Bunny the rabbitty-hopping cat. There’s summat (probably congenital) wrong with her hips. I don’t think having babies in the wild is to be recommended… or on my doorstep! It never ends…

    Before I go to post snippets of musical info under the most recent song, here is something you might find of quirky interest, ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.’ The 19th edition is part-advertised on Amazon as follows:

    “Discover Brewer’s take on angels, heraldry, pub signs and recluses and delve into the lexicographical world of the eggcorn. Whether you’re a committed Brewerphile or a newcomer to its pages of fascinating entries, this edition will draw you in and keep you glued to its rich mix of eccentric nuggets. Brewer’s is not a straightforward dictionary, nor is it an encyclopaedia. It is, in fact, unlike any other reference book that exists, anywhere.”

    Terry Pratchett says, “An idiosyncratic adventure, pulling you in and saying: ‘This is, in fact, not what you were looking for; but it’s much more interesting.”

    I saw that and thought of you – AFSAD’s own little eccentric nugget! If you think you might be a Brewerphile (aside from the drink!) because you are a Bibliophile, you may find a copy of the previous 18th edition at a cheaper price at a website of the same name – excellent for all manner of unusual postal book bargains – think they might be on eBay as well now:

  24. Old Muzza(N.W surrey.UK) says:

    Huzzah……there she is….still the queen of the catastrophe.
    ref the Brewer thingy……….lovely thought but this old reprobate is grudgingly going through a ‘downsize’ …..and books must go OUT not IN!…
    Gosh ..the girls in these 1975 ‘Playboy’ mags will be in their sixties now! but all must go.

  25. Jane Ramsden says:

    Totally with thee, Muzza! I have ditched many books, as canny do with the weight and work of dusting; also want to move eventually, so got to SIMPLIFY! Brewer’s is a bit of a dear tome too, tho’ older versions second-hand very reasonable. It needs to be on Kindle! I have a Kindle now and you can get soooo many books with no weight or dusting – is fabbo!

    There is also a very useful website you can subscribe to for a daily email about a mixture of free or low cost Kindle books for just that day. Pensioner special! Lol. I signed up through FB, but this is their website:

    Sorry, no girlie mags, but some Shades of Grey! Hahahahahaha!

  26. Florencia says:

    Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

    Here is my blog … web site; Florencia,

Your Reply

Warning: Undefined variable $user_ID in /customers/a/0/f/ on line 121