Once again Jon confesses “This is one of those tunes you assume you know, until you try to sing it. It took a bit of learning this, but it’s a great song though.”
I should have known… This all starts so well with the woods, the flowers, the birds and the sense of spring in the air, but finishes with a lovelorn wish for death. You may like a look at this Mudcat thread as there seem to be a number of different versions of this. There seems to be some speculation about the age of this song too and you’ll pick that up at Mainly Norfolk in Bert Lloyd’s notes. As far as I’ve been able to see, the 1670s/80s seems to be the earliest acknowledged record of this. It’s also in The Copper Family collection and a fine tune it is too.