Jon calls this a “Nice simple little courtship song this. I feel like they were probably courting before the song starts rather than a chance meeting – so similar to Brigg Fair in feel. Often used as example of the 5:4 meter in traditional song, although that doesn’t come across here.”
I can only agree with the above. There is certainly no controversy or issue to deal with here as the song is as straightforward as they come. Although having said that, you wonder at why he had to ask her what she was doing as if she’s his true love surely he’d know. Anyway it’s perhaps churlish to poke holes at a lovely little song. Mainly Norfolk covers the various recordings of this, including Tony Rose, Shirley Collins, Peter Bellamy and June Tabor. There isn’t much more to add save that it was collected by Cecil Sharp. If you search this on Mudcat it brings up lots of discussion about definitive folk songs, people’s Top 10 lists and so forth, which suggests it’s a popular one.