Jon says, “Such a beautiful tune this. Steeleye borrowed it for a chorus for Wife Of Usher’s Well, and who can blame them? Lovely lyric as well. I’ve decided to drop the last verse though because I’m less keen on it.”
Another from the Child collection (#219) and a rather strange, poetic song. This Mudcat thread immediately makes the point that seems a more natural Scottish rhyming scheme to this. That’s probably true, but if you follow the thread down, it’s not quite as straightforward as you might think. It’s interesting to see Bert once again associated with ‘adapting’ songs, in this case to fill in what he regarded as the lapsed gaps in the English tradition. I think in truth that having tried to research this year’s worth of material, that notions of national ownership aren’t especially useful. For every song that has a definite regional identity there are several others that have moved with ease being ‘adopted’ and ‘adapted’ to suit the singer’s location long before Bert intervened. Still, you may also like to see the versions as collected by Child here, which also links into this that gives you a run through his collection. I must say I rather like that last part, although it carries with it the sense that the lady has firmly rejected the Gardner’s overtures and is perhaps as cold hearted as she is haughty in her stance. You can also compare the modern versions of Maddy Prior and Tim Hart, June Tabor and more recently, Rachel McShane at Mainly Norfolk. Another cracker.