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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleBrave old oak
Roud No.1281
Collected FromLarkin, Thomas
LocationShrivenham
CountyBerkshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 1 - Indexes, lecture notes, Berkshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Bk 21
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 1st April, 1916, Part 25, No. 1: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 203
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Here's a song to the oak, the brave old oak,
That hath ruled in the greenwood long,
Here's health and renown to his broad green crown,
And his fifty arms so strong;
There's fear in his frown when the sun goes down,
And the fire in the west fades out,
And he showeth his might on a wild midnight,
While the storms through the branches shout.

Chorus

Then here's to the oak, the brave old oak,
That stands in his pride alone,
And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
When a hundred years are gone.

Verse 2

In the days of old, when the spring with gold,
Was lightening his branches grey,
Through the grass at his feet tripped maidens sweet,
To gather the dews of May;
And all that day, to the rebeck gay,
They frolicked with lovesome swains,
They're gone, they're dead, in the church yard laid,
But the tree it still remains.

Chorus

Then here's to the oak, the brave old oak,
That stands in his pride alone,
And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
When two hundred years are gone.

Verse 3

He saw the rare times, when the Christmas chimes,
Were a merry, merry sound to hear,
And the squire's wide hall, and the cottage small,
Were filled with good English cheer;
Now gold hath its sway, we all obey,
And a ruthless king is he,
But he never shall send our ancient friend,
To be tossed on the stormy sea.

Chorus

Then here's to the oak, the brave old oak,
That stands in his pride alone,
And still flourish he, a hale green tree,
When three hundred years are gone.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'An old favourite and one that is still popular in some places. It is one of the few that have been well preserved in collections of music and there is consequently little fear of its being forgotten or lost. I obtained my copy of Thomas Larkin, Shrivenham, Berkshire.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'An old favourite and one that is still popular in some places. It is one of the few that have been preserved in collections, and there is consequently little fear of its being forgotten or lost. I obtained my copy of Thomas Larkin, Shrivenham, Berkshire.'

Note 2

There are two manuscript sheets for this song.

Sheet 1

In Verse 2 Line 3 the original text read:

Through the grass at his feet crept maidens sweet,

In Verse 3 Line 5 the original text read:

And a worthless king is he,

Sheet 2

Verse 1

Here's a song to the oak, the brave old oak,
That hath ruled in the greenwood long,
There's sorrow and renown in his broad green crown,
With his fifty arms so strong;
There's fear in his frown when the sun goes down,
And the fire in the west fades out,
And he shows his mighty arms so strong,
While the storms through his branches shout.

Chorus

Here's to the oak, the brave old oak,
That stands in his pride alone,
And still flourish he, an hale green tree,
When a hundred years are gone.

Verse 2

In the days of old, while the spring was cold,
There was light in his branches grey,
Through the grass at his feet crept maiden sweet,
To gather the gems of May;
And all that day, to the pibroch gay,
They frolicked with loved some swains,
They are gone, they are dead, in the church yard laid,
Yet the tree he still remains.

Chorus

Then here's to the oak, the brave old oak,
That stands in his pride alone,
And still flourish he, an hale green tree,
When two hundred years are gone.

Verse 3

We saw the rare times, with the Christmas chimes,
And a merry, merry sound to hear,
When the squire's wide hall, and the cottage small,
Was full of good English cheer;
Now gold had its sway, we all obey,
And a worthless king is he,
But he never shall send our ancient friend,
To be tossed on the stormy sea.

Chorus

Then here's to the oak, the brave old oak,
That stands in his pride alone,
And still flourish he, an hale green tree,
When three hundred years are gone.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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