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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleI courted a bonny lass
Roud No.154
Collected FromCalcott, Sarah Mrs.
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleWeek before Easter / Forlorn lover
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 400
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 22nd January, 1916, p 2, Part 15, No. 6
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

I courted a bonny lass many a long day,
I hated all people that against her did say,
But now she's rewarded me well for my pains,
For she's going to be wed to another.

Verse 2

So, when I heard my true love asked in the church,
I rose from my seat and I sat in the porch,
Thought I to myself, "I am left in the lurch,
So adieu to my false love for ever!"

Verse 3

When I saw my love unto the church go,
Bride's men and bride's maidens they made a fine show,
And I followed after with my heart full of woe,
To see how my false love was guarded.

Verse 4

When I saw my love within the church stand,
Gold ring on her finger and love in her hand,
Thought I to myself, "If I could by her stand,
Although she is tied to another!"

Verse 5

When that I saw my true love dressed in her white,
The tears in my eyes quite dazzled my sight;
I picked up my hat and I wished them goodnight,
And adieu to my false love for ever!

Verse 6

The parson that named them so loudly did cry -
"All you that forbid it, I'd have you draw nigh."
Thought I to myself, "A good reason have I."
But I had not the heart to forbid it.

Verse 7

And when that I saw my love sat down to meat,
I sat myself by her, but nothing could eat;
For I loved her sweet company better than meat,
Although she was wed to another.

Verse 8

Now dig me a grave, long large, wide and deep,
And strew it all over with flowers so sweet;
That I may lie down, and take a long sleep,
For that's the right way to forget her.
Print Song Lyrics
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'An old favourite, formerly widely known. Words obtained of Elijah Iles, Inglesham and Sarah Calcott, Northmoor, Oxfordshire.'

Note 2

In Verse 1 Line 4 the original text read:

For she's going to be tied to another

In Verse 7, Line 4 the original text read:

For she's going to be tied to another

In Verse 8 Line 2 the original text was:

And strew it over with flowers so sweet

Note 3

The version printed in WGS has a different first verse from which the others follow on as Verse 2 - 9. The text is:

Verse 1

A week before Easter, the day is long and clear,
So beautiful shone the sun, and so cold blowed the air,
I went to the forest some flowers to get there,
But the forest would yield me no posies.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.



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