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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleTo hear the nightingale sing
Roud No.140
Collected FromKemble, Edward
LocationSouth Marston
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative TitleBold grenadier
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 495
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 27th November, 1915, p 2 Part 9, No. 6
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

It was early one morning in the month of May,
When I saw a young couple together at play;
One was a pretty fair maid, whose beauty shone clear,
And the other was a soldier, a bold Grenadier.

Verse 2

There were kisses and sweet compliments they gave to each other,
They went hand in hand, like sister and brother,
They went hand in hand, till they came to a spring,
Where they both sat together to hear the nightingale sing.

Verse 3

He undid his knapsack and drew out a long fiddle,
He put one arm round her, yes, right round her middle;
He played her a merry tune, which made the valleys ring -
"Oh hark!" said the fair maid, "How the nightingales sing!"

Verse 4

"Oh now," said the soldier, "It is time to give o'er."
"Oh no," said the fair maid, "Play me one tune more.
For the listening of your music and the touching of your string,
I'd rather much more have it than to hear the nightingale sing.

Verse 5

Oh now," said the fair maid, "Will you marry me?"
"Oh no," said the soldier, "That never can be.
I've a wife and three children in my own country,
Such a nice little woman as ever you did see.

Verse 6

I am bound for old India for seven long years,
To drink wine and whisky instead of strong beers;
But if ever I return again, may it be in the spring,
Then we'll both sit down together to hear the nightingale sing."
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'This also was very popular in and around South Marston. I have not met with it elsewhere. The tune is very sweet, which accounted for its success. It is, of course, rarely sung now, and there is less chance of it being revived in the future. There is nothing either good or bad but is so comparatively, in the folk song, as elsewhere, and if we lose in one direction we gain in another. Obtained of Edward Kemble, South Marston.'

Williams, Alfred: WGS: 'This also was very popular in and around South Marston. I have not met with it elsewhere. The tune is very sweet, which accounted for its success. It is, of course, rarely sung now, and there is less chance of it being revived in the future. We must march forward. There is nothing either good or bad but is so comparatively, in the folk song, as elsewhere, and if we lose in one direction we gain in another. Obtained of Edward Kemble, South Marston.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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