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Among the Green Hay

[ Roud 965 ; VWML GG/1/11/696 , RoudFS/S144063 ; trad.]

Freda Palmer sang As I Was a-Walking (An S-O-N-G) in 1972 in her home in Witney, Oxfordshire, to Mike Yates. This recording was included in 1975 on the Topic anthology of countryside songs from Southern England collected by Mike Yates, When Sheepshearing’s Done, in 2001 on the Musical Traditions anthology of songs and music from the Mike Yates collection, Up in the North and Down in the South, and in 2018 on her Musical Traditions anthology Leafield Lass. Mike Yates noted:

to our knowledge this is only the third time that As I Was a-Walking has been collected in England. Tony Wales heard Mrs Powell of Portslade, Sussex, sing it—and he recorded it, too [VWML RoudFS/S144063] . The version noted by George Gardiner from Alfred Stride in Southampton in 1907 [VWML GG/1/11/696] was printed in Frank Purslow’s book Marrowbones, under the title An S-O-N-G, and Purslow adds, “The humour of this song is not immediately apparent until one realises that each line of the first two verses is ‘lifted’ from other folk songs, and that there is a liberal sprinkling of quotes and allusions in the remaining verses.”

Shan Graebe sang Among the Green Hay in 2008 on her and Martin Graebe’s WildGoose CD Dusty Diamonds. They noted:

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 371 (330)
Baring-Gould was sent this song by Miss F.J. Adams from Plymouth who remembered it being sung by her grandmother early in the 19th Century. The song comes from The Virgin Unmasked, a musical entertainment performed in the 1780s. She had forgotten a couple of the verses and Baring-Gould used a text sent to him by Lucy Broadwood, which she had collected in Hampshire to complete the song. Another version was later collected in Hampshire by George Gardiner. In modern times Mike Yates recorded the song from Freda Palmer at Witney.

Alison Frosdick sang Among the Green Hay on Amsher’s 2018 album of Hampshire songs collected by Lucy Broadwood in Oxfordshire, Patience Vaisey at Adwell 1892. Bob Askew noted:

Martin Graebe found this in the Baring-Gould collection, where song and tune are clearly from Patience Vaisey. A light hearted love song where some of the words are spelled out letter by letter. It seems to have been rare, with only one surviving broadside, and only four examples noted in Southern England.


Freda Palmer sings As I Was a-Walking (An S-O-N-G)

As I was a-walking one morning in May,
I met a fair damsel to sigh and to say,
“My love he’s gone from me and showed me false play,
It was down in the meadows among the green hay.”

The very next time that I did him see,
He vowed and declared he’d be constant to me.
I asked him his name and he made this reply,
“It is T-I-M-O-T-H-Y.”

“My father’s possessed with ten thousand or more,
And I am his daughter and his only heir.
Not one penny in portion, he vows and declares
If I marries to Y-O-U my dear.”

“Oh, that’s for your fortune, love, you never mind,
I’ll make you a husband both loving and kind.
So off to the church, love, come let us prepare,
Never mind your F-A-T-H-E-R.”

So off to the church the very next day,
And home to her father without more delay.
“Dear hon-or-ed father I tell unto you,
We are M-A-R-R-I-E-D.”

And then the old man he began for to swear,
“You’ve married my daughter, and my only heir.
But since it is so, I have a new son,
You are W-E-L-C-O-M-E.”