> Folk Music > Songs > Down the Green Groves / Young Maria

Down the Green Groves / Young Maria

[ Roud 1478 ; Ballad Index ReCi088 ; trad.]

Fred Hamer collected Down the Green Groves from May Bradley of Shropshire and printed it in his book Garners Gay (London: E.F.D.S. Publications, 1976). He noted:

Another folk song classic which was sung around the camp fires of the travelling people who provided the seasonal labour in the fruit farms and hopfields of the Welsh border and gathered the wild fruit to take to market. Mrs. Leather collected several versions fifty years ago and this story, which in its more sophisticated versions is usually called Oxford City, is still quite well known in Herefordshire and Shropshire.

May Bradley's version can be found on her Musical Traditions anthology Sweet Swansea.

Fred Jordan sang Down the Green Groves in 1966 on his Topic LP Songs of a Shropshire Farm Worker and on the 2003 Veteran anthology CD box set A Shropshire Lad. Mike Yates commented in the latter sleeve notes:

A song often heard on the lips of Gypsies, who taught it to Fred in his youth. It is a version of the song better known as Oxford City or Poison in a Glass of Wine and was issued on song sheets by several 19th century broadside printers. Equally popular in America, where it sometimes goes under the name Rose Connolly, it has also turned up repeatedly in England, Ireland and Scotland.

Louie Saunders of Lingfield, Surrey, sang this song as Young Maria on May 27, 1960 at The Cherry Tree in Copthorne. Brian Matthews' recording was included in 2001 on his Musical Traditions anthology Just Another Saturday Night. Her husband died in the early seventies and she remarried—to his best friend—so that it was as Louie Fuller that she was recorded by Mike Yates in probably 1975 singing Young Maria again. This recording was included in 1976 on the Topic album Green Grow the Laurels: Country Singers from the South and in 1998 on the Topic anthology They Ordered Their Pints of Beer and Bottles of Sherry (The Voice of the People Series Volume  13).

Lankum sang Willow Garden on their 2017 CD Between the Earth and Sky.

Lyrics

May Bradley sings Down the Green Groves Fred Jordan sings Down the Green Groves

Now it's down the green groves I were wandering,
Down the green groves by the spring.
There I saw those lambs were playing
And the birds they whistled and they did sing.

It’s down the green groves I was wandering,
Down the green groves by the spring.
It’s there I saw the lambs were playing
And the birds whistle and they do sing.

Although my name it is Maria
Just a poor girl I agree,
But he courted her both late and early
Until he had his will of me.

Although my name it is Maria
Just a poor girl, I agree,
It’s there I met a rich young squire
And he had his way with me.

So soon he had his will and pleasure
Jealousy grew in his mind,
And for to destroy his own true lover
He gave to her a glass of wine.

It’s first he had his will and pleasure
Then he left me far to roam,
Never no more to seek his pleasure
With me until my babe was born.

Soon she drank it, soon she felt it,
Daylight now will soon appear.
“Oh Johnny, oh Johnny, my constant Johnny,
It's all for the sake of you I die.”

He caught me dancing with another,
Jealousy then filled his mind.
He caught me dancing with his brother
He ordered me to drink some wine.

Now it's hark, hark, hark the cocks are crowing,
Daylight now will soon appear.
But it's down in the lonesome grave I'm going
It's all through my false lover that's brought me here.

Now it’s hark, hark, hark, the cocks are crowing,
Daylight then will soon be here.
“Oh, Johnny, oh, Johnny, my own true Johnny,
The wine you gave me has made me queer.”

Nine long hours she lay dying,
Daylight now will soon appear.
“Oh Johnny, oh Johnny, my constant Johnny
It's all for the sake of you I die,
All for the sake of you I die.”