> John Kirkpatrick > Songs > The Nobleman's Wedding

The Nobleman's Wedding / Another Man's Wedding / The Orange and the Blue / Down in the Valley

[ Roud 567 ; Laws P31 ; G/D 6:1199 ; Henry H60ab ; Ballad Index LP31 ; Bodleian Roud 567 ; Wiltshire 559 ; trad.]

Gale Huntington: Sam Henry's Songs of the People John Ord: Bothy Songs and Ballads Frank Purlsow: Marrow Bones James Reeves: The Idiom of the People

H.E.D. Hammond collected The Nobleman's Wedding in May 1906 from a Mrs Crawford of West Milton in Dorset.

Eddie Butcher sang Another Man's Wedding in a recording made by Hugh Shields in Butcher's home in Magilligan, Co. Derry, in 1955 on his 1976 Leader record Shamrock Rose & Thistle and on the Topic anthology Tonight I'll Make You My Bride (The Voice of the People Volume 6).

Cathie Stewart sang this song as Orange and Blue in a recording made by Bill Leader in Scotland in 1967 on the 1968 Topic album Back o' Benachie: Songs and Ballads from the Lowland East of Scotland. Belle Stewart sang it as Late Last Night in 1977 on her Topic album Queen Among the Heather: Scots Traditional Songs and Ballads and her daughter Sheila Stewart sang The Nobleman's Wedding in a recording made by Doc Rowe in Blairgowrie, Perthshire in October 1998 on her Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition.

Daisy Chapman from Aberdeen sang Down in the Valley at the King's Head folk club, Islington, North London, on 15 April 1970. This recording made by Rod Stradling was released in 2000 on her Musical Traditions CD Ythanside, and was included in 2012 on the Musical Traditions anthology King's Head Folk Club. Rod Stradling noted in the latter album's booklet:

There are 108 instances of this old ballad in Roud. It has been widely found in Scotland, Ireland, England, Canada and the USA, but it has not survived well into modern times in England—there are 28 known sound recordings, but none are of English singers. Other available recordings include Paddy Doherty (Inishowen Trad. Singers ITSC001), Joe Heaney (Folktracks FSB015), Eddie Butcher (Topic TSCD656) and Belle Stewart (Folktracks FSA182). Cathie Stewart also used to sing it memorably, and her sister Sheila has included it on her recently released Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition. (TSCD515).

It is found in Folk Songs of the North East under the title The Orange and Blue and in the Greig-Duncan Collection under several titles including The Nobleman's Wedding and the one used here—but it is most widely known, albeit in a far simpler form, as All Around My Hat. Roud considers this to be a separate song, numbered 22518—which adds a further 85 instances! The well known singer, Barbara Dickson, whose roots were in the Scottish folk revival of the 1960s, met and heard Daisy sing this song at the 1968 Blairgowrie Festival. Barbara later recorded the song and included it on her album From the Beggar's Mantle on Decca, issued in the early 1970s.

My comments on The False Bride, about the bitterness of some Scottish songs of unrequited love, apply equally here—how else to read the final two verses?

Barbara Dickson sang The Orange and the Blue in 1971 on her Decca album From the Beggar's Mantle… Fringed With Gold.

John Kirkpatrick sang The Nobleman's Wedding in 2007 on his CD Make No Bones. He noted:

Collected by the Hammond brothers, Henry and Robert, from Mrs Crawford in West Milton, Dorset, in 1906 and included in Frank Purslow's selection Marrow Bones published by EFDS Publications in 1965. It's a song that only pops up now and again in the various collections from Britain and North America, and I've stared at it in Marrow Bones for years without taking it further. What prompted me into action was hearing it from the lips of the current Dorset singer John Waltham, whose version has one crucial detail that differs from the normal set of words, because usually the bride asks to sleep with her mother. Suddenly a much clearer light shines on the whole story, which becomes one of the most exquisite tragedies.

You can head John Waltham's own recording on Farewell to the Green Fields, released in 2003.

Nick Dow sang Another Man's Wedding in 1983 on his album A Poor Man's Gift and in 2018 on his CD of unaccompanied traditional folk songs, Far and Wide. He noted on the latter album:

Also known as The Nobleman's Wedding, in England. This version comes from Eddie Butcher, however Joe Holmes has a very similar version. I first heard it sung by Keith Chandler, when I was resident at Dingle's Folk Club in London in the 1970's. I first recorded it in 1982, and this has inspired Jim Moray to learn the song and record it. My voice has matured over the years and I have revisited the song here.

Andy Turner learned The Nobleman's Wedding from Frank Purslow’s book Marrow Bones and sang it as the 18 March 2012 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.

Jim Moray sang Another Man's Wedding in 2016 on his CD Upcetera. He noted:

90% of us end up with the wrong person. And that's what makes the jukebox spin.
– Willie Nelson

Learned from Nick Dow's album A Poor Man's Gift. Most of this version comes from Joe Holmes of Co. Antrim, but I suspect Nick altered it quite a bit. And I've altered it further.

Marisa Jack & Davy sang Nobleman's Wedding on their 2016 EP March March. This video shows them at the Leigh Sailing Club during the Leigh Folk Festival on 24 June 2018:

Lyrics

Eddie Butcher sing Another Man's Wedding

I was invited to another man's wedding
All by a fair one that proved so unkind,
And aye as she thought of her old former lover
The thoughts of her darling still ran in her mind.

When dinner was over and all things were completed,
It fell each young man's lot to sing a love song,
And it happened to fall on her old former lover
To sing those few verses it wunnae keep you long:

“Oh, many's the lord was seven years from his lady,
And many's the lord he never came back again,
But I was only one year away from my darling
When an unconstant lover to me she became.”

“Oh, how can you sit at another man's table?
Or how can you drink of another man's wine?
Or how can you lie in the arms of another?
You that was so long a true lover of mine.”

The bride she was seated at the head of the table,
And every word she remembered it well.
To bear it in mind this fair maid she was not able
And down at the groom's feet she instantly fell.

“There is one request and I will ask you for no other,
The first and the last, love, perhaps it may be:
Only this one night to stay with my mother;
The rest of my time I will share it all with you.”

The request it was asked and just immediately granted,
Sighing and sobbing she went into her bed.
And early next morning, when the young groom awoken
He went into her chamber and found that she was dead.

He lifted her up from her soft and downy pillow,
He carried her out into the garden so green.
With sheets and fine pillows, oh, soon they did surround her
Still thinking that his young wife she might come to life again.

“Oh Sally, lovely Sally, when you and I were courting
You vowed and declared that you loved no one but me.
But them that depends upon fair maiden's folly
Their love it will decay like the bark on the tree.

All around my hat I will wear a weeping willow,
All around my hat until death it comes to me.
And if anybody asks me why I wear the willow,
It is all for my true love that I never more will sea.

Daisy Chapman sings Down in the Valley

Down in the valley there was a fair wedding,
And oh, but the bride she proved to be unkind;
She proved to be unkind to her bygone lover,
Her bygone lover came in at the time.

Supper being over, all things over,
'Twas then proposed to sing the bride a song;
The song it was sung by the bygone lover,
And unto the bride the song it did belong.

“Many is the man that's been seven years absent,
Many is the man that's been seven years away;
But I hae been only three years absent,
And an untrue lover ye hae proved to be.

“How could ye lie in another man's arms?
How could ye drink of another man's wine?
How could ye lie in the arms of another,
After the promises you made tae me in mine?”

The bride being seated at the head of the table,
And oh, but the song she marked it well;
To bear up the company no longer was she able,
She turned to the bridegroom and thus to him did say.

“A favour, a favour, a favour I ask o' thee,
Being the first favour I've asked from unto you;
Tae lie wi ma mither this ae nicht only,
And aye, aye and aifter I'll aye lie wi you.”

The favour[?] was asked and the favour was granted,
With rolling and sighing she went off to bed;
But early, right early the very next morning,
This poor little damsel was found lying dead.

Surprising, surprising to all the young women,
To be so early cut down in bloom;
Tonight you'll be walking, your sweethearts talking,
And early next morning be cauld in the tomb.

First I'll put on a black coat o' velvet,
And I shall wear it a short month or two;
Then I'll put on the green and the yellow,
And aye, aye and aifter, the orange and the blue.

If anyone asks thee why I do wear this,
Why I do wear such a costly array;
Tell them the reason, the very plain reason,
It's all because my true love lies cauld in the clay.

The Nobleman's Wedding

Yesterday evening I was invited to a wedding
'Twas of a fair girl that proved so unkind.
Although she had decided to wed with another
'Twas her former lover still run in her mind.

When supper was over and all things were ended
They all did conclude to give the bride a song.
The first that begun was a farmer, her old lover
And the song that he sang was no very long.

“Oh, how can you sit at another man's table?
How can you drink of another man's wine?
How can you lie on another man's pillow?
When once you were a true lover of mine?”

“How can you sleep on another man's bosom
Since you pretend that you love me so dear?
Now for your sweet sake I'll wear the mournful willow
Now and for ever I'll wear it my dear.”

The bride she was sitting at the head of the table,
Hearing these words she marked them right well.
It pierced her heart till she could no longer stand it
Down at the feet of the bridegroom she fell.

“Now I am going to ask of you one favour,
I hope that the same you will grant unto me:
'Tis all this long night let me lie with my mother
The rest of my life I will lie along with thee.”

The favour was granted and all things were ready
With sighing and crying they all went to bed.
'Twas early next morning this young man arose
When he went to her chamber he found she was dead.

He picked her up in his bosom so softly
He carried her into the garden again.
He covered her over with flowers so sweetly
Hoping to revive her, but all 'twas in vain.

All round my hat I will wear the mournful willow,
All round my hat for a twelvemonth or more.
But if I should find that it does not become me
Then I'll leave it off for ever and evermore.