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Bushes and Briars

[ Roud 1027 ; Ballad Index FSOE026 ; Bodleian Roud 1027 ; trad.]

Isla Cameron sang the ballad Bushes and Briars on her self-titled album Isla Cameron (1966) and in the film Far from the Madding Crowd. June Tabor also sang it as on of her first recordings, on the 1974 album The First Folk Review Record. This album's sleeve notes comment:

The words are those printed in The Seeds of Love, and the tune—used in the film Far from the Madding Crowd—was collected by Cecil Sharp.

Bushes and Briars is also on Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr's eponymous album Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr (1993) and included in their compilation CD On Reflection. Eliza commented in the first album's sleeve notes:

Bushes and Briars is a traditional song. I got it in two versions from my mother and father. This is my dad's version, not as long as some more popular versions. On the wax cylinder it is sung by a woman who sounds like a trained singer but is was collected from a Mr Pottipher in Essex by Vaughan Williams.

Coope Boyes & Simpson recorded Bushes and Briars in 2005 for their CD Triple Echo: Songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth and Percy Grainger.

Paul James sang Bushes and Briars in 2018 on Blowzabella's album Two Score.

Sandy Denny's Bushes and Briars on her album Sandy is a completely different song.

Lyrics

Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr sing Bushes and Briars

Through bushes and through briars
I've lately made my way
All for to hear the small birds sing
And the lambs to skip and play
All for to hear the small birds sing
And the lambs to skip and play

I overhead a female
Her voice it rang so clear
Long time have I been waiting for
The coming of my dear
Long time have I been waiting for
The coming of my dear

Sometimes I am uneasy
And troubled in my mind
Sometimes I think I'll go to my love
And tell to him my mind

But if I should go to my love my love
He would say “nay”
If I show to him my boldness
He'd ne'er love me again
If I show to him my boldness
He'd never love me again

Through bushes and through briars
I've lately made my way
All for to hear the small birds sing
And the lambs to skip and play
All for to hear the small birds sing
And the lambs to skip and to play

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by both Kira White and Garry Gillard. Thank you!