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Linden Lea

[ RoudBS B104645 ; Mudcat 7662 , 15643 ; words William Barnes (1801-1886), music Ralph Vaughan Williams]

My Orcha'd in Lindèn Lea was written by Dorset writer and poet William Barnes (1801-1886). It was first published in 1859 in Hwomely Rhymes: A Second Collection of Poems in The Dorset Dialect, and was then entitled My Orchet in Linden Lea.

The second edition of this book, published in 1863 as Poems of Rural Life in The Dorset Dialect, Second Collection, saw the title amended with ‘Orchet’ respelled ‘Orcha'd’ and a grave accent added to the ‘e’ in ‘Linden’.

Tim Laycock sang My Orcha'd in Lindea Lea on the 1978 Forest Tracks album of the dialect poetry of William Barnes, Lydlinch Bells.

Colin Thompson sang Linden Lea in 1980 on his Fellside album Three Knights.

Dave Swarbrick sang Lynden Lea on Whippersnapper's 1989 album Fortune.

Graham Moore sang Linden Lea on his 1995 album Tom Paine's Bones.

Maggie Boyle sang Linden Lea in 1996 on her and Steve Tilston's CD All Under the Sun and in 2012 on her CD Won't You Come Away. She noted on her CD:

These exquisite words were written by 19th century poet, William Barnes, in his beloved Dorset dialect, and set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. I recorded this song many years ago, and am pleased to have done so again—I will never tire of singing it.

Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman sang Linden Lea in 1998 on their CD Constant Lovers.

Jane and Amanda Threlfall sang Linden Lea on their 2000 CD Morning Tempest.

Hilary James and Simon Mayor sang Linden Lea on the latter's 2006 CD Music from a Small Island. He noted:

This lovely poem by the nineteenth century poet William Barnes is a favourite from Hilary's childhood when she knew it in a different setting by Vaughan Williams. It was written in Barnes' local Dorset dialect which, not being from that corner of England herself, Hilary does not attempt! The sentiment of the last verse in particular still resonates today. We recorded it a few years ago to the Vaughan Williams tune but were unable to get permission from his estate to release it, so here it is in a new setting.

Maddy Prior sang Linden Lea in 2010 on her CD with the Carnival Band, Vaughan Williams: Carols, Songs & Hymns.

Fay Hield sang Linden Lea in 2013 on The Full English's eponymous Topic album, The Full English.

Ollie King sang Linden Lea in 2017 on his CD Diffractions. He noted:

I learnt the melody of this song from my good friend Owen Woods (it appears as an instrumental on his incredible album In Any Weather), and first heard the song proper from The Full English. It is a setting of William Barnes' 1859 poem My Orcha'd in Linden Lea, and was originally written in Barnes's native Dorset dialect. It's a song that has comfortably entered the folk canon, and as such at times has suffered from the rigours of the folk process. I've gone back to Vaughan Williams's original, and attempted to use his original scoring as much as possible.

GreenMatthews sang Linden Lea on their 2019 CD Roots & Branches. They noted:

William Barnes (1801-1886) was an Anglican priest who was vicar of Winterborne Came in Dorset. Unusually for the time, many of his poems were written in the local Dorset dialect. Linden Lea remained a poem until 1901, when it was set to music by an up-and-coming young songwriter called Ralph Vaughan Williams.


My Orcha'd in Lindèn Lea
William Barnes
Linden Lea
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Words by William Barnes

'Ithin the woodlands, flow'ry gleäded,
By the woak tree's mossy moot,
The sheenèn grass-bleädes, timber sheäded,
Now do quiver under voot;
An' birds do whissle auver head,
An' water's bubblèn in its bed,
An' there vor me the apple tree
Do leän down low in Linden Lea.

Within the woodlands, flow'ry gladed,
By the oak tree's mossy moot,
The shining grass-blades, timber-shaded,
Now do quiver underfoot;
And birds do whistle overhead,
And water's bubbling in its bed,
And there for me the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

When leaves that leätley wer a-springèn
Now do feäde 'ithin the copse,
An' païnted birds do hush their zingèn
Up upon the timber's tops;
An' brown-leav'd fruit's a-turnèn red,
In cloudless zunsheen, auver head,
Wi' fruit vor me, the apple tree
Do leän down low in Linden Lea.

When leaves that lately were a-springing
Now do fade within the copse,
And painted birds do hush their singing
Up upon the timber-tops;
And brown-leaved fruit's a-turning red,
In cloudless sunshine, overhead,
With fruit for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.

Let other vo'k meäke money vaster
In the aïr o' dark-room'd towns,
I don't dread a peevish meäster;
Though noo man do heed my frowns,
I be free to goo abrode,
Or teäke ageän my hwomeward road
To where, vor me, the apple tree
Do leän down low in Linden Lea.

Let other folk make money faster
In the air of dark-roomed towns,
I don't dread a peevish master;
Though no man may heed my frowns,
I be free to go abroad,
Or take again my homeward road
To where, for me, the apple tree
Do lean down low in Linden Lea.