John Hughson SA1972.99.10
This lament of which John sings just three verses, has a long history and over 127 versions of it have been published, the earliest being in Ramsay’s Tea Table Miscellany 1724 (vol. 2, p. 170) and Thomson’s Orpheus Caledonius (vol. 1, p. 71). Various verses have migrated to other songs, though all of them tend to be love laments and John’s third verse can be found in a number. His fine tune somewhat resembles the well known English version collected by Cecil Sharp and printed in Folk Songs from Somerset (1907) but it is cast in minor sounding mode: it is quite unlike the florid air the air printed in most Scottish collections. Steve Roud cites a number of related songs containing some of John’s verses: e.g. Roud no 87, 6289 and 18829. Three other verses that Sharp collected are appended below John’s version.
Down in yon meadows fresh and gay
We were plucking flooers there during the day;
We were plucking flooers both red and blue,
And little knew I what love could do.
Love is planted there it grows,
It buds and blooms like any rose;
It’s got such a sweet and fragrant smell
That no flooer on earth could it excel.
I leant my back up against an oak
Thinking it was a trusty tree,
But it first it bent and then it broke
And so did my false love to me.
I put my hand into the bush
Thinking the sweetest flower to find,
I pricked my finger to the bone
And leaved the sweetest flower alone.
There is a ship sailing on the sea
But it’s loaded so deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as in love I am,
I care not whether I sink or swim.
Since my love’s dead and gone to rest
I’ll think on her who I love best.
I’ve sewed her up in flannel strong,
Have another now she’s dead and gone.