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Folk Songs of the Four Seasons

Word count: 2075

Cantata by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. Prologue: To the ploughboy [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



Come all you young ploughboys and help me to sing, 
I'll sing in the praise of you all
For if we don't labour how can we get bread?
Let's sing and be merry withal.
 
Refrain:
 Let's sing, sing, sing and be merry, be merry,
 Let's sing and be merry withal.
 
Here's April, here's May, here's June and July
What pleasure to see the corn grow
In August we'll moil it, we reap sheath an tie
And go down with our scythes, for to mow.

(Refrain)
 
And when we have laboured an reaped every sheaf,
And gleanèd up every ear,
We'll make no more ado but to plough we will go,
To provide for the very next year.

(Refrain)


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

2a. Early in the Spring [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



O early, early in the Spring, 
The cuckoo and the nightingale
So sweetly were singing.
As I walked out one May morning 
O, there I did two lovers see,
They were taking of the air, O...
Then this young couple they walked along,
And this young man he sang a song,
Thinking to gain her favour.
'Since you've gained my heart', said she,
'And stolen away my liberty,
Pray grant to me your name, Sir.
To church then this young couple went, 
And married were, in sweet content,
She and her own true lover.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

2b. The lark in the morning [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



As I was a-walking one morning in the Spring,
I heard a pretty damsel most sweetly to sing,
And as she was singing these words she did say,
'There's no life like a ploughboy's all in the month of May!'
 
The lark in the morning doth rise from her nest
She mounts in the air with the dew round her breast.
It's all day long she will whistle and sing,
And at night she will return to her own nest again, again.
 
And when the pretty ploughboy his day's work is done,
He trips down to the meadows where the grass is all cut down,
And there with his sweetheart he'll dance and he'll sing,
And at night he will return with his lass
At night he will return with his lass home again.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

2c. May song [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



O we've been rambling all this night 
And some part of this day,
And now we have returned again 
And have brought you a branch of May.
 
A branch of May we've brought to you
And at your door it stands,
It is but a spray, but it's bright and gay
By the work of our Lord's hands. Ah. Ah..
 
The fields they are so green, 
So green as any leaf;
Our Lord, our God has watered them
With heavenly dew so sweet.

Awake, awake, you pretty, pretty maid,
Out of our rosy dream,
And step into your dairy below
And fetch us a bowl of cream.
 
Our song is done and we must be gone,
No longer can we stay,
So God bless you all, both great and small, 
And we wish you a joyful May.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

3a. Summer is a-coming in and the Cuckoo [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English after the English

Authorship


Based on

See other settings of this text.


Summer is a-coming in
Loudly sing cuckoo,
Groweth seed an bloweth mead
And spring'th the wood a-new.
Sing cuckoo, sing cuckoo.
Merry sing cuckoo
 
O the cuckoo she's a pretty bird
She singeth as she flies;
She bringeth good tidings,
She telleth no lies.
She suckeht white flowers
For to keep her voice clear;
And the more she singeth "Cuckoo"
The summer draweth near.
Ah..


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

3b. The sprig of thyme [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



Come all ye pretty maidens
have you keep your gardens clean
And let no one steal your thyme.
 
My garden was planted full
Of flowers ev'rywhere, flowers ev'rywhere.
But for myself I wouldnot choose
The flower I held so dear.
 
The primrose I did refuse
Because it came too soon
The lily and pink I overlooked
And vowed I would wait till June.
 
In June came the rose so red
And that's the flower for me:
But when I gathered the rose so dear
I gained but the willow tree.
 
My garden is now run wild,
When shall I plant it new?
My bed that once was filled with thyme
Is all overrun with rue.
 
Green willow it will twist,
Green willow it will twine,
And I wish I was in that young man's arms
That once had the heart of mine.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

3c. The sheep shearing [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



It's a rosebud in June, 
and the violets in full bloom
The small birds are singing 
love songs from each spray.
 
Refrain:
 We'll pipe and we'll sing, Love,
 We'll dance in a ring, Love.
 When each lad takes his lass,
 All on the green grass,
 And it's all to plow
 Where the fat oxen graze low;
 And the lads and the lasses do sheepshearing go.
 
When we have all shear'd, our jolly, jolly sheep
Nothing brings more joy, than to talk of their increase.
(Refrain)


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

3d. The green meadow [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



It's of a lawyer fine and gay, 
As he rode through the city
O there he spied on a lovely maid, 
She was handsome, fair an pretty.
 
"Good morning unto you fair maid, 
And where are you a-going?"
"Down in yonder green meadow," said she,
"Where my father is a-mowing."
 
"So now you come to London," he says, 
"It's there a fine lady I'll make you,
And you shall enjoy a silken gown, 
Diamonds rings, gold chain and gold laces."
 
"I'd rather be a poor man's wife
And sit at my wheel a-spinning,
Than I would be a lawyer jade 
In my laces and fine linen."
 
And now she is a poor man's wife,
Her husband dearly loves her;
She lives a sweet contented life,
No lady in town is above her.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

4a. John Barleycorn [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English after the English

Translation(s): DUT

List of language codes

Authorship


Based on

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):


There came three men from out the West
Their victory to try,
And they have taken a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

Refrain:
  Sing right follol the diddle all the dee
  Right folleero dee.

They took a plough and ploughed him in
Laid clods upon his head
And they have taken a solemn oath
John Barleycorn is dead.

So then he lay for three long weeks
Till the dew from heaven did fall,
John Barleycorn sprang up again
And that surprised them all.

There he remained till midsummer
And looked both pale and wan,
For all he had a spikey beard
To shew he was a man.

But soon came men with their sharp scythes
And chopped him to the knee
They rolled and tied him by the waist
And served him barbarously.

We'll tip white wine into a glass
And scarlet into a can
John Barleycorn and his brown bowl
Shall prove the better man.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

4b. The unquiet grave [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship


See other settings of this text.


Cold blows the wind to my true love,
And a few drops the rain,
I never had but one true love,
And in greenwood he lies slain,
And in greenwood he lies slain.
 
I'll do as much for my true love
As any young girl may;
I'll sit and weep down by his grave
Your days they would not be long.
Your days they would not be long.
 
When twelve month were come and gone,
This young man he arose
"What makes you weep down by my grave,
I can't take my repose?"
I can't take my repose?"
 
"One kiss, one kiss of your white lips
One kiss is all I crave
One kiss of your lips
And return back to your grave
And return back to your grave".
 
"My lips they are as cold as clay,
My breath is earthly and strong
And if you were to kiss my lilywhite lips,
Your days would not be long.
Your days would not be long."
 
"My time be long, my time be short,
Tomorrow or today,
Sweet Christ in Heaven have all my soul
And take my life away
And take my life away, away."


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

4c. An acre of land [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship


My father left me an acre of land,
Ivy, sing Ivery,
My father left me an acre of land,
And a bunch of green holly and Ivery.

I ploughed it with a ram's horn;
Ivy, sing Ivery,
I sowed it with a thimble,
And a bunch of green holly and Ivery.

I harrowed it with a bramble bush;
Ivy, sing Ivery,
I reaped it with a penknife,
And a bunch of green holly and Ivery.

I sent it home in a walnut shell;
Ivy, sing Ivery,
I threshed it with my needle and thread,
And a bunch of green holly and Ivery.

I winnowed it with my handkerchief;
Ivy, sing Ivery,
I sent it to mill with a team of great rats;
And a bunch of green holly and Ivery.

The carter brought a curly whip;
Ivy, sing Ivery,
The whip did pop and the wagon did stop;
And a bunch of green holly and Ivery.


Submitted by Emily Ezust

5a. Children's Christmas Song (Yorkshire Wassail) [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



We've been a-while a-wandering
Amongst the leaves so green.
But now we come a wassailing
So plainly to be seen.
 
For it's Christmas time,
when we travel far and near;
May God bless you 
and send you a happy New Year.
 
We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door;
We are your neighbors children,
Whom you've seen before;
For it's, etc.
 
Good master and good mistress,
While you're sitting by the fire,
Pray think of us poor children
That's wandered in the mire;
For it's, etc.
 
We've got a little purse;
Made of leathern ratchin skin;
We want a little of your money
To line it well within;
For it's, etc.
 
Bring us out a table
And spread it with a cloth,
Bring us out a mouldy cheese
And some of your Christmas loaf;
For it's, etc.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

5b. Wassail song [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship


Wassail, Wassail, all over the town,
Our bread it is white and ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the green maple tree;
In the Wassail bowl we'll drink unto thee.

Here's a health to the ox and to his right eye,
Pray God send our master a good Christmas pie,
A good Christmas pie as e'er I did see.
In the Wassail bowl we'll drink unto thee.

Here's a health to the ox and to his right horn,
Pray God send our master a good crop of corn,
A good crop of corn as e'er I did see,
In the Wassail bowl we'll drink unto thee.

Here's a health to the ox and to his long tail,
Pray God send our master a good cask of ale,
A good cask of ale as e'er I did see,
In the Wassail bowl we'll drink unto thee.

Come, butler, come fill us a bowl of the best;
Then I pray that your soul in heaven may rest;
But if you do bring us a bowl of the small,
May the Devil take butler, bowl and all!

Then here's to the maid in the lily white smock,
Who tripp'd to the door and slipp'd back the lock;
Who tripp'd to the door and pull'd back the pin,
For to let these jolly Wassailers walk in.


Submitted by Emily Ezust

5c. In Bethlehem City [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



In Bethlehem city, in Judea it was,
That Joseph and Mary together did pass,
All for to be taxed when thither they came,
For Caesar Augustus commanded the same.
 
Chorus:
   Then let us be merry, cast sorrow away,
   Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on this day.
 
But Mary's full time being come as we find,
She brought forth her first-born to save all mankind;
The inn being full of the heavenly Guest,
No place could she find to lay Him to rest.

(Chorus)
 
Then they were constrained in a stable to lie
Where horses and asses they used for to tie.
Their lodging so simple the look in no scorn,
Our Saviour, Ou Saviour was born!

(Chorus)
 
Then God send an angel from Heaven so high
To certain poor shepherds in fields where they lie.
And bade them no longer in sorrow to stay
Because that our Saviour was born on this day.

(Chorus)
 
Then presently after the shepherds did spy,
Vast numbers of angels did stand in the sky;
So merry were talking, so sweetly did sing,
"All glory and praise to the heavenly King!"
 
Chorus:
  Then let us be merry, cast sorrow aside,
  Our Saviour Christ Jesus was born on this tide.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

5d. God bless the Master [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Authorship



God Bless the master of this house,
with happiness beside
Where'er his body rides or walks
His God must be his guide
His God must be his guide.
 
God Bless the mistress of this house
With gold chain on her breast
Where'er her body sleeps or wakes,
Lord send her soul to rest,
Lord send her soul to rest.
 
God Bless your house, your children too,
Your cattle and your store,
The Lord increase you day by day
And send you more and more
And send you more and more.


Submitted by Lidy van Noordenburg

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