Author Topic: Add: The Queen of the May


Posted - 08 Apr 03 - 01:17 pm

Queen of the May, The

Now the winter is over and summer is come,
And the meadows they look pleasant and gay;
I spied a fair maid and so sweetly sung she,
And her cheeks like the blossom of May.
I said, "My fair maid, oh! its how come you here,
In these meadows so soon in the morn?"
Oh! the maid she replied, "For to gather some May,
For the trees are all now in full bloom."

I said, "My fair maid, Oh! shall I accompany you,
In these meadows so pleasant and gay?"
Oh! the maid she replied, "I would rather be excused,
I'm afraid you will lead me astray."
Then I took hold of her lily-white hand,
'Pon the green grassy banks we sat down,
Then I planted a kiss on her sweet ruby lips,
While the small birds were singing all round.

And when we arose, Oh! she gave to me a smile,
And she thanked me for what I had done,
Then I planted a spring in her snowy-white breast,
And, believe me, there never grows a thorn.
'Twas early next morning I made her my bride,
That the people might have nothing to say,
Then the bells they did ring and the bridesmaids did sing,
And I crowned her the Queen of the May.

Source: Purslow, F, 1968,The Wanton Seed, EFDS Publications, London


Frank Purslow wrote:

Hammond D 509. Text and tune from Sam Dawe, Beaminster. An 18th century minor art-song which has kept its place in the tradition fairly well. Sam Dawe's tune sounds very "composed" but it has many similarities to a number of Irsih tunes, The Foggy Dew, for instance (the tune to which A. P. Graves wrote his new verses).

Database entry is here.

Edited By dmcg - 08/04/2003 13:22:40


Posted - 08 Apr 03 - 01:31 pm

I only know this from a John Kirkpatrick version, where he sings it at about half the speed of this MIDI (and in my view makes it quite dreary!) Is anyone able to comment further on the appropriate speed for this one?

Jon Freeman

Posted - 08 Apr 03 - 03:12 pm

I don't know the song but if I was to sing it, I would want to take it slower than it is now. Perhaps 3/4 pace rather than 1/2 pace would be nice.



Posted - 08 Apr 03 - 03:24 pm

A word of explanation: at the moment I haven't set a speed at all - the MIDI is just running at the default tempo. If no-one else knows an 'official' tempo I will dig out my Kirkpatrick version and experiment until I can match the tune to his version.

I've changed my mind: I've now put in a provisional tempo and will fine-tune it later.

Edited By dmcg - 08/04/2003 15:51:35

Jon Freeman

Posted - 08 Apr 03 - 04:24 pm

FWIW Dave, I don't know what fraction of the original MIDI that is but that seems about the pace I think I would try to sing this song at.


masato sakurai

Posted - 04 Jun 03 - 03:27 pm

There'er seven editions at Bodleian Broadside Ballads.

Queen of May

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 04 Jun 03 - 04:09 pm

Roud 594

Frequently met with as The Ploughboy's Courtship or As I Walked Through the Meadows. The early 20th century collectors found it quite widespread in England (it has only very occasionally turned up anywhere else) in a number of variant forms.


Posted - 17 Mar 04 - 03:54 pm

Here is another Hammond version, collected from Roberts Barrett, Puddletown

T:The Ploughboy
B:A Dorset Book of Folk Songs, EFDSS, 1948
S:Roberts Barrett, Puddletown
Z:H. E. D.Hammond
A A |(DE) FG (AB) c B |(AF) E F D2
w:Now the win -ter is ov-*er and sum-*mer is come,
(cB) |(GB) c A d2 d B | A6
w:Our_ mea-*dows look plea-sant and gay
F G |A2 (3:2:(AB)^c d2 ed |dB AF D2
w:Where the larks and_ the lin-nets do sweet-a-ly do sing
F G |(Ad) d B (AG) E F | (DEF) D G2
w:And the small_ birds on ev-*'ry green spray__ green spray
F G |A2 d B A2 EF |D6 |]
w: And the small birds on ev-ry green spray.

The lyrics are very similar to 'Queen of the May', but the melody reminds me of 'The Mermaid'.

Edited By dmcg - 17-Mar-2004 04:00:18 PM

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