First I loved Thomas, but now I love John,
Then I loved Edwin, he's a clever young man.
With his white cotton stockings and his high ankled shoes,
He wears a velvet jacket, like a flash lad he goes.
For fiddling and dancing is all my delight,
And keeping flash company has ruined me quite.
Runined me quite, and a great many more;
If I'd not kept bad company I'd never been so poor.
Take this yellow handkerchief in rememberance of me,
And I hope you will wear it in your high company;
For in the middle of the ocean there shall grow a myrtle tree
Before ever I prove false to the girl that loves me.
Here's adieu to you judges and juries, you are too severe;
You have banished my true love from me I declare.
May the rocks run water and the rivers run dry
If ever I prove false to the girl that loves I.
If the wars should come again, love, what would old England say?
They would wish for the transports they have sent far away.
They would wish for the transports to return back again
To fight for old England their rights to maintain.
Palmer, Roy, Bushes and Briars
, LLanerch, 1999v
Vaughan Williams collected the tune and verses 1 and 3 from Ellen Powell, Westhorpe, Near Weobley, Hertfordshire in 1909. Verses 2,4 and 5 were taken from the broadside 'Flash Company', printed by Jackson and Son, Moor Street, Birmingham, in the Crampton collection, vol 4, p2 BL 11621 h 11.
It was noted from a phonograph recording made in 1907 when Mrs Powell was living at Canon Pyon.
Also commonly found as The False-Hearted Lover
, I Once Loved a Young Man
and The Yellow Handkerchief
; mainly in the South and East of England.
The Bodleian collection doesn't have an example of the Jackson and Son broadside, but there are a number of others:Flash company
There are also several examples of The Wandering Girl
, which Roud includes under the same category.The wandering girlThe wandering girl, or the Bud of rose
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six