I'll spread the green branches although I am young;
So well do I live my love, so sweetly she sung;
Was there ever man in so happy a state
As I and my Flora, my Flora, fair Flora so great?
I will go to my Flora, and to her I'll say,
"We both will be married, it wants but one day,"
"One day!" says this fair one, "One day is to come!
To be married so early, so early, my age is too young."
"I will first go to service, and when I return
We both will be married all in the next town."
"Will you first go to service, and leave me to cry?"
"Yes, lovely shepherds, yes shepherd, I have told you for why."
As it happened, to service, she went,
To wait on a lady, as was her intent;
For to wait on a lady, a rich lady gay,
Who cloth-ed young Flora, young Flora, in costly array.
In twelvemonth, or better, a letter I sent,
Three or four lines for to know her intent;
She wrote that she lived a contented life,
But that she never, she never could be a poor shepherd's wife.
These words and experience they pierced like a dart,
But I'll pluck up my spirits, and cheer up my heart;
By hoping that thus she may write nevermore,
But let me convince her, convince her, as ofttimes before.
Now my ewes and my lambs I will bid them adieu,
My hook, crook and black dog, I'll leave them to you;
My hook, crook and black dog, I'll leave here behind,
Since Flora, fair Flora, fair Flora, has chang-ed her mind.
Lucy Broadwood and J A Fuller Maitland. 1893, English County Songs
, Leadenhall Press, London
From Mr Grantham, carter.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six