The trees they do grow high and the leaves they do grow green,
But the time is gone and past my Love that you and I have seen.
It's a cold winter's night my Love, when you and I must bide alone.
The bonny lad was young but a-growing.
O father, dear father, I fear you've done me harm
You've married me to a bonny boy, but I fear he is too young
O daughter, dearest daughter, but if you stay at home with me
A Lady you shall be while he's growing.
We'll send him to the college for one year or two
And then perhaps in time, my Love, a man he may grow
I will buy you white ribbons to tie about his bonny waist
To let the ladies know that he's married.
At the age of sixteen, O, he was a married man
At the age of seventeen he was the father of a son
At the age of eighteen, my Love, his grave was a-growing green
And so she saw the end of his growing.
I made my love a shroud of holland, O, so fine
And every stitch I put in it the tears came trickling down
And I will sit and mourn his fate until the day that I shall die
And watch all o'er his child while it's growing.
O now my Love is dead and in his grave doth lie
The green grass that's over him it groweth up so high
O once I had a sweetheart now I've got never a one
So fare you well, my own true Love, for ever.
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Sharp, C (ed),1916,One Hundred English Folksongs,Boston,Oliver Ditson Co
Cecil Sharp wrote:
The singer varied his tune, which is in the Dorian mode, in a very remarkable way, a good example of the skill with which folksingers will alter their tune to fit various metrical irregularities in the words (see English Folk Song: Some Conclusions, p. 25). For versions with tunes, see the Journal of the Folk-Song Society (volume i, p. 2 14; volume ii, pp. 44, 9S, 206, and 274); Songs of the West (No. 4, 2d ed.); English Traditional Songs and Carols (p. 56); Christie's Traditional Ballad Airs ("Young Craigston");and Johnson's Scots Musical Museum. volume iv ("Lady Mary Ann").
For some reason or other, Child makes no mention of this ballad. For particulars of the custom of wearing ribands to denote betrothal or marriage, see "Ribands " in Hazlitt's Dictionary of Faiths and Folk-Lore.
Roud: 31 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six