MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Nightingales
Mrs. Ambrose Coombs NFLD 2 Tape 4A Track 3
Biscay Bay Audio:
Ballad

LEACH: All right
Mrs. Coombs (Sings):

One morning one morning, one morning in may
A rich and gay couple were coming my way
One was a lady, a rich lady fair
And the other was a soldier a true volunteer

So they walked along together till they came to a spring
Out of his kit bag he pulled his violin
He played it so sweet he made everything ring
And I wonder what's making the nightingales sing

Says the soldier to the lady, its about time we begun
Oh no says the lady just play one more song
For the music enticed me by the tips (?) of the string
And I wonder what's making the nightingales sing

So they walked along together till they came to a spring
And out of his kit bag he pulled his violin
He played it so sweet he made everything ring
And I wonder what's making the nightingale sing

Says the lady to the soldier will you marry me
Oh no says the soldier that never could be
I've a wife in old Porter and children I've three
And another in England that's too many for me

So they walked along together till they came to a spring.
Out of his kit bag he pulled a violin
He played it so sweet he made everything ring
And l wonder what's making the nightingales sing

I’ll go back to old Porter and stay for a year
And instead of cold water I’ll drink whiskey clear
When I return it will be in the spring
To the banks of old Porter where the nightingales sing

So they walked along together till they came to a spring.
Out of his kit bag he pulled a violin
He played it so sweet he made everything ring
And l wonder what's making the nightingales sing

Now come all you young couples wherever you may be
Don't trust any young man nor his company
For the love they will give you till their heart you will gain
Then they'll go way and leave you in sorrow and pain

So they walked along together till they came to a spring.
Out of his kit bag he pulled a violin
He played it so sweet he made everything ring
And l wonder what's making the nightingales sing


Notes


Sources: Laws P14; Karpeles, 1971: 232; Peacock, 1965: 594 (“The Soldier and the Lady;” “The Brave Volunteer”); Belden, 239-244; Randolph, 58; Eddy,103; Flanders/Olney,164-165; BrownIII, 13; Kennedy, 185; Cohen/Seeger/Wood, 52-53; Roud #140
From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Small, Lawrence G. MUNFLA 71-3; Sacrey, Zacchariah MUNFLA 71-54; Doody, Barabara MUNFLA 76-270; Dooley, John Patrick MUNFLA 78-167
 
History: Also known as “One Morning in May.” Earliest record found in 1903 (Belden); Variants found in the United States, Scotland, South London, and Newfoundland.
 
Text: This ballad warns young women of the evils of men.  A talented young man plays the violin for a beautiful young woman.  She falls in love with him and asks him to marry her.  He says that he cannot marry her because he has a wife in Old Porter and another in England.
 
Tune: A classic arch-shaped ABBA form with the conventional higher range in the ‘b’ phrases.  The tonality is major and the metre is 6/8.

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