Week 53 – Banks of the Sweet Primroses

The banks of sweet primroses - ballad from the Bodleian Library's collection. Printed by J. Catnach, Seven Dials, London, between 1813 and 1838.

The banks of sweet primroses – ballad from the Bodleian Library’s collection. Printed by J. Catnach, Seven Dials, London, between 1813 and 1838.

To start the second year of the blog, here’s the quintessential rural English folk song.

It’s only in the last few years that I’ve actually added this to my repertoire. I found myself humming the tune to myself on an increasingly frequent basis and, since I seemed to have picked up most of the words by osmosis, decided I really ought to learn it. The words I sing are more or less as sung by the Copper Family. My tune is similar to their version too; although, as pointed out in the notes to the song in the The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs (a truly excellent publication – every home should have one), this is one of relatively few English folk songs which always seem to have been sung to pretty much the same tune.

The concluding couplet is wonderfully uplifting:

There is many a dark and a cloudy morning
Turns out to be a bright sunshiny day.

Although, as many festival-goers will have discovered this weekend, in practice you’ll often find that a bright sunshiny morning turns into a miserable afternoon and evening of raging winds and heavy gales.

Oh well, mustn’t grumble.

Banks of the Sweet Primroses

One Comment to “Week 53 – Banks of the Sweet Primroses”

  1. I am familiar with this song and I enjoyed your rendition of it very much.

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