False Bride, The (The Week Before Easter; I Once Loved a Lass)

DESCRIPTION: The singer reports that the woman he once loved is going to be wed to another. He mopes around in various ways -- e.g. looking for flowers out of season. His friends fail to lift his spirits. He declares his intent to die in hopes of forgetting her
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1675 (broadside, Bodleian Douce Ballads 1(83a)); also printed in the reign of James II (1685-1688)
KEYWORDS: love infidelity courting marriage death wedding lyric
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber),England(South,Lond)) Ireland Canada(Newf,Ont) Australia
REFERENCES (17 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, pp. 187-188, "I Think by This Time He's Forgot Her" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 152, "The False Bride" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig #24, p. 1, "The False Bride" (1 text plus 1 fragment)
GreigDuncan6 1198, "The False Bride" (20 texts plus a single verse on p. 568, 17 tunes)
Ord, p. 175, "It Wasna My Fortune to Get Her" (1 text)
OLochlainn 86, "The Lambs on the Green Hills" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 441-442, "The False Maiden" (1 text, 2 tunes)
Karpeles-Newfoundland 31, "The False Bride" (2 texts, 3 tunes)
Fowke-Ontario 44, "I Once Loved a Lass" (1 text, 1 tune, from LaRena (Mrs. Gordon) Clark, which begins with verses probably from "The False Bride (The Week Before Easter; I Once Loved a Lass," continues with stanzas from "Green Grows the Laurel (Green Grow the Lilacs)," then has a "My love is like a dewdrop" stanza often found in "Farewell He," and includes several other lyrics that might have floated in)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 37, "The False Bride" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-ECS, #89, "Three Weeks Before Easter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 400, "I Courted a Bonny Lass" (1 text)
OShaughnessy-Yellowbelly1 14, "The False Bride" (1 text, 1 tune)
CopperSeason, pp. 236-237, "A Week Before Easter" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #56, "A Week Before Easter" (1 text, 1 tune)
BBI, ZN2765, "A week before Easter"; ZN2766, "The week before Easter"
DT 848, FLSEBRDE FLSEBRD2* FLSEBRD3* FLSEBRD4 FLSEBRD5* FLSEBRD6* FLSEBRD7* FLSEBRD8

Roud #154
RECORDINGS:
Harry Burgess, "A Week Before Easter" (on Voice15)
Bob Copper, "The False Bride" (on FSB1)
Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, "I Loved a Lass" (on SCMacCollSeeger01)
Sarah Makem, "I Courted a Wee Girl" (on Voice01)
Patrick Rossiter, "The False Maiden" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Douce Ballads 1(83a), "The Forlorn Lover" ("A week before Easter"), F. Coles (London), 1663-1674; also Douce Ballads 3(32a), "The Forlorn Lover"
NLScotland, R.B.m.143(128), "It Was Not My Fortune To Get Her," Poet's Box (Dundee), c. 1890

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "My Bonny Brown Jane"
cf. "If I Were a Fisher" (floating verses)
cf. "Drei Wochen vor Oschrdren (Three Weeks before Easter)" (lyrics, general feeling)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Forlorn Lover
I Ainse Loved a Lass
I Loved a Lass
The Week Before Easter
Three Weeks Before Easter
Six Weeks Before Easter
The Forsaken Bridegroom
My Bonnie Bride
The Forsaken Lover
NOTES: Some versions (for example, "I Loved A Lass" on SCMacCollSeeger01) include a verse close to Opie-Oxford2 318, "A man in the wilderness asked me": "A man in the wilderness asked me, How many strawberries grow in the sea? I answered him, as I thought good, As many as red herrings grow in the wood" (earliest date in Opie-Oxford2 is 1716). [Also in Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #142, p. 114. - RBW]
Is it significant that this verse is not in any of the printed versions that I consulted: Peacock, Karpeles-Newfoundland, Bodleian broadsides or Greig Folk-Song of the North-East 24? - BS
Verses of this type do show up in folktales, however. The "strawberries/blackberries in the sea" stanza, for instance, occurs in the tale of "The Man in the Wilderness," which is found on pp. 404-405 of volume A.1 of Katherine Briggs, A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language, Part A: Folk Narratives, 1970 (I use the 1971 Routledge paperback that combines volumes A.1 and A.2). There are two other verses of the sort in that narrative. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: K152

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