What's the Life of a Man?

DESCRIPTION: Singer, walking, observes the leaves that have fallen, noting that a few days ago they were green and growing. He calls attention to the churchyard, and to those who have withered and passed like a leaf." (But man, unlike leaves, will rise to be judged.)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (Sharp mss.; Vaughn Williams collection)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Singer, walking, observes the leaves that have fallen, noting that a few days ago they were green and growing, but a frost has withered them and a storm knocked them down. He calls attention to the churchyard, and to those who have withered and passed "like a leaf from a tree." (But man, unlike leaves, will rise again, according to scripture, and be judged.) Chorus: "What's the life of a man any more than the leaf?/A man has his seasons so why should he grieve?/For although in this world we appear bright and gay/Like a leaf we must wither and soon fade away"
KEYWORDS: age disability death nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South)) Canada(Ont)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Williams-Thames, p. 238, "What's the Life of a Man Any More Than a Leaf?" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 513)
Kennedy 264, "What's The Life of a Man?" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-ECS, #129, "What's the Life of a Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #149, "The Life of a Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, LIFEMAN*

Roud #848
RECORDINGS:
Mrs. William Towns, "What Is the Life of a Man Any More than the Leaves?" (on Ontario1)
NOTES: Some folks really know how to brighten up a day. - PJS
According to Palmer, this originated as a broadside, "The Fall of the Leaf," but was much improved by tradition. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: K264

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