Early, Early in the Spring [Laws M1]

DESCRIPTION: The singer is (pressed and) sent to sea. (He writes to his true love, but her father withholds the letters.) When he returns, her father tells him she has wed another. He accuses her of unfaithfulness and swears to spend the rest of his life at sea
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1869 (Logan; broadside version appears to date to the seventeenth century)
KEYWORDS: separation courting love poverty sailor pressgang
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So) Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber)) Canada (Mar,Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (31 citations):
Laws M1, "Early, Early in the Spring"
Logan, pp. 28-30, "The Disappointed Sailor" (1 text)
OShaughnessy-Grainger 6, "Early One Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
VaughanWilliams/Palmer, #99, "Early, Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig #128, p. 1, "Early in the Spring" (1 text)
GreigDuncan1 51, "The Sailor Deceived" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
Belden, pp. 163-164, "Early, Early in the Spring" (2 texts)
Randolph 81, "Early, Early in the Spring" (4 texts plus an excerpt, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 77-80, "Early, Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 81D)
McNeil-SFB1, pp. 144-145, "The Disappointed Lover" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boswell/Wolfe 38, pp. 67-69"Early, Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 87, "Early, Early in the Spring" (2 texts plus 1 excerpt)
BrownSchinhanIV 87, "Early, Early in the Spring" (3 excerpts, 3 tunes)
Hudson 41, pp. 155-156, "Early in the Spring" (1 text)
Moore-Southwest 94, "Early In One Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 144-146, "Early, Early in the Spring" (1 text)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 328-331, "Early, Early in the Spring" (3 texts, the third very short; 2 texts on p. 444)
SharpAp 125, "Early, Early in the Spring" (5 texts, 5 tunes)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 154-155, "Early Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-Maritime, p. 98, "Early Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 549-550, "The Letters of Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-Newfoundland 63, "Early, Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fife-Cowboy/West 66, "The Trail to Mexico" (5 texts, 1 tune, of which only the "C" and "D" texts go here; "A" and "B" are "The Trail to Mexico" and "E" is "Going to Leave Old Texas")
JHCox 111, "Early in the Spring" (3 texts plus mention of 1 more)
JHCoxIIA, #18, pp. 79-80, "'Twas Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cambiaire, pp. 55-56, "Early, Early in the Spring (The Girl I Left Behind)" (1 text)
Ashton-Sailor, #56 insert, "The Sailor Deceived" (1 text)
Palmer-Sea 39, "The Disappointed Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
BBI, ZN2863, "When I went early in the Spring"; cf. ZN1423, "In e'ery street I hear 'em sing"
ADDITIONAL: _Sing Out_ magazine, Volume 22, #5 (1973), p, 19, "Early in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune, ending with a suicide; the version was collected in Pennsylvania by Sam Bayard though the informant's name was not recorded)

Roud #152
Robert Cinnamond, "Early, Early, All In the Spring" (on Voice15, IRRCinnamond03)
Nicholas Davis, "The Colour of Amber" (on MUNFLA/Leach) (see NOTES)
Margaret Dirrane, "'Twas Early, Early in the Spring" (on Aran1)
Sam Hazel, "Early, Early in the Spring" (AFS 3095 A2, 3095 B1, 1939)
Leonard Hulan, "The Letters of Love" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Roisin White, "It Was Early Early All In the Spring" (on IRRWhite01)

cf. "The Trail to Mexico" [Laws B13] (plot)
NOTES [133 words]: Several texts of this song, including Belden's "B" and one found by Lomax, convert the sailor to a cowboy. It is quite likely that this is a deliberate recension, and so perhaps worthy of separate listing. But Laws does not distinguish the versions, so we don't either. But cf. "The Trail to Mexico" [Laws B13].
Wolfe notes a suggestion by Sharp and Karpeles that this is based on Vernon's 1793 West Indies expedition. This is obviously possible but not compelling, and has vanisehd from many versions. - RBW
The MUNFLA/Leach text begins with floater "Colour of Amber" verse, in which the singer -- usually female for the verse -- is male. The text also omits the usual "Early, Early in the Spring" verse. Although some of the remaining lines are broken the rest of the text is surely Laws M1. - BS
Last updated in version 4.4
File: LM01

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