Hawthorn Green, The
DESCRIPTION: The ballad explains that while a hawthorn's freshness returns even when cut almost to the root a maiden's beauty, once lost, is not refreshed.
EARLIEST DATE: 1790 (Ritson); the Cotton manuscript is from no later than the early seventeenth century
LONG DESCRIPTION: A maid marvels that a hawthorn remains so green and asks the tree its secret. The hawthorn explains that the dew renews it year after year even if its flowers and branches are taken. On the other hand a maid "when your beauty once does go Then it will never more be seen." The maid had "thought herself so fair and clean, Her beauty still would ever grow green" but now fears that her already lost virginity will be obvious to anyone who sees her. The next year the maid does not return to talk to the hawthorn again.
KEYWORDS: vanity virginity questions beauty dialog
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Bord))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Lyle-Crawfurd1 4, "The Hawthorn Green" (1 text)
Wells, p. 279, "Dargason" (1 partial text, 1 tune, said to be the source for this)
ADDITIONAL: W. Chappell, Popular Music of the Olden Time (London, n.d. [1859 per Internet Archive]), Vol I, pp. 64-66, "A Mery Ballet of the Hathorne Tre" (1 text, 1 tune)
Joseph Ritson, Ancient Songs from the Time of King Henry the Third to the Revolution (London, 1790 ("Digitized by Google")), #IV.5 pp. 146-148, "A Mery Ballet of the Hawthorne Tre" (1 text)
Peter J. Seng, _Tudor Songs and Ballads from MS Cotton Vespasian A-25_, Harvard University Press, 1978, #38, pp. 82-83, "A mery Ballet of the Hatorne tre" (1 text)
NOTES [88 words]: Lyle-Crawfurd2, p. x: "MS ... which includes a song version like 4 "The Hawthorn Green" ..., should have been assigned to the sixteenth, not the fifteenth, century." This corrects a statement at Lyle-Crawfurd1, p. xxxv. Ritson puts his text in class IV, "comprehending the Reigns of Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth [1547-1603]."
Except for differences in dialect, there is no substantial difference between the Chappell and Lyle-Crawfurd1 texts; both omit three verses in which it becomes clear that the girl is not a virgin. - BS
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