Banks of Sweet Primroses, The

DESCRIPTION: Speaker, while walking by banks of primroses, sees and courts a lovely woman. She spurns him and declares her intention to separate from men. (He tells listeners that even a cloudy, dark morning turns into a sunshiny day.)
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: courting rejection flowers
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,North,South),Wales,Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (14 citations):
Sharp-100E 51, "The Sweet Primeroses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 97, "Sweet Primaroses" (1 text)
KarpelesCrystal 41, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, p. 17, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 387, "Banks of the Sweet Primroses" (1 text including vocal rendition)
Palmer-ECS, #79, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #39, "Banks of Sweet Primroses" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan8 1841, "There's Mony a Dark and a Cloudy Morning" (1 fragment)
MacSeegTrav 68, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 127-128, "As I Rode Out" (1 text, 1 tune)
Butterworth/Dawney, p. 6, "As I Roamed Out" (1 text, 1 tune, listed by Dawney as "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" although the surviving text is quite close to the "As I Roved Out" versions of "Seventeen Come Sunday" [Laws O17]; Butterworth expurgated several verses which might have clarified the origin)
OShaughnessy-Yellowbelly1 2, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (1 text, 1 tune)
Purslow-Constant, p. 5, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #586
Bob & Ron Copper, "Sweet Primeroses" (on FSB1, HiddenE)
Louis Killen, "The Banks of Sweet Primroses" (on BirdBush2)
Phil Tanner, "The Sweet Prim-E-Roses" (Columbia FB 1570; on Voice01 as "The Sweet Primrose"; on Lomax41, LomaxCD1741)

NLScotland, L.C.Fol.70(141), "The Banks of sweet Primroses," unknown, c. 1830-1850
cf. "Lovely Nancy (VI)" (floating lyrics)
Three Long Steps
NOTES [213 words]: The GreigDuncan8 fragment is a floating "cloudy morning" verse that might as well be put here.
The floating weather verse can cut both ways. GreigDuncan8 1841, included here, has both options: "There's mony a dark and a cloudy morning Turns out a bright and sunny day And there's mony a bright and sunny morning Turns out a dark and a rainy day."
The more familiar option, usually in "The Banks of Sweet Primroses," "The Dark-Eyed Sailor" [Laws N35], "The First Time That I Saw My Love," and "Lovely Nancy" (VI) begins with the cloudy morning. "Oh! No, No" begins with "the brightest of mornings." "Nancy" (II) [Laws P12] can go either way as a follow-up to "Never cast your first true love away." - BS
In this connection, the mention of Sweet Primroses just might be significant. Ruth Binney, Nature's Way: lore, legend, fact and fiction, David and Charles, 2006, pp. 90-91, points out that "The evening primrose (Oenetherus) became the emblem of silent love because of its habit of opening its delicate pale yellow petals only at night." In general, she declares that the meaning of the primrose is that "I might learn to love you."
Purslow speculated that the final verse, which is absent in some versions, was added by a broadside printer to give the song a conclusion. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: ShH51

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