Friday, January 29, 2010

Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden

Photobucket

Ah, the romance of a lover thought lost who finally comes home! One such, of course, is the Greek hero Odysseus, whose return to his wife Penelope after twenty years away (first to the Trojan War, then on wanderings brought on by having offended a god) is recounted, in Nigel Spivey’s 2005 book SONGS ON BRONZE, in a few brief sentences of such sensuality that—ahem. Let’s just say they’re very sexy.

No doubt that ancient tale lies at the root of many of our folk ballads about a lost lover come home. They go by various titles: "John Riley" is one such, while one could argue that "The Demon Lover" is another, with a supernatural twist. My favorite of them is "Pretty Fair Maid in the Garden" which exists in several variants, including this one by Tim O’Brien, from his CD FIDDLER’S GREEN.



Lyrics:

Pretty fair maid was in her garden
When a stranger came a-riding by
He came up to the gate and called her
Said pretty fair maid would you be my bride

She said I've a true love who's in the army
And he's been gone for seven long years
And if he's gone for seven years longer
I'll still be waiting for him here

Perhaps he's on some watercourse drowning
Perhaps he's on some battlefield slain
Perhaps he's to a fair girl married
And you may never see him again

Well if he's drown, I hope he's happy
Or if he's on some battlefield slain
And if he's to some fair girl married
I'll love the girl that married him

He took his hand out of his pocket
And on his finger he wore a golden ring
And when she saw that band a-shining
A brand new song her heart did sing

And then he threw his arms all around her
Kisses gave her one, two, three
Said I'm your true and loving soldier
That's come back home to marry thee

Pretty fair maid was in her garden
When a stranger came a-riding by
He came up to the gate and called her
Said pretty fair maid would you be my bride

That’s only in the folk genre, though. There are others spread across the entire musical spectrum. Do you have a favorite lost-love-returned song? Start writing~~Fairweather

Painting by the English neo-Baroque artist John Godward.

4 comments:

maryt/theteach said...

Okay, Fairweather, I take the challenge... Lost love returned song...Hmmmmm.

Travis said...

I'm on it! I'll have a post on Monday.

maryt/theteach said...

Fairweather, will you please remove that first occurrance of my name on the Mr. Linky list. The second one is the correct one! I'm sorry to cause as problem :(

My post is up for your perusal! :)

Linda said...

Ok, I sort of kind of did this one this week!