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Cupid's Garden / The Lover's Meeting

[ Roud 297 ; G/D 5:970 ; Ballad Index SWMS090 ; VWML FK/15/21/1 ; Bodleian Roud 297 ; Wiltshire 765 ; trad.]

Cuper's Gardens were an 18th century tea garden (a smaller version of pleasure gardens) on the south side of the River Thames in Lambeth, London, looking over to Somerset House near where Waterloo Bridge is located (centred around what is now the north end of Waterloo Road).

“The gardens opened in the 1680s and were named after the original proprietor, Abraham Boydell Cuper, the gardener of the Earl of Arundel. They were also known as Cupid's Gardens. A long landing stage in the river known as Cuper's Bridge acted as a popular entrance for the gardens.

“In 1736, an orchestra was included among the attractions. It also became known for its firework displays. However, it lost its license in 1753 due to the loose morals of its visitors.” [Wikipedia]

This song from the repertoire of the Copper Family is printed in The Copper Family Song Book. Bob and Ron Copper sang Cupid's Garden in 1963 on their EFDSS LP Traditional Songs from Rottingdean; which was reissued in 2001 on the Topic CD Come Write Me Down: Early Recordings of the Copper Family of Rottingdean. Another generation, John and Lynne Copper, sang in in 1987 on the EFDSS LP Coppersongs: A Living Tradition. And Mark Barratt and Tom Copper from the most recent Copper Family generation sang it in 2008 on the Young Coppers's CD Passing Out.

Tony Engle and Peta Webb sang Cupid's Garden in 1971 on Oak's Topic album Welcome to Our Fair, Derek, Dorothy and Nadine Elliott sang it in 1976 on their LP Yorkshire Relish, and Mick Ryan & Pete Harris sang it in 2006 on their WildGoose CD The Island of Apples. All three groups credit the Copper Family as their source.

Jon Boden sang Cupid's Garden as the February 14, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Andy Turner sang Cupid's Garden as the January 17, 2015 entry of his project A Folk Song a Week.


The Copper Family sings Cupid's Garden

'Twas down in Cupid's Garden I wandered for to view
The sweet and lovely flowers that in the garden grew,
And one it was sweet jasmin, the lily, pink and rose;
They are the finest flowers that in the garden grow.

I had not been in the garden but scarcely half an hour,
When I beheld two maidens, sat under a shady bower,
And one it was sweet Nancy, so beautiful and fair,
The other was a virgin and did the laurels wear.

I boldly stepped up to them and unto them did say,
“Are you engaged to any young man, come tell to me, I pray?”
“No, I'm not engaged to any young man, I solemnly declare;
I mean to stay a virgin and still the laurels wear.”

So, hand in hand together, this loving couple went;
To view the secrets of her heart was the sailor's full intent,
Or whether she would slight him while he to the wars did go.
Her answer was, “Not I, my love, for I love a sailor bold.”

It's down in Portsmouth Harbour, there's a ship lies waiting there;
Tomorrow to the seas I'll go, let the wind blow high or fair.
And, if I should live to return again, how happy I should be
With you, my love, my own true love, sitting smiling on my knee.