> Cyril Tawney > Songs > The Tree in the Wood

The Tree in the Valley / The Tree in the Wood / The Everlasting Circle / The Green Grass Grew All Around

[ Roud 129 ; G/D 8:1668 ; Ballad Index ShH98 ; Bodleian Roud 129 ; Wiltshire 783 ; trad.]

John Casley of Morvah, Cornwall sang this song as The Green Grass Grew All Around in a recording made by Peter Kennedy on the anthology Songs of Animals and Other Marvels (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 10; Caedmon 1961, Topic 1970).

Bob Davenport sang The Bog Down in the Valley in 1962 on his Topic EP Wor Geordie.

Ronnie Browne and cast sang Bog Down in the Valley-O at a folk concert at Edinburgh Usher Hall promoted by the Corrie Folk Trio and Paddie Bell. The concert recording was published in 1964 on the Waverley album Folk Festival.

Cyril Tawney recorded The Tree in the Valley in July 1969 for his Argo album Cyril Tawney Sings Children’s Songs from Devon and Cornwall.

George ‘Tom’ Newman from Clanfield, Oxfordshire sang The Tree in the Wood at his home in Clanfield, Oxfordshire, in 1972. This recording by Mike Yates was published in 1976 on the Topic album Green Grow the Laurels: Country Singers from the South, and was included in 2001 on the Musical Tradition anthology of songs from the Mike Yates collection, Up in the North and Down in the South. Mike Yates commented in the original album's notes:

The Tree in the Wood has often been collected from folksingers, not only in Britain, but in France, Denmark and Switzerland as well. The song is also called The Everlasting Circle and, in this form, after Tom's verse 7 (“Now on that bird there was a feather”) the feather becomes a bed, a maiden lies on the bed, a youth sleeps with the maiden, a child is born who grows to plant an acorn which becomes a tree—thus completing the circle.

Cyril Poacher sang The Bog Down in the Valley at home on Grove Farm, Blaxhall, Suffolk on August 4, 1974. This recording by Tony Engle was published a year later on Poacher's Topic album The Broomfield Wager: Traditional Songs from Suffolk, and was included in 2004 on his Musical Traditions anthology Plenty of Thyme Rod Stradling commented in the booklet notes:

Cyril says he learnt The Bog Down in the Valley from his mother, Alice Ling, in Sing, Say or Pay!, but tells Ginette Dunn he learned it from his grandfather. It is, of course, a version of the well known Everlasting Circle, which is scattered throughout Europe and most English versions follow the pattern set by John Pitts who printed the song in the early 1800's. Cyril, however, seems to have the Irish set of words.

The Witches of Elswick sang The Tree in the Wood in 2003 on their first album, Out of Bed. They commented in their liner notes:

Otherwise known as The Everlasting Circle, this cumulative song usually includes copulation, but we thought that was too rude so our bird just flies away. Maybe we missed the point of the song but we liked it anyway.

Lyrics

Cyril Tawney sings The Tree in the Valley The Witches of Elswick sing The Tree in the Wood

There was a tree and a very fine tree,
As fine a tree as ever you did see.
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

All in a wood there stands a tree,
The finest tree you e'er did see.
The tree was in the wood
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

There was a branch and a very fine branch,
As fine a branch as ever you did see.
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

And on the tree there was a limb,
The finest limb you e'er did see.
The limb was on the tree,
The tree was in the wood.
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

There was a twig and a very fine twig,
As fine a twig as ever you did see.
And the twig was on the branch,
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

And on that limb there was a branch,
The finest branch you e'er did see.
The branch was on the limb,
The limb was on the tree,
The tree was in the wood.
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

There was a nest and a very fine nest,
As fine a nest as ever you did see.
And the nest was on the twig,
And the twig was on the branch,
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

And on that branch there was a nest,
The finest nest you e'er did see.
The nest was on the branch,
The branch was on the limb,
The limb was on the tree,
The tree was in the wood.
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

There was an egg and a very fine egg,
As fine an egg as ever you did see.
And the egg was in the nest,
And the nest was on the twig,
And the twig was on the branch,
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

And in that nest there was an egg,
The finest egg you e'er did see.
The egg was in the nest,
The nest was on the branch,
The branch was on the limb,
The limb was on the tree,
The tree was in the wood.
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

There was a chick and a very fine chick,
As fine a chick as ever you did see.
And the chick was in the egg,
And the egg was in the nest,
And the nest was on the twig,
And the twig was on the branch,
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

And in that egg there was a bird,
The finest bird you e'er did see.
The bird was in the egg,
The egg was in the nest,
The nest was on the branch,
The branch was on the limb,
The limb was on the tree,
The tree was in the wood.
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

There was a leg and a very fine leg,
As fine a leg as ever you did see.
And the leg was on the chick,
And the chick was in the egg,
And the egg was in the nest,
And the nest was on the twig,
And the twig was on the branch,
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

There was a claw and a very fine claw,
As fine a claw as ever you did see.
And the claw was on the leg,
And the leg was on the chick,
And the chick was in the egg,
And the egg was in the nest,
And the nest was on the twig,
And the twig was on the branch,
And the branch was on the tree
And the tree was away down in the valley-o.

And then that bird it flew away,
As far as any eye could see.
The bird was in the egg,
The egg was in the nest,
The nest was on the branch,
The branch was on the limb,
The limb was on the tree,
The tree was in the wood.
And the green leaves grew around, around, around,
And the green leaves grew around.

George ‘Tom’ Newman sings The Tree in the Wood  

Upon yon hill there is a wood,
And in that wood there is a tree,
The finest little tree that ever was seen.
For the tree was in the wood,
And the wood was on the hill,
And the green moss growed all round, all round,
And the green moss growed all round.

Now in that tree there was a hole,
The finest little hole that ever was seen.
For the hole was in the tree,
And the tree was in the wood, etc.

Now in that home there was a nest,
The finest little nest that ever was seen.
For the nest was in the hole,
And the hole was in the tree, etc.

Now in that nest there was an egg, etc.

Now in that egg there was a yolk, etc. *

Now in that yolk there was a bird, etc.

Now on that bird there was a feather, etc.

Now on that feather there was a flea, etc. *

Now on that flea there was a saddle, etc.

Now on that saddle there was a fly, etc.

Now on that fly there was a hat, etc.

* Tom initially omits these verses, but as the song progresses he implies their presence.

Cyril Poacher sings The Bog in the Valley

And a bog down in yon valley-o.

In yonder wood there stands a tree,
A fine tree, a rare tree,
Tree in a wood, and a wood down in yon valley-o,
Real bark, good old bark
And a bark down in yon valley-o.

Now on this tree there was an arm,
A fine arm, a rare arm.
Arm on the tree, and the tree in the bark,
And the bark in the bog
And the bog down in yon valley-o
Real bark, good old bark
And a bark down in yon valley-o.

Now on this arm there was a bough
A fine bough, a rare bough,
Bough on the arm, and the arm on the tree,
Tree in the bark, and the bark in the bog
And the bog down in yon valley-o
Real bark, good old bark
And a bark down in yon valley-o.

Now on this hill there was a branch,
A fine branch, a rare branch,
Branch on the bough, and
the bough on the arm,
Arm on the tree
And the tree in the bark
And the bark in the bog
And the bog down in yon valley-o
Real bark, good old bark
And a bark down in yon valley-o.

Now on this branch there was some twigs,
Fine twigs, rare twigs
Twigs on the branch
And the branch on the bough
And the bough on the arm
Arm on the tree,
And the tree in the bark
And the bark in the bog
And the bog down in yon valley-o
Real bark, good old bark
And a bark down in yon valley-o.

Now on these twigs there was some leaves,
Fine leaves, green leaves
Leaves on the twig
And the twig on the branch
And the branch on the bough
And the bough on the arm
Arm on the tree,
And the tree in the bark
And the bark in the bog
And the bog down in yon valley-o
Real bark, good old bark
And a bark down in yon valley-o.