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By Chance It Was

[ Roud 6901 ; VWML RoudFS/S200746 ; trad.]

By Chance It Was is the first song in Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould's book Songs of the West, and the first and title track of Mike Bosworth's 1994 CD of songs from the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould Collection, By Chance It Was. Bosworth commented in his liner notes:

From the singing of James Parsons of Lew Down. Accompanied by John Kirkpatrick on the concertina. James Parsons learned this song from his father who was known as ‘The Singing Machine’. Sabine [Baring-Gould] dates this song from the time of James I or Charles I.

Lyrics

By Chance It Was in Songs of the West Mike Bosworth sings By Chance It Was

By chance it was I met my love,
It did me much surprise,
Down by a shady myrtle grove,
Just as the sun did rise.
The birds they sang right gloriously,
And pleasant was the air;
And there was none, save she and I,
Among the flowers fair.

By chance it was I met my love,
It did me much surprise,
Down by a shady myrtle grove,
Just as the sun did rise.
The birds they sang right gloriously,
And pleasant was the air;
And there was none but she and I
Among the flowers fair.

In dewy grass and green we walk'd,
She timid was and was coy;
“How can'st thou choose but pity me,
My pretty pearl, my joy?
How comes it that thou stroll'st this way?
Sweet Maiden, tell me true,
Before bright Phoebus' glittering ray
Has supped the morning dew?”

In dewy grass and green we walk'd,
She was timid and was coy;
“How can'st thou choose but pity me,
My pretty pearl, my joy?
How comes it that thou stroll'st this way?
Sweet Maiden, tell me true,
Before bright Phoebus' glittering ray
Has supped the morning dew?”

“I go to tend the flocks I love
The ewes and tender lambs,
That pasture by the myrtle grove,
That gambol by their dams;
There I enjoy a pure content
At dawning of the day,”
Then, hand in hand, we lovers went
To see the flock at play.

“I go to tend the flock I love
of ewes and tender lambs,
That pasture by the myrtle grove,
That gambol by their dams;
There I enjoy a pure content
At dawning of the day,”
And hand in hand we lovers went
To see the flock at play.

And as we wended down the road.
I said to her, “Sweet maid,
Three years I in my place abode
And three more must be stayed.
Three times that I am bound so fast,
O fairest wait for me.
And when these weary years are passed
Then married we will be”

And as we walked along the road.
I said to her, “Sweet maid,
Three years I in my place abode
And three more must be stayed.
The three that I am bound so fast,
O fairest wait for me.
And when the weary years are passed
Then married we shall be”

“Three years are long, three times to long,
Too lengthy the delay”.
O then I answered in my song,
“Hope wastes them quick away.
Where love is fervent, fain and fast,
And knoweth not decay.
There nimbly fleet the seasons past,
Accounted as one day.”

“Three years are long, three times to long,
Too lengthy the delay”.
O then I answered in my song,
“Hope fades it quick away.
Where love is fervent, fain and fast,
And knoweth not decay.
There quickly fleets the seasons past,
Accounted as one day.”

Acknowledgements

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Add: By Chance It Was.