> Cyril Tawney > Songs > Don't You Go A-Rushing

Don't You Go A-Rushing

[ Roud 330 ; Ballad Index R123 ; VWML CJS2/9/1197 ; trad.]

Jim Wilson sang Never Go A-Rushing at The Cherry Tree on May 18, 1960, recorded by Brian Matthews. This song was printed in 1970 in Ken Stubbs' book The Life of a Man, and was included in 2001 on the Musical Tradition anthology of songs from country pubs, Just Another Saturday Night. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

In The Life of a Man, Ken Stubbs says, “The stanzas are of a riddle song, to which the chorus from another song has been added. The warning is for maids desirous of preserving their maidenhood to keep away from the annual rush-cutting and bearing ceremony.” I'm in no position to confirm or deny these assertions, but there are nine other versions of this song which make mention of rushing in Roud's total of 61 entries. These include collections by Baring-Gould, Barrett and Sharp, going back to 1890, as well as Bronson and several broadside catalogues. If it is indeed a mixing of two different songs it would seem to be a widespread and long-lived one.

Kiti Theobald sang Go No More A-Rushing on the Leigh Folk Festival 2009 anthology Shivering Sands & Scavenging Birds.

Lisa Knapp sang Don't You Go A-Rushing Maids in May on her 2017 CD Till April Is Dead. She commented in her liner notes:

Searching the boundless online archive on the EFDSS website I discovered this song collected by Cecil Sharp from Mrs Eliza Ware at Over Stowey, Somerset, on January 23, 1907.

Variants of this song have long been twinned with parts of a ballad known as Riddle Song. However, only in this version have I found the magnificent line “where the babe's in the making there's no squalling”. People who sing traditional songs are at time more than familiar with processes of research, digging around archives and books, changing tunes and taking of verses here and there to make a song fee right. This was one of those times when on finding a new song everything about it was right and perfect to sing as it is. I love it when that happens.

Lyrics

Eliza Ware sings Don't You Go A-Rushing Lisa Knapp sings Don't You Go A-Rushing

Don't you go rushing, maids, I say
Don't you go rushing maids in May.
For if you go a-rushing,
They're sure to get you blushing
They'll steal all your rushes away.

Don’t you go a-rushing, maids in May
Don’t you go a-rushing, maids I say
For if you go a-rushing
They’re sure to get you blushing
They’ll steal your rushes away

I went a-rushing, 'twas in May,
I went a-rushing, maids, you say.
I went a-rushing,
They caught me a-blushing,
And stole my rushes away.

I went a-rushing it was in May
I went a-rushing maids I say
I went a-rushing
They caught me a-blushing
They stole my rushes away

When the chicken's in its yolk there is no bone;
The cherry's in its blossom there is no stone;
And when the baby's a-making there's no squalling

He promised me a chicken without any bone
Promised me a cherry without any stone
He promised me a ring without any rim
He promised me a babe with no squalling

Don’t you go a-rushing, maids in May
Don’t you go a-rushing, maids I say
For if you go a-rushing
They’re sure to get you blushing
They’ll steal your rushes away

How can there be a chicken without any bone?
How can there be a cherry without any stone?
How can there be a ring without any rim?
How can there be a babe with no squalling?

Don’t you go a-rushing, maids in May
Don’t you go a-rushing, maids I say
For if you go a-rushing
They’re sure to get you blushing
They’ll steal your rushes away

When the chicken’s in the egg it has no bone
When the cherry’s blooming it has no stone
When the ring is melting
It has no rim
When the babe is in the making
There’s no squalling

Jim Wilson sings Never Go A-Rushing

Never go a-rushing, maids, I say
Never go a-rushing in the month of May
For if you go a-rushing, you're sure to come a-brushing
So gather up your rushes and haste away.

She promised me a cherry without no stone
She promised me a chick without no bone
She promised me a ring without any rim
She promised me a kid without crying

Chorus:
So never go a-rushing, maids, I say
Never go a-rushing in the month of May
For if you go a-rushing, you're sure to come a-brushing
So gather up your rushes and haste away.

How can there be a cherry without any stone?
How can there be a chick without any bone?
How can there be a ring without any rim?
How can there be a kid without crying?

When the cherry tree's a-blooming there is no stone
An' when the chick's in the shell there is no bone
When the ring's a-melting there is no rim
When the kid's a-making there's no squalling.

Acknowledgements

Thank you very much for Lisa Knapp for supplying her lyrics.