> Folk Music > Songs > Hollin, Green Hollin

Hollin, Green Hollin

[ Roud 23029 ; Ballad Index MSNR116 ; trad., Emily Portman]

Emily Portman sang Hollin in 2012 on her CD Hatchling. She commented in her liner notes:

An ode to the joys of wild living. I found the first few verses in [Boulton-MacLeod’s] Songs of the North Vol. I. No melody was given, so here’s an offering of my own with some new verses [4-6] about a nightingale. This one’s for my parents and stepparents who fostered in me a love of nature and granted me the freedom to roam unseen with a penknife.


Emily Portman sings Hollin

Alone in greenwood must I roam,
    Hollin, green hollin;
A shade of green leaves is my home,
    Birk and green hollin.

Where none is seen but boundless green,
And spots of far blue sky between.

A weary head a pillow finds,
Where leaves fall green in summer winds.

Beyond there sits a nightingale,
She loves me with her merry tale.

She sings, once I had no tongue to tell
But now I echo through the dale.

And when the green leaves fade and fall
Into a mossy bed I’ll crawl.

It’s enough for me, enough for me,
To live at large with liberty.